Featured Authors Articles Sorel Mizzi

Sorel Mizzi - aka Imper1um - is a 21-year-old from Toronto, Canada who is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with in the poker world.

Sorel started playing Texas Hold’em while he was still at school, and his rise in the online poker ranks since 2004 has been, to say the least, meteoric. Already he’s cashed for over $500k on PokerStars alone and has secured outright victories in the Sunday Warm-Up (for $80k) and in many of the toughest MTTs available online. In late 2007, he utterly dominated the High-Stakes Showdown on PokerStars, winning it four times in its first six outings.

Turning 21 meant Sorel had the opportunity to create the same impact in the live poker scene, and his early results indicate we can only expect more of the same. Already in the bank: a third-place finish in the Irish Open for over $250k, a deep run in the $25k World Championship at the Bellagio, and another deep run in his first Main Event at the 2007 WSOP. Growing up with his mom, dad and two older brothers in Toronto, the environment was always a competitive one, whether it was playing games of Scrabble for $5 (a lot to him at the time), playing video poker, or getting $10 from everyone for being the first to solve the puzzle on Wheel of Fortune.

Regardless of the game, it was always a healthy mixture of gambling and competitiveness, he says, which has stood him in very good stead in the poker business. Case in point: one of the most memorable hands in his life - against the infamous Phil Hellmuth at the WPT Championship.

Mizzi recalls the dynamics of this momentous hand. “Hellmuth had been constantly mocking me about being just another overaggressive Internet player, and he seemed to be getting irritated [by] my raise and re-raise frequency.

“Blinds were $6k/$12k, and Hellmuth raised from early position to $32k. I just called from the SB with my 9-9, not wanting to play a big pot with a great player out of position. Flop came down #As-#9c-#4d.

“I did something really tricky that I don't normally do - I led out for $60k after flopping a set. He called my bet fairly quickly and when the ace fell on the turn I was quite confident that I would be doubling up completely.

“I fired out another bet of $180k to which he said ‘Why so much? I think I need a jack to beat you’ and made the call. The river was a jack, which I was quite scared of, having seen Phil Hellmuth on TV and noting that he's usually weirdly honest about the strength of his hand.

“I thought about it for some time and figured OK, if he does have A-J then he's going to put me all-in for $300k more anyway and I'm going to have to call, so I might as well shove all-in myself and get full value for my hand.

“I did and he showed an ace and mucked, later admitting in his blog that he had A-6.”

Now joining fellow online poker superstar Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad on the Betfair Poker pro team, Mizzi has high expectations for his short-term – and long-term – poker future:

"Overall, 2007 was a great year for me and by joining Betfair Poker in 2008 I'm getting in with a team which not only has a great reputation but, more importantly, is going places.

"With Betfair backing us, I reckon Annette_15 and I will have more than enough firepower to take down a few of the big names in tournament poker."

If all goes according plan, Mizzi will also ensure his name is placed in the same company as one of his original poker heroes – fellow Torontonian Daniel Negreanu – when his career is over.