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October 1, 2014

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WORLD SERIES OF POKER:

Poker world will revolve around Michael Mizrachi as he makes Main Event final table

Mizrachi is the only established professional, bracelet winner in 2010 November Nine

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Justin M. Bowen

Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi contemplates his next move during the World Series of Poker Main Event Saturday night at the Rio. Mizrachi is the last well-known pro standing in the $10,000 buy-in event.

WSOP Final Table

The final table of the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event plays down from 10 to nine players on the last day of competition in July. The Launch slideshow »

Chip Counts

Main Event Payouts

  • 1st — $8,944,138
  • 2nd — $5,545,855
  • 3rd — $4,129,979
  • 4th — $3,092,497
  • 5th — $2,332,960
  • 6th — $1,772,939
  • 7th — $1,356,708
  • 8th — $1,045,738
  • 9th — $811,823

Let the Phil Ivey comparisons begin.

Last year's World Series of Poker Main Event final table featured Ivey, one of the most respected and well-known poker professionals in the world, and all eyes in poker were on him for the four months leading up to the final table.

This year, it's Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi's turn. Mizrachi was one of nine players who survived an 18-hour session at the Rio that started Saturday at noon and ended at 6 a.m. morning to form the "November Nine," the name for the Main Event's final table.

Mizrachi is the only big name player left in the $10,000 buy-in Main Event, which is considered poker's world championship.

"I just wanted to get to the final nine to take the pressure off of me," Mizrachi said. "Now we can play some poker when I get back."

Mizrachi, a Miami professional, will return to Las Vegas to play the final table Nov. 7 in seventh place with 14 million chips for a shot at the $8.9 first-place prize. Coincidentally, Ivey also entered his final table in seventh and ultimately finished in seventh.

Mizrachi is confident his result can be different.

"I like my chances," Mizrachi said. "I'm happy to survive."

Plenty of obstacles stand in Mizrachi's path to win the Main Event bracelet. Although their names aren't recognizable, each of the top four players in chips are poker professionals.

Jonathan Duhamel, a 23-year old from Montreal, Quebec, has the chip lead with 68 million. John Dolan from Bonita Springs, Fla., sits in second with 46 million chips.

Third and fourth belong to Joseph Cheong from Los Angeles and John Racener from Port Richey, Fla., respectively.

"I think everyone at this table is solid," Mizrachi said. "But you can tell some are new to the game."

Experience will be on Mizrachi's side. The Grinder has played on the major tournament circuit for years.

He set a then-World Series of Poker record in 2005 for cashing in seven tournaments in one summer. In 2006, he followed it by winning CardPlayer Magazine's Player of the Year award.

Mizrachi's biggest accomplishment came earlier this summer. He won the second most prestigious event of the year, the World Series of Poker's $50,000 Poker Player's Championship mixed-games tournament, for $1.5 million.

No one has ever made the final table in both the Main Event and the Player's Championship in the same year. Mizrachi has a shot to win them both.

The only downside to Mizrachi's notoriety is that his opponents will have plenty of information on him at their disposal in the four months leading up to the final table. Canadian student Matthew Jarvis, who will enter the final table in fifth, wants to take advantage of this.

"I didn't play very well against him (Saturday)," Jarvis said. "I'm going to watch as much video on The Grinder as I can."

Another factor that could potentially play against The Grinder is the speed of the final table. Because Saturday's play took so long, the blinds will be much higher than anticipated when the players reconvene in November.

Mizrachi has plenty of chips to play with, but won't be able to afford losing a big pot early. Players like Duhamel have much more wiggle room to work with.

"I'm probably not going to go in with any specific strategy," Duhamel said. "I'm just going to play my game, play my cards and see what happens."

As the chip leader, Duhamel will also hog some of the spotlight. But any mention of his name will be accompanied with Mizrachi's.

It's The Grinder's time.

"I'm like Phil Ivey last year," Mizrachi said.

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