SCOOP: Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi dominates in Event #16-M, $320 stud

SCOOP logo.gif When Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi first started making waves on the major tournament circuit, he would often be spotted wearing a royal blue baseball cap that read "The Grinder-- I'm a machine" in a gothic-looking font. Two World Poker Tour titles and $6.7 million in tournament earnings later, Mizrachi is still true to that mantra despite his poker superstardom, grinding it out at the virtual tables for over ten hours straight today to take down SCOOP Event #16-Medium, $320 Seven-Card Stud.

344 players bought into this event, creating a $103,200 prize pool. 56 players would depart with a cash finish, while first place paid out $19,608. Team PokerStars Pro was well-represented in this event with stud enthusiasts Alex Kravchenko , Chad Brown, Greg Raymer, Ivan Demidov, Katja Thater, Marcin Horecki, Vicky Coren, and Ylon Schwartz all buying in. Schwartz won the unofficial Team Pro last longer, finishing just short of the money in 59th place.

Here's how the chip counts stacked up as the final table got underway:

Seat 1: Operga (262,775 in chips)
Seat 2: MickBt23 (130,478 in chips)
Seat 3: Splinter59 (145,913 in chips)
Seat 4: skalexjung (217,598 in chips)
Seat 5: JohnnyDepp (211,004 in chips)
Seat 6: The Grinder (363,378 in chips)
Seat 7: FinalFence (246,058 in chips)
Seat 8: goleafsgoeh (142,796 in chips)

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Short stack MickBt23's chips had dwindled to 100,000 when he got involved in this pot against goleafsgoeh. MickBt23 led out on fourth and got called, and led again on fifth showing K♥7♣2♣ to goleafsgoeh's 5♠T♥2♥. This time, goleafsgoeh raised and MicBt23 called an additional big bet. MickBt23 caught the J♥ and goleafsgoeh hit the J♣ on sixth. MickBt23 check-called another bet and both players checked the river. In the end, MickBt23 could only show down a pair of deuces with T♦9♠K♥7♣2♣J♥ 2♦ while goleafsgoeh dragged the pot with K♣]Kd]5♠T♥2♥J♣8♥ for a pair of kings, crippling MickBt23 to only 34,478 in chips. Soon thereafter, the rest of his stack went all in on fourth street in a multi-way pot with JohnnyDepp and The Grinder, JohnnyDepp making eights full of nines to end MickBt23's SCOOP run in eighth place. He won $2,064.

Splinter59 lost the majority of his stack to The Grinder when his two pair tens and fives fell to Mizrachi's kings and queens. Left with only 20,000 after the hand, he got all in on third street against skalexjung and JohnnyDepp, who continued betting on the side. Skalexjung's split pair of queens ended up holding to earn him the pot and eliminated Splinter59 in seventh place for $2,580.

With the blinds up to 10,000/20,000/2,000 and just under 101,000 in his stack, Operga completed on third street, skalexjung raised, and The Grinder reraised. With the action back on Operga, he capped, skalexjung folded and The Grinder called. The betting was capped again on fourth street and the last of Operga's chips went in on fifth. The split tens Operga started with ended up not improving, his final board reading T♠T♦6♠9♠8♥A♠5♥ while the Grinder made kings up with K♦Q♦J♠Q♣K♥2♦7♠ to knock Operga out in sixth place. He earned $3,612 for his efforts.

After taking out Operga, The Grinder held a commanding chip lead over his opponents with 786,353. After picking up a few pots five-handed he passed the million-chip mark while his four remaining opponents' stacks were all below 275,000.

Goleafsgoeh was down to 47,000 when he got his chips all in on fourth street against JohnnyDepp. Though goleafsgoeh started off with the best hand (split tens) and ended up with two pair tens and sixes with a final board of T♥6♣T♦6♦7♠4♥3♥, JohnnyDepp caught up, making queens up on fourth street with 4♦Q♠K♦4♣Q♥A♣9♠ to take out goleafsgoeh in fifth place. He earned $5,160.

