Commentary

Michael Mizrachi wins first bracelet

Updated: June 2, 2010, 5:36 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

Editor's note: The $50,000 buy-in Players' Championship will be broadcast on ESPN July 27 from 8-10 p.m. ET.

The first five-day event of the World Series of Poker created one of the toughest fields in WSOP history as 116 players paid $50,000 to compete in the eight-game mix appropriately dubbed the "Players' Championship." Before play began on Friday, May 28, a three-minute tribute was shown to honor the late Chip Reese and the trophy named after him was presented to 2009 champion David Bach, who won this event in the HORSE format. It's this bracelet, this trophy and this event that players want to win, and as the field dwindled to a final table, two brothers were ready to go to battle.

[+] EnlargeMichael Mizrachi
2010 WSOPMichael Mizrachi holds his first WSOP bracelet after defeating the final table in Event 2.

It was a family affair at the final table of the biggest buy-in event of the 2010 World Series of Poker. Brothers Michael and Robert Mizrachi, who both have had tremendous success in their poker careers, found themselves sitting across from each other at the final table with $1.5 million on the line for first place. In their way was a final table full of talent, experience and determination. (A further look at the players at the final table can be found here.)

Michael Mizrachi was the chip leader after Day 3, entered the final table fifth, then had one roller-coaster of a ride through the 12-hour final table. In the end, the 29-year-old pro claimed the title of "Poker Players' Champion," the Chip Reese Memorial trophy and the $1.559,046 that goes with it. This was Mizrachi's 20th WSOP cash.

"To win Chip Reese's trophy is really special to me," said Mizrachi after his first bracelet win. "I hope to be able to honor him in the way he deserves."

Mizrachi witnessed the eliminations of Mikael Thuritz and Daniel Alaei before personally eliminating 23-year-old phenom David Baker and his brother Robert. At the time of his brother's elimination, Michael was still a shorter stack, trailing David Oppenheim, who began the final table as the short stack. Oppenheim had more than 50 percent of the chips in play at one point, but was eventually eliminated in third when he lost a race holding 8-8 to Michael's K-Q. Before Oppenheim's departure, amateur Vladimir Schmelev eliminated the oldest player at the final table, 38-year-old John Juanda, in fourth place.

"The Grinder" and Schmelev went heads up for 82 hands. During that time, Mizrachi ran incredibly well, hitting the cards he needed when he was dominated in multiple situations. Throughout the battle, his friends and family were by his side, cheering him on and perhaps tilting Schmelev.

"It really helps when you have friends and family that supported me like they did today," said Mizrachi to ESPN.com. "They helped me strategically too, chanting for me. I'm sure the other players got tired of it. It was my home-field advantage."

The victory removes Mizrachi from the "Best Without A Bracelet" list and makes poker history, as the Mizrachi brothers are now the second pair of brothers to own WSOP bracelets (Blair and Grant Hinkle are the others). The field he defeated included 54 former WSOP bracelet winners who hold a total of 15 percent of all bracelets in existence.

Notable finishers from Event 2 include: Nick Shulman (ninth), Alexander Kostritsyn (10th) and Andy Bloch (16th).

Below are the complete results of Event 2 at the 2010 World Series of Poker:

Event 2: Poker Players' Championship, eight-game mix
Buy-in: $50,000
Entries: 116
Prize pool: $5,568,000
Players in the money: 16

1. Michael Mizrachi ($1,559,046)
2. Vladimir Schmelev ($963,375)
3. David Oppenheim ($603,348)
4. John Juanda ($436,865)
5. Robert Mizrachi ($341,429)
6. David Baker ($272,275)
7. Daniel Alaei ($221,105)
8. Mikael Thuritz ($182,463)
9. Nick Schulman ($152,739)
10. Alexander Kostritsyn ($152,739)
11. Abe Mosseri ($129,957)
12. Lyle Berman ($129,957)
13. Brett Richey ($113,030)
14. Allen Bari ($113,030)
15. Ilya Bulychev ($98,330)
16. Andy Bloch ($($98,330)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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