WSOP $50k Player's Championship: Mizrachi Strikes Gold

Michael Mizrachi
"I never give up...that's Rocky style," - Michael Mizrachi, following victory in the $50k.

Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi sliced through a strong field to claim the illustrious $50k Player's Championship and his first WSOP bracelet at the Rio Casino, Wednesday.

A toughly contested final saw Mizrachi come out on top in the early hours of the morning and both he and his many fans were elated at his victory.

"It's definitely worth the wait," he said. "This is one of the most prestigious tournaments in poker."

The backdrop to the final had all the ingredients for a dramatic finish.

The $1.5 million dollar first prize, the Chip Reese Memorial trophy, the WSOP bracelet and a star-studded field ensured it would be a special event.

However there was another plot twist - both the Mizrachi brothers, Michael and Robert, making the final. Fate saw to it that Michael eliminated Robert in 5th place on his way to victory and he explained he had mixed emotions about that bittersweet moment.

"My mom was crying. I don't know who she wanted to win. I don't know if I wanted to win!" said Michael.

"It was heartbreaking but at least it turned out well...I put his chips to good use."

He did just that, using the elimination of his brother as the springboard to success, fighting off the combined talents of John Juanda and David Oppenheim to face off against the largely unknown Russian Vladimir Schmelev, heads-up.

In the early stages, Schmelev was in the ascendant and a key hand saw Mizrachi's tournament life hanging in the balance. Needing a club on the river to keep his hopes alive, the right card fell and Mizrachi's boisterous rail brought the house down as their hero's fortunes turned round.

"I never give up...that's Rocky style," said Mizrachi.

"Usually when I get to a final table, I have this great support behind me. It really helps."

From there on in, it was all about Mizrachi as he dominated his way to the title and the $1,559,046 first prize. When questioned about his plans for the rest of the series, Mizrachi was confident about his chances.

"I can play any sort of game. I can play any sort of tournament," he said.

"Maybe I can win Player Of The Year. I'll just do my best."

To read the latest news from the Rio, click through to the PokerListings Live Updates.

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