I have been noticing a bit of a trend lately that I am ecstatic about for a couple of reasons. I have noticed players capturing huge online tournament wins, followed very closely by huge live tournament wins. The first reason this excites me is that it happens to be some of my very close friends who are achieving this success, and the second reason is that it proves how vital online poker is to the improvement of a poker player. In my opinion, playing online poker tournaments is by far the best way to learn the game. In this column, I’d like to give my friends the credit they are due, and share with you their recent accomplishments. In my opinion, these feats are nearly impossible and definitely noteworthy.
If you play online, you have heard of “The Grinder.” His real name is Michael Mizrachi, and he is the real deal, folks. The amount of success that he has had in the past couple of months is astonishing. Grinder’s first major title came at Bellagio in December, when he bested a tough field in the $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournament and took home the bracelet and about a quarter of a million dollars. Soon after that, he took down one of the biggest weekly tournaments online and approximately $100,000.
That was only the beginning, though. He stayed on his Bola88 rush and managed to get down to the final five players in the World Poker Open before taking a devastating beat to get busted. That finish made him another 288K. Was that the last time we would hear from The Grinder? No way!
From Tunica, he headed straight to Los Angeles for the L.A. Poker Classic. With 538 entrants for the 10K buy-in main event, first place was going to be worth more than $1.8 million. When the smoke cleared, it was Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi who was smiling at his huge following of friends and family while holding the trophy and the title. What an amazing performance it was by the 24-year-old poker professional from Hollywood, Florida. The Grinder is a very close friend of mine, and I am awestruck by his ability to play the game. Congrats, kid – keep it up and you’ll be one of the best who ever lived.
Next on the amazing performance list is a young gun from the same family. That’s right, poker definitely runs in the genes. Mike’s older brother, Rob “Who’s Bad” Mizrachi, is having some success of his own. Rob is constantly making very big online scores in tournaments and big buy-in heads-up matches. But this kid also can play live with the best of them. He recently took down a main event at the EPT Masters Classic in Holland for €372,000. Congrats on your win, Rob, and don’t let your little bro keep showing you up. I want to see The Grinder versus Who’s Bad in a 5K heads-up match; my money is on Rob!
Oh, by the way, these aren’t the only two Mizrachi boys who “got game.” Mike has a twin brother, Eric “EWEE” Mizrachi, who is quite the player himself. He probably would have won the online tournament that Grinder won if it weren’t for a costly misclick. I’m waiting for you to show ’em all what you got, EWEE!
The next player is no stranger to online poker. His name is Chris “BRSAVAGE” Savage, and he is one of the winningest online tournament players to be found. Recently, he made countless monster scores in the online tournament arena and decided to take a stab at some of the live tournaments. He arrived just in time to register for his first live tournament of the year, a $1,500 buy-in limit hold’em event. Before I had even gotten a chance to say hello to him, he was at the final table with the chip lead. When I awoke the next day, I couldn’t think of a better thing to do than root my friend on. He totally dominated the table. It didn’t take long for this online pro to make a splash in the live tournament circuit. Congrats on your success, Chris.
Last, but certainly not least, I must congratulate Noah “Exclusive” Boeken. This young professional from Amsterdam has been playing online for quite a while now, and finally broke through to the big time. The door opened for him in an online tournament in which he took home close to 100K. Shortly thereafter, he made a huge impression in the EPT Copenhagen in Denmark, taking down first place and a nice chunk of money, just under $200,000. Noah is an extremely talented kid, and I knew he would be a force to be reckoned with the first time I played with him. Now, get over here to the United States and show the Americans what you can do, “Exclusive.”
Each of these young phenoms has proven that online success and live tournament success are closely related. Getting accustomed to winning and keeping yourself in a positive frame of mind are huge factors in winning at poker.
All of these players have had one big score right after another. If you think you can’t win, most of the time you won’t! Being in the right mindset is essential for success in poker. As difficult as it may be, you must stay focused; doing so will go a long way toward keeping you atop the poker world.