One of poker’s most prolific grinders claimed another tournament title early Monday morning at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood. Florida’s own Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi bested a field of 1,817 entries in the $130 buy-in April Big Stack Special earning $41,924 and a $1,100 seat in the process.
Mizrachi, whose victories include two $50,000 Poker Players Championship gold bracelet wins at the World Series of Poker, dominated the event claiming more than 22,000,000 of the 27,255,000 chips in play three-handed. A three-way chop saw Mizrachi take first outright while Robert Harris and Paulo Castro finished second and third respectively.
With more than 1,800 entries, the $100,000 guaranteed event easily surpassed its target before the prize pool settled in at $181,700. The top 108 players finished in the money with Paul Balzano and Elliott Zaydman among those joining Mizrachi in the money.
Next up at the Seminole Hard Rock is the $1,100 buy-in Big Slick April 28-30 ($100,000 guaranteed and $5,250 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open seat added) followed by another Big Stack Special May 4-7.
The 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown kicked off March 16 and concluded late Sunday night. With 25 days of action and 31 primary events, the series saw more than 8,700 entries generate in excess of $19 million in prize pools.
For the second-consecutive year, action concluded with the Monster WPT Tournament of Champions. Daniel Weinman earned the top prize of $381,500 along with a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe.
2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, FL $15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions Entries: 66 Prize Pool: $1,090,000 April 7 – 9, 2017
The 2017 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown finished on a high note with the WPT Tournament of Champions bringing out some of the best players in the world to close out the series. After three tough days and a long final table, Daniel Weinman beat Florida poker legend Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi heads up for the title and $381,500.
“I feel incredible,” Weinman said afterward. “This is such a tough tournament and to come out on top is super special.”
The $15,000 buy-in tournament generated a prize pool worth $1,090,000 and was only open to members of the World Poker Tour Champions Club, players must have won a prior WPT event if they wanted into this exclusive tournament. There were 66 former WPT champions taking part and included some interesting storylines from the beginning.
Ema Zajmovic was the only female in the field as the first WPT open tournament female champion. WPT Commentator Mike Sexton was sitting to her left and the Poker Hall of Famer earned his seat in the game when he captured his first WPT title in Montreal late in 2016.
The two most recent additions to the WPT Champions Club earned their place right here before the TOC kicked off. Tony Sinishtaj conquered the 1,207-entry field in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown Championship and 2013 WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Riess made it through a tough final table to win the WPT Showdown Finale.
After ten levels on Day 1, 30 players made it through with defending champ Farid Yachou bagging up chips for Day 2. Mizrachi finished the first day with the chip had held it for long periods on Day 2.
With only nine players earning a piece of the prize pool, it was slow going when action restarted despite the 30-second “action clock” in use for the tournament. There were still 12 players around after six full, hour-long levels but they quickly played down to the money bubble after the dinner break.
David Ormsby was never able to get much going at the final table but the Canadian held on to reach fourth place money as Santoro increased his late lead. That lead slowly evaporated as the last three players settled into a long, hours-long battle.
Weinman was one of the most recent players to join the WPT Champions Club having earned his way in a few months ago in the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open. He now owns a WPT Tournament of Champions title after negotiating through a tough field.
“This is crazy – you usually play tournaments with a thousand people and there might be 850 people that don’t have a chance of winning the tournament,” Weinman said of the event.
“They can go deep but they’re not going to be comfortable with all the spots they’ll encounter.” he continued. “But having 66 people that have already won this and had success in the poker world – coming out on top is incredible.”
WPT Tournament of Champions results:
1st: Daniel Weinman – $381,500 * 2nd: Michael Mizrachi – $218,000 3rd: Daniel Santoro – $133,525 4th: David Ormsby – $95,375 5th: Erik Seidel – $73,575 6th: Dylan Wilkerson – $57,225 7th: Stefan Schillhabel – $49,050 8th: Jesse Sylvia – $43,600 9th: Jonathan Jaffe – $38,150 * – Includes 2018 WPT Tournament of Champions seat
$15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions Level 24: 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante Players Remaining: 1 of 66
Michael Mizrachi moved all in on the button and Daniel Weinman called out of the big blind.
It was a flip with Mizrachi’s up against Weinman’s .
The board ran out and Weinman hit an eight on the turn to win the pot and the tournament. Weinman earned $381,500, which included his seat into the 2018 WPT Tournament of Champions, for his win, while Mizrachi took home $218,000 for his runner-up finish.
Along with the cash, Weinman received a 2018 Audi S5 Coupe, a pair of Rose Gold Wireless Over-Ear Element Headphones from Monster, a Hublot King Power Unico Carbon and Red Watch, a custom premium poker table from BBO Poker Tables, and a one-week stay at a Wyndham Extra resort.
Daniel Weinman – Winner 2017 Monster WPT Tournament of Champions Michael Mizrachi – Eliminated
$15,000 WPT Tournament of Champions Level 23: 15,000/30,000 with a 5,000 ante Players Remaining: 2 of 66
Daniel Weinman moved all in from the small blind and Daniel Santoro called from the big blind.
Santoro was the at-risk player for his last 610,000. He showed and needed to improve against Weinman’s .
The flop was and most of Michael Mizrachi’s rail groaned as Santoro took the lead. The turn was the and most of the rail was shouting for an ace, rooting for Mizrachi to get heads-up with Weinman.
The river was the and Weinman hit his ace to eliminate Santoro in third place. Santoro earned $133,525 for his third place finish, while Weinman took a massive five-to-one chip lead into heads-up play vs. Mizrachi.
Daniel Weinman – 2,750,000 (92 bb) Daniel Santoro – Eliminated in 3rd place ($133,525)