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Best of Dan Igo
Brothers Robert and Michael Mizrachi entered the Main Event on a white-hot roll. Robert reached three final tables while Michael won his first WSOP bracelet and reached two other final tables.
And their dominant play has continued in the Main Event. Michael "the Grinder" Mizrachi was third in chips after Day 1A, and Robert was in the top five in chips throughout Day 2A.
The two Florida natives started off the World Series with a bang. Both made the final table at the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship, which boasted the toughest field of the WSOP. Michael defeated his brother and 114 of the world's top players to win $1.5 million.
"One of the best feelings in poker is to win a bracelet," he said. "To win it in the 50k (along with) winning the Chip Reese trophy and winning a lot of money is a great feeling."
His win did have a brief bittersweet moment, as it was Michael who knocked out his older brother in fifth place.
"It was pretty cool (to play with Robert) but it wasn't cool when I busted him," he said with a laugh.
Poker is a family affair for the Mizrachis, with Michael's twin brother Eric also playing professionally. Robert was the first to get into the game and was also the first to win a WSOP bracelet. He won a $10,000 World Championship Pot Limit Omaha event in 2007 and has over $3 million in career earnings.
Michael is the most well-known of the three, with $8.5 million career earnings. In addition to his recent WSOP bracelet, he is the owner of two World Poker Tour titles.
The fact that Michael won that first gold bracelet after having a tough World Series the previous year made the win even more special. Michael credited his family for helping him get back into peak form.
"Everyone was very supportive of me, especially my family when I needed time," he said. "Being with my family for five months and taking a break and not traveling I think helped my game a lot. I'm more focused and I thought I would have a good World Series.
"I've been playing a lot of cash games, playing online, playing private games. Just taking my time and cutting down the traveling to wait for the World Series because last year I had a bad World Series. This year I thought I'd have a great one."
Robert and Michael were in different rooms Friday. But they kept in touch by calling each other during breaks. That's why Michael knew before the third level that his brother was one of the biggest stacks.
Robert started the day in the Amazon Room with 89,400 chips, and by the dinner break had nearly tripled to 240,000.
Michael began the day in the Pavilion with over 142,000 chips, but was down to almost 50,000 during the afternoon. He crawled back up to 67,000 before the dinner break.
"I haven't been playing my best but I've been picking it up," Michael said. "I've started to study everybody at the table and I pretty much know how everybody plays. But then you got new guys coming in."
Eventually, Michael became one of those new guys as he got moved into the Amazon Room late in the day and sat down one table over from his brother.
Although Robert was busy during the final level at his own table, he left his seat more than a few times to see Michael play a hand.
"Yeah, he was all-in a lot so I made sure to watch," he said.
Robert had a rough couple of pots as play concluded and the gap in chips between the top players closed.
"I played great for the first nine hours and 40 minutes and then the last 20 minutes like s---," he said after bagging his chips.
Robert finished the day with 204,000 in chips. Michael actually passed his older brother by finishing the day with 217,000. Both will continue play on Monday.
Despite a roller-coaster day, Michael Mizrachi is content with his position after two days.
"I'm happy where I'm at," he said. "I feel like I have a great shot and there's a lot of play left. I like our chances. And Rob's doing well so that's good, too."