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Grindin' It Out in the Bahamas - Michael Mizrachi Speaks
The Grinder, after taking down Player of the Year honors last year, is looking to start the new year with a bang here at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. With a cash at the World Poker Tour event last month at Bellagio, he's in good shape to have a repeat performance here in the Bahamas. Michael took a few minutes between the action today to fill us in on how things are going for him on and off the felt.
Give us an idea of where you're at in this tournament and how things have gone for you so far.
I'm sitting on about $50,000; I got lucky once already. I was real short with about $15,000, and it came J-T-2 and I had A-J. The other guy had a set of tens but it came out K-Q. A few minutes later I made another straight and the guy was firing into me, so that brought me all the way back up to $50k. I'm just not getting any hands right now, I have to hold myself back and be patient and try to double-up.
There's a ton of internet qualifiers in this field, what do you think about the caliber of play here?
Well a lot of these internet players are great players. They play a lot of hands, and they have a good knowledge of the game and a great start. They're tough to play against; they play a lot of different styles, and you just have to adjust to it. You just have to play your game and adjust to them. Whatever happens, you just have to play from there.
Do you think their style of play is conducive to yours in terms of playing against them? Usually you're the one playing a lot of hands and being aggressive.
Well, I'm not playing as many hands as I'm used to, because it seems like every time I re-raise, someone's trying to outplay me. I'm just sitting there and being patient, waiting to double up. I'm playing a different style, not as many hands as I would, and it's been working well. I was [playing many hands] in the early levels but I've slowed down now. I've made a few re-raises and gotten away with some, I've gotten away with every bluff so far, that's what's probably kept me alive.
You mentioned people picking off your re-raises, are people coming after you more than usual in this event?
I think a lot of the times they had hands, I don't think too many people try to put moves on me because they know I'm sick enough to just go over the top again with nothing. I think they're going to be a bit more cautious against me. They're really waiting on me because they think I play so many hands so they can only re-raise me with a hand. Sometimes I might have it, and they think they have me beat, but they really don't, but I might lay it down and not get involved and just wait on them to make a big mistake.
Are you having a good time so far down here in the Bahamas?
It's almost like home; I live in Miami. The day-life here is great but the night life is terrible. It's a great place to play poker for a couple of days. This place is a little too big for me, though. Everyone gets lost all the time; you can't find anybody. I'm enjoying myself but I want to get home, I miss the kids.
Tell us a bit about what you're up to right now in and out of poker.
I'm looking forward to the PPL (Professional Poker League). Hopefully that goes through, because it would be really exciting. I'm playing a lot online and hopefully it's just a repeat of last year. My goal is to win Player of the Year again and have a good time and just win.
How's your home life?
It's a lot of fun. I have two kids, Paul and Julie. Paul is 2 years and 3 months and Julie will be a year on Feb. 2 so that should be exciting. Last year I won the Borgata that day, and hopefully I can repeat that and come home on that day with a bit of money. It should be an exciting year. January and February are usually my greatest months.
That sounds nice. Good luck in poker and with your family.
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Michael Mizrachi is undeniably one of the most devastating young players in the game today. Like a surprising number of pros, though, it's his family that seems to evoke most of his interest and his passion. It looks as though he will get his wish and see his kids earlier than planned, as he busted out of this tournament later in the day. We'll most likely see him again at the next WPT event which is in Tunica later this month. From the Bahamas, this is Matt Showell.