A Fine GrindMichael Mizrachi is on quite a roll. Last year, he finished 5th in the World Poker Tour (WPT) World Poker Open, won a WPT final table worth $1,859,909 and finished the year with an 11th place finish in the $25,000 WPT Championship. The momentum is only increasing with his own website (michaelmizrachi.com) and being one of Absolute Poker’s marquee players. It was only a matter of time, though. He has a strong poker pedigree with two brothers who make their own marks at the tables. But Michael, once an aspiring doctor, eventually chose a different career path and has been the most successful out of his siblings—at only 25. His own family, wife Aidilay and kids Paul and Julie, is naturally his greatest accomplishment and they stay as close as possible when “The Grinder” is away on the road. We caught up with him somewhere between a tournament in Los Angeles and his Hollywood, Florida, home.
What’s your schedule like these days? I’m traveling almost every week so I try to spend as much time with the family as possible. I also play lots of online poker on Absolute Poker in the morning after heading to the gym. Then I head to the casinos late nights to play live poker.
What do you like about playing online?
I’ve learned so much because you see so many flops and I learned to handle every situation with the best possible results. I learn from my mistakes and moved on until I play as close as possible to a perfect game.
How have you improved playing live tournaments? I learned most everything on my own. I have a different strategy while playing tournaments. It’s more of an opposite strategy. So what most people are taught, I use against them.
What has been your best result, not in terms of money, but in terms of coming back from a seemingly impossible deficit?
I would say last year at the World Poker Open. I was ante all-in with $200 in chips left. But I built my stack to $515,000 and made the final table where I finished in 5th on the WPT final table, which was my first WPT final-table appearance.
How do you keep close to your family now?
When I’m not with them I call home every day and talk to the wife and kids [Paul, 2, and Julie, nine months].
How is Absolute Poker treating you?
I love playing on Absolute Poker. The players are very friendly as well. I have my own $25 no-limit table with a maximum buy in of $5,000. Hopefully, players will learn a lot from my stlye and become great tournament and cash-game players. I try to give as much information as possible to whoever chats with me.
Your live tournament winnings exceed $5,400,000 and you’re ranked number-one Player of the Year according to Card Player Magazine. How are you adjusting to the high-profile lifestyle?
Well, I’m very humble, which is extremely important. I try to share my thoughts with my fans and answer questions when asked. When I’m going out I’m always friendly to people. Basically, I live the same lifestlye as I always lived but just a few more cars and houses.