Last year, there was Phil Ivey . This year, there is Michael Mizrachi .For the second straight year, there is a big-name pro at the final table of the main event. Mizrachi, or as he is better known in poker circles, ‘The Grinder,’ enters November play with a chance to make history.If you ask a poker fan who he or she thinks the greatest tournament player of all time is, you might get a few different answers. Phil Hellmuth , by virtue of his 11 WSOP bracelets, would likely come up in the conversation. Ivey and Daniel Negreanu , the top two on the all-time money list, would also have to be favorites. Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson might also get some love for their historical success.But Mizrachi has a chance to cement his place in that conversation with a win in November.With already $8.9 million in tournament winnings coming into the main event, he has a chance to get to just shy of $18 million for his career when this tournament concludes. That would propel him way past Ivey ($13.4 million) and Negreanu ($12.6 million) on the all-time list.“It’s just been a great World Series and I can’t believe I’m in the November Nine,” Mizrachi told Card Player . “This is my fourth final table [of the summer], I have a shot for Player of the Year, I have a shot to have the most career tournament earnings, which I’m already close to, but this would put me way on top if I win. No one’s going to even be close to me anymore.”If Mizrachi wins in November, he will tie Frank Kassela in the WSOP’s Player of the Year race, meaning both players would earn co- POY honors. Still, Mizrachi may be putting the finishing touches on one of the greatest individual performances in WSOP history.Mizrachi opened the summer with a win in arguably the second most prestigious poker event of the year, the $50k Players Championship. He reached two more final tables during the WSOP — at the $10k seven card stud world championship and the $10k limit hold’em world championship — before finishing off with his astonishing run to become a member of this year’s November Nine.“It’s an amazing feeling,” said Mizrachi. “Hopefully, I get the job done. If not, whatever I finish, I’ll be happy. Just to make it this far is unbelievable.”The Grinder’s attitude is a notable difference than that of Ivey’s last year, when the heralded pro took a ton of action on himself in side bets and made it clear that anything less than first place would be a disappointment. Ivey was eliminated in seventh place, when his A-K couldn’t hold against Darvin Moon’s A-Q.Coincidentally, Mizrachi enters November’s final table in seventh chip position. Since it took so long to eliminate Brandon Steven in 10th place, the bottom stacks don’t have all that much room to work with in comparison to the blinds. Still, the Grinder is confident he can make the most of this opportunity.“I like my chances a lot,” said Mizrachi. “I’ve been in every situation possible [in tournaments, and I think] I’m more dangerous with a short stack than a big stack.”Even though he is one of the short stacks, Mizrachi’s very presence at the table is affecting the mindsets of the other players. When asked individually how each player liked his position at the final table, almost everyone answered in regards to where he was positioned in comparison to the Grinder. It’s obvious they respect his game, and are going to be cautious around him.Mizrachi hopes his experience will prove to be the difference, but no matter what, he is going to try to leave that final table with a smile on his face.“I do this for a living, and I expect myself to do well,” said Mizrachi. “Whatever I finish, I’m happy. If I finish ninth, I’ll be happy. If I finish first, that’ll be awesome.”Check out the Card Player’s Q and A with The Grinder right after he made the November Nine.
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