About Eli Elezra

Though he has years of poker play to his name - not to mention millions of dollars in cash game and tournament winnings - Eli Elezra doesn't consider himself a poker pro.

First and foremost, he is a family man. Secondly, a multi-million dollar businessperson with several successful ventures on the Las Vegas strip.

Finally, he is a poker player. And although he is a regular in the Big Game at the Bellagio and at tournament tables, Elezra doesn't lump himself in with the likes of Phil Ivey and Barry Greenstein.

Elezra was born Nov. 24, 1960, in Israel. He was raised in Jerusalem, where he first learned to play cards against friends. When he graduated high school though, the Israeli army was on his mind. Every Israeli must serve in the military, and Elezra wanted to become a member of his country's elite commando unit, the Golani Brigade.

But the military had other ideas and told the teen he had to serve in the air force. He held out, eventually serving three weeks in prison for his refusal to comply with orders. But his persistence won out and, after clearing all the hurdles, Elezra became a member of one of the most highly decorated infantry units in the Israeli Defense Forces.

A leg injury sustained during the 1982 Lebanon War sidelined Elezra's four-year military career. Being stuck in a hospital, though, gave him time to work on his poker game. After healing and discharging from the military, Elezra headed north to Alaska in search of rumored big paychecks.

The money was there, but the work was tough and dirty. Again, Elezra remained persistent and stuck it out in Alaska, driving a cab and later purchasing a convenience store.

It was at that time his brother took a vacation in Las Vegas and told Elezra of all the business opportunities to be had in the glittering city. He landed on the strip in 1988, and promptly purchased a small film-processing business. It was right by the Stardust casino, convenient for quick hands of Hold'em and Omaha.

After opening up the film shop, Elezra continued to invest in property around the city and in new businesses. He now has more than 20 retail shops and owns the popular night club Seven, located on the Vegas strip.

Elezra had built an empire and with it, a big bankroll. While working on his businesses, however, Elezra had also been perfecting his poker game. By the late 1990s, he was a wealthy man and had graduated from his $10 games at the Stardust to competing against pros such as Doyle Brunson and Chip Reese at the Big Game in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio.

He also started appearing regularly in tournaments in the city. His first World Series of Poker appearance came in 1999 and he made the final in two events: $2,000 Limit Hold'em and $2,500 Limit Omaha. He saw the final table of the 2001 WSOP $2,000 Limit Hold'em event and, in 2003, finished ninth in $2,500 Limit Hold'em.

His biggest win came in 2004, however, when he claimed the World Poker Tour $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em main event at the Mirage Poker Showdown in Las Vegas. Success brought with it a $1 million paycheck.

Though he may not be the most prolific tournament player, Elezra plays poker almost every night and has accumulated substantial wealth through his side-game winnings. But each day, he still heads into the office to manage his profitable chain of businesses, allowing for enough time to spend with his large family.

Elezra is married to Hila, a woman he says is his biggest supporter, and the couple has five children: Jonathan, Guy, Sean, Ryan and Maya.

Player Analysis

Eli is a catalyst for the Limit games from $1,000/$2,000 up to $2,000/$4,000. He often tries to start a heads-up or three-handed game because he is an excellent short-handed player.

Eli doesn’t always show appropriate patience when the game becomes full. I think this is partly due to the fact that he has a significant life as a family man and businessman outside of poker, and when he comes to the poker room he is ready to play.

Eli has had several impressive winning streaks over the years. He aggressively invests his poker winnings into his many business ventures (a nightclub, souvenir stores, gas stations, and real estate), often placing his poker bankroll in jeopardy, especially considering the high limits he plays and his high-fluctuation style.

Amusing Anecdote

People often call him “Eli with the wife” to distinguish him from Eli Balas. When Eli plays poker, his beautiful wife Hila usually sits behind him. After most hands, especially ones that he loses, Eli and Hila review the play in Hebrew. They exemplify the saying, “The family that plays together, stays together.”

Tournament Placing

Place Winnings Tournament
94 $2,243.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 53 - $1500 Mixed PLO/8; Omaha 8/8; and Big O
108 $4,955.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 50 - $1500 Shootout No-Limit Hold'em
6 $59,773.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 43 - $10,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo Split-8 or Better Championship
60 $3,763.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 36 - $2500 Mixed Omaha/Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better
10 $24,954.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 32 - $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better Championship
40 $6,658.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 30 - $3000 Six-Handed Pot-Limit Omaha
11 $12,896.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 18 - $3000 H.O.R.S.E.
16 $3,688.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 7 - $1500 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit
38 $2,588.00 WSOP 2016 - Event 5 - $1500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed
9 $41,170.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 63 - $10,000 H.O.R.S.E Championship
1 $112,591.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 48 - $1,500 Seven Card Stud
24 $4,288.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 39 - $1,500 Ten-Game Mix
6 $31,463.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 29 - $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship
17 $20,941.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 21 - $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship
5 $32,345.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 9 - $1,500 Razz
88 $2,776.00 WSOP 2015 - Event 3 - $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better
19 $3,471.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 36 - $1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball
10 $33,949.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 10 - $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low
3 $144,056.00 WSOP 2014 - Event 5 - $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball
1 $173,236.00 WSOP 2013 - Event 59 - $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw
30 $8,525.00 WSOP 2013 - Event 29 - $5,000 HORSE
15 $11,528.00 WSOP 2013 - Event 13 - $5,000 Stud Hi-Lo
63 $3,468.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 27 - $1,500 H.O.R.S.E.
19 $9,675.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 15 - $5,000 Seven-Card Stud Hi-Low
104 $3,531.00 WSOP 2012 - Event 2 - $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em
107 $54,851.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 58 - $10,000 Main Event World Championship
5 $36,596.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 49 - $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball
41 $8,508.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 31 - $3,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
21 $7,709.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 17 - $1,500 HORSE
25 $3,237.00 WSOP 2011 - Event 9 - $1,500 2-7 Draw Lowball
23 $8,372.00 WSOP 2010 - Event 44 - $2,500 Mixed Hold'em (Limit/No-Limit)
15 $7,663.00 WSOP 2010 - Event 7 - $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit)
12 $25,000.00 2010 Special - 2010 NBC Heads-Up Championship
46 $4,739.00 2009 WSOP - Event 47 - $2,500 Mixed Hold'em (Limit/No-Limit)
33 $6,056.00 2009 WSOP - Event 30 - $2,500 Pot-Limit Hold'em
20 $7,869.00 2009 WSOP - Event 3 - $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Split
6 $68,500.00 EPT Season 5 - PCA High Roller Event
18 $54,003.00 2008 WSOP - Event 28, Pot-Limit Omaha w/re-buys
5 $108,288.00 2008 WSOP - Event 8, World Championship Mixed Event
19 $26,470.00 2008 WSOP - Event 1, World Championship Pot-Limit Hold'em
1 $198,984.00 2007 WSOP - Event 24, World Championship Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better
13 $13,480.00 2005 WSOP - Event 20, $5,000 Pot-limit Hold'em
10 $24,220.00 2005 WSOP - Event 7, $1,000 No-limit Hold'em w/rebuys
16 $10,085.00 2005 WSOP - Event 6, $2,500 Short-handed no-limit Hold'em
1 $1,024,574.00 WPT Season 3 - Mirage Poker Showdown
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