Skalexjung was having a banner day in the SCOOP stud tournaments-- while playing at this final table he was also contending with the likes of jmonnett, Hoss_TBF and Lenny at the final table of Event #16-High. As four-handed play commenced, skalexjung was third in chips but soon found himself on a very short stack after The Grinder rivered two pair on him in a 268,000 pot. Though he held on and rallied back past the 100,000 chip mark a couple of times, he got all his money in on third street against The Grinder with split tens against A-Q-T. The Grinder, however, caught another ace on fourth street and skalexjung couldn't catch up, exiting the tournament in fourth place for $7,740. His run in the $3,150 stud event also ended in a twin fourth place finish for another $15,300, bringing skalexjung's total take for the night to $23,040. Well played, sir.

The Grinder pulled away even more as play turned three-handed, claiming most of FinalFence's stack over the course of three hands. After calling FinalFence's raise on third street and his bet on fourth, The Grinder raised his fifth street bet and got FinalFence to fold, earning a 174,400 pot. Two hands later, The Grinder three-bet FinalFence's third street raise, bet out on fourth, and bet again on fifth, showing {Ts]K♠T♣ to FinalFence's 6♠J♣5♥. FinalFence was forced to fold, left with only 150,000 in chips. In the third hand in question, FinalFence raised Grinder's third street completion and led out on fourth and fifth streets, The Grinder calling down. With a board reading 7♦Q♠3♦6♥ on sixth and only 67,000 chips remaining, FinalFence slowed down and checked, while The Grinder bet out showing 9♥3♥J♣4♠. FinalFence gave up his hand again and The Grinder extended his lead, his stack now up over 1.2 million. FinalFence picked up a few small pots to get back over 100,000 in chips, but ended up making his final stand, getting all in on fifth street vs. JohnnyDepp. Though FinalFence had an open pair of aces on fifth, JohnnyDepp had already made trip threes on fourth. FinalFence made two pair on sixth but couldn't improve on the river, ending his tournament in third place and taking home $10,836.

The Grinder held nearly a 2 to 1 chip lead over JohnnyDepp as heads-up play commenced:

Seat 5: JohnnyDepp (586,759 in chips)
Seat 6: The Grinder (1,133,241 in chips)

The two traded small pots for the first ten minutes of heads-up play, JohnnyDepp managing to chip up to about 700,000. In a pot where The Grinder raised third street, bet out on fourth and fifth, and called a bet on sixth street when JohnnyDepp made an open pair of queens, the Grinder paid off JohnnyDepp's river bet, mucking his hand to his opponent's queens up. After the hand, JohnnyDepp actually had The Grinder slightly covered with 866,359 to The Grinder's 853,641.

Losing the chip lead apparently didn't sit well with The Grinder. Like some sort of wild animal awoken from a nap he went on on a tear, taking down four hands in a row to put JohnnyDepp back on the ropes with only 244,000 in chips to his 1.47 million. JohnnyDepp was crippled to only two big bets after calling all the way to the river in a hand where he didn't improve against The Grinder's split pair of queens, and finally succumbed four hands later. JohnnyDepp got the last of his chips in on fourth street showing 3♠3♣ while The Grinder had 5♣5♠ up. Here's a look at their final boards.

JohnnyDepp (2♥)(A♠)3♠3♣T♠7♥(Q♣)

The Grinder (8♣)(9♠)5♣5♠6♥A♥(T♦)

Neither player's hand improved beyond what they held on fourth street, The Grinder's pair of fives holding up to take out JohnnyDepp. After a dominating final table performance, The Grinder was PokerStars' newest SCOOP champion, earning $19,608 and a Champion's Watch to go on his wrist next to his two World Poker Tour bracelets. For his runner-up finish, JohnnyDepp collected $14,448.

Results for Event #16-Medium, $320 Seven-Card Stud

1. Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi ($19,608.00)
2. JohnnyDepp ($14,448.00)
3. FinalFence ($10,836.00)
4. slakexjung ($7,740.00)
5. goleafsgoeh ($5,160.00)
6. Operga ($3,612.00)
7. Splinter59 ($2,580.00)
8. MickBt23 ($2,064.00)

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in SCOOP