BLOG – The Dane, the Grinder and the Suicide King

BLOG – The Dane, the Grinder and the Suicide King

Friday, 16 July 2010

It says a lot about Michael Mizrachi that, before this World Series of Poker, the word ‘Mizrachi’ – unlike the words Hellmuth, Brunson or Negreanu – produced a red squiggly line beneath it. Sure, ‘The Grinder’ was a known force on the professional poker circuit before the 41st WSOP: he was a known cash game grinder, obviously; he had a couple of WSOP final tables, a World Poker Tour win (2005 LA Poker Classic, $1.86m) and total tournament earnings of over $6m.

He just wasn’t one of the greats – I wouldn’t be writing about his momentous poker achievements as I would Phil Ivey or Doyle Brunson, not then. Of course that’s all gone and changed now, hasn’t it? The last time I wrote about The Grinder prior to this WSOP he was reportedly in the red, owing the taxman a six-figure sum over half a million.

He’s now in the process of doing something I can only describe as Ivey-esque. He opened his WSOP by winning outright the revamped $50,000 Players’ Championship, taking down a $1.6m prize that was the lion’s share of the WSOP 2010’s second-largest prize pool. He went on to reach two more final tables – both in $10,000 Championship events – and finish up on the podium in the WSOP Player of the Year Race.

Now, he is second place deep into the largest poker event of the calendar, the $10,000 World Series of Poker Main Event. ‘The Grinder’ has ground his way through a 7,000 plus field over six days of poker to wind up behind only WSOPE bracelet-winner Theo Jorgenseon; the Dane is currently within just a few dozen chips of the eight-figure chip counts. This is where it gets interesting...

Even with only 78 players left, Mizrachi is still emerging as a tournament favourite. A fantastic series of preliminary events in the toughest fields this year is proceeding an incredible run in the largest and most luck-based tournament of the series. If he were to do the impossible and win the tournament it would be incredible for a number of reasons:
He would take the POTY award from Frank Kassela by the slimmest of margins. Only a victory in the Main Event will do this.
He will become the first player to win the $50,000 event and the Main Event. He will have won the two tournaments with the largest prize pools of the 2010 WSOP at $5.6m and $68m respectively and approximately.

And you can’t argue that this would be good for poker – not only does it go to show that it is a game of skill (because how lucky is Mizrachi otherwise?) but someone nicknamed ‘The Grinder’ would be an excellent ambassador. Ivey, legend though he is, is certainly the biggest argument for poker being a skill game. However, someone who wins and loses millions of dollars playing craps at a time when the US – and indeed the world – is in deep financial recession doesn’t really give the right image.

The Grinder speaks for himself. He has established a name for himself as a hard worker and now his hard work has been massively rewarded over a long and fulfilling career. He and Doyle Brunson should go down to Congress as pieces of evidence that poker players can be established and hard-working members of society. Or something.

In other news, I’ve finally got myself a copy of The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King; the tale of a group of high stakes legends (Brunson, Ivey, Forrest, Harman) pooling their bankrolls to take on Texan billionaire Andy Beal at $10,000/$20,000 Limit Hold ‘em. So far it’s great, Michael Craig is a really engaging writer and I’d recommend any poker fan to pick it up. Even if you don’t follow poker (in which case I assume you’re only reading this because you’re friend or family so HI!!!!!!) then Craig explains the game pretty well so you shouldn’t be lost.

OK, Jorgenson and Mizrachi done, now for my Suicide King reference. If it’s not too close to plagiarism, I’d like to keep the same poker player that Craig picked. Ted Forrest, what a nutter. I’ve just read about him winning $2m from Beal and yesterday I wrote about him losing fifty-freaking-pounds in two months to win $2m from Mike Matusow and Justin “BoostedJ” Smith.

Apparently he hadn’t eaten a full meal for two weeks before the weigh-in. Suicide king indeed...

Tags: Poker News, BLOG, , The, Dane, , the, Grinder, and, the, Suicide, King