Two World Poker Tour titles, more than $7 million in career tournament earnings, and Michael Mizrachi finally has the one thing he has craved since he picked up two cards-- a World Series of Poker bracelet. Get out a Sharpie and cross the Grinder's name off the list of "greatest players never to win a bracelet," as he'll not only take home that beautiful piece of gold, but will have his name engraved on the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy alongside Freddy Deeb, Scotty Nguyen, David Bach, and the late, great Reese himself.
"The Grinder" truly lived up to his name, making a triumphant comeback from a more than 3-1 chip defect during heads-up play. He remained focused, aggressive and relentless as he chipped away at Vladimir Schmelev, who during the latter stages of heads-up play finally betrayed his cool exterior as his frustration mounted.
"I knew if I played slow it would frustrate him," Mizrachi said of his heads-up strategy during his post-game interview with ESPN's Norman Chad.
On his way to the title, Mizrachi had to overcome a final table of legendary pros and dangerous wild cards, including his older brother Robert, who won his first bracelet three years ago.
"This was definitely worth the wait. It's one of the most prestigious events you can possibly win…especially with my brother in there. I put his chips to good use," Mizrachi said with a smile.
Beginning a new tradition at the $50,000 Players' Championship, last year's winner David Bach passed the torch to Mizrachi. As he offered his congratulations, Bach pointed out that after being toted around the country for several years, the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy had acquired a small chip on the side "which I think is a perfect tribute to Chip Reese."
Congratulations to Michael Mizrachi on an extraordinary tournament and his first WSOP bracelet win. The $1,559,046 is nothing to sneeze at either. Well done, sir.
For all of us at PokerNews, thanks for tuning in. From the Rio in Las Vegas, good night and good luck.
Michael Mizrachi moves all in from the button and this time Vladimir Schmelev makes the call.
The crowd is chanting for a five, but there is nothing on the flop.
However their faith is rewarded on the turn and a huge roar erupts as the falls! Schmelev is left needing a seven or eight to survive but it isn't to be as the hits the river and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi is our champion!
Congratulations to Vladimir Schmelev who put in a tremendous tournament and solid final table to just fall short at the final hurdle. He'll take home $963,375 for an amazing tournament.
Schmelev gives Mizrachi a walk in the big blind.
Michael Mizrachi - 16.825 million
Vladimir Schmelev - 575,000
Michael Mizrachi moves all in from the button and Vladimir Schmelev steps out of the way. Mizrachi shows pocket kings!
Schmelev and Mizrachi limp in and see an flop. Mizrachi moves all-in and Schmelev snap-folds.
This time Michael Mizrachi raises it up to 225,000 from the button and Vladimir Schmelev makes the call.
The flop lands and both players check. The turn is the . Again, it's checked through. The river is the and Schmelev bets out 250,000. Mizrachi takes his time before raising it up big...to two million.
Schmelev took a moment and declared "call". Mizrachi opens for running trips! The TD counts down Schmelev's stack and he's left with just small change - it looks like 600,000.
This one is very close to done and done!
Schmelev raises to 350,000 and wins the blinds and antes.