Michael Mizrachi, Poker Player Biography
by Jennifer Newell
Michael Mizrachi was born on January 5, 1981, in North Miami Beach, Florida. He was raised with fraternal twin brother Eric, younger brother Daniel, and older brother Robert, and all four boys were taught to play poker at a young age in a family setting. Michael focused on his education in his youth with aspirations of becoming a doctor, but it was during college that poker began to play an important role in his life, enough so to dictate a withdrawal from school.
It was his brother Robert who introduced Michael to internet poker, and beginning with a small deposit on an online poker website, he worked his way through the $5/$10 limit hold'em games and on up to $30/$60 and $100/$200 on PokerStars. Becoming well-known in online poker circles and having developed an eye for strategies and players, he quit school and lived off of a nice income derived from the games he played.
When he became of age, he took a job dealing poker at the Seminole Casino in Hollywood, Florida, as he felt the need to hold a legitimate job but still hone his poker skills. Soon after, he met fellow dealer Aidilay (Lily) Elviro, challenged her to a heads-up poker match, and the two were nearly inseparable. Meanwhile, Mizrachi was becoming restless and wanted to put his poker skills to work in the live tournament scene. He traveled to Foxwoods, where he final tabled a $500 limit hold'em tournament as part of the New England Poker Classic in 2004. The following month, he traveled to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and finished in 11th place in a $1,500 no-limit hold'em event, then took his winnings over to the Bellagio casino for one of their weekly tournaments, which he won for $21,729.
From that point on, Mizrachi was in search of poker winnings, though Lily was home in Florida and pregnant with their first child. He made numerous final tables in 2004 but didn't grab another victory until December of 2004, when he won a preliminary NLHE event at the Five Diamond World Poker Classic for his biggest win by far of $273,040. By early 2005, he was ready for the World Poker Tour circuit, and he started the year with a final table fifth place finish at the WPT World Poker Open for more than $288K. The L.A. Poker Classic was next, and he went on to win that for a prestigious title and $1,858,909. It was then that he purchased a luxurious motor home in order to bring his family with him to the tournaments around the country, though some time was taken off first to celebrate the birth of Paul William. It wouldn't be for a few more years that they got married and had a baby girl named Julie Malka.
In 2005, Mizrachi cashed an impressive seven times at the WSOP, but it was in 2006 that he made more history. He finished in second place at the WPT World Poker Open, and ten days later, he won the WPT Borgata Winter Open. His wins and final tables were significant enough that year to be awarded the CardPlayer Magazine Player of the Year honor.
For the next few years, he continued to show a presence at major tournaments but his wins came fewer and further between, mostly in preliminary series events, though he did have some significant cashes at the WSOP and WPT events. His latest win before 2010 was a Festa al Lago tournament at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, a $5K NLHE event that paid $120K. But when news surfaced in early 2010 that Mizrachi was being pursued by the Internal Revenue Service for unpaid taxes from the years 2005 to 2007, speculation throughout the poker industry alleged he was not financially set. The foreclosure of his rental property in Florida was also key in those rumors, but Mizrachi did make known that it was a misunderstanding due to mistakes by an accountant.
Nevertheless, when Mizrachi arrived at the 2010 World Series of Poker, he had something to prove. The first event he played at the Series was the $50,000 buy-in 8-game mixed Poker Players' Championship, and he won it along with the $1,559,046 first place prize. But he wasn't done. He finished in sixth place in the $10K seven-card stud championship event, eighth place in the $10K limit hold'em championship, and 26th place in a $2,500 mixed event.
And then came the $10K Main Event. Not only did all four Mizrachi brothers cash in the marathon tournament, but Michael went on to work a stack of chips that was sometimes short and not conducive to such an aggressive nature as his, but he played tight and sensibly until he made it to the coveted November Nine, the final table of the WSOP $10K NLHE World Championship that will be played out semi-live on ESPN. With a guarantee of $811,823 for ninth place, there is nearly $9 million waiting to be paid to the eventual winner.
Despite being the third shortest stack going to the final table with 14.4 million chips, he has confidence that he has the experience to win the tournament but he's realistic as well. He told one media outlet, "It's an unbelievable achievement. It will probably never happen again in poker history. It's just an amazing feeling and I'm very excited… Wherever I go from here on is a bonus. If I win it great, if I don't I'll be just as happy."
Read Michael Mizrachi's Profile for more information including his tournament results and total winnings.
Jennifer Newell is a freelance writer, originally from St. Louis but now living in Los Angeles. She fell in love with poker while working at WPT and began writing about it in 2005.