EPT10 Prague: Meet Moshe Elazar, emerging from big brother Eli's shadow
About ten minutes before the last break of the day at EPT Prague, a text message began its flight from the Czech Republic to Las Vegas that will end with a spectacular role reversal. Moshe Elazar, who is into the last 72 players of this tournament, had just learned that his table would soon be elevated to the television stage, covered on EPT Live.
Elezar's first point of business on hearing the news was to tell his brother to tune in. For many years, Elezar has sat at home and watched that brother -- known across the poker world as Eli Elezra -- on countless televised poker shows. But with Elezra, the World Series bracelet winner and High Stakes Poker stalwart, back in Las Vegas, it was time for the younger brother to slide into the spotlight.
Elazar, who was born in Jerusalem and returned to Israel two years ago after he became a father for the first time, spent 16 years in Vegas, managing Elezra's business concerns. During that period, Elezra amassed the vast majority of his $2.3m tournament winnings, plus whatever he accumulated in cash games, while Elazar offered a supporting role.
"I have never played on the EPT before, but I was at the PCA," Elazar said. "I flew out with Eli and Doyle and I had to be the dealer in their private jet. They let me get in the 10K, to do the main event...I used to do the Chinese dealing for them in the plane. There was Doyle, Phil Ivey and Eli. It was me and David Levi dealing."
Elezra took up poker a few years before his younger brother -- Eli is 52; Moshe is 46 -- but it is the latter who has embraced the online game with more readiness. He was one of the first people to open an account on PokerStars, where he plays as shiko21, and his presence here in Prague is owing to the biggest result of his career so far in the most recent Sunday Warm-Up.
"I chopped it with three people, the Warm Up, cashed out for $130,000," Elazar said. (Read the full tournament wrap.) "And I bet my friend that if I chop it I will come to Prague. And here I am. There were about 25 people left, 5am on Israel time, and that's what happened."
It is pretty difficult to wipe the smile of Elazar's face at the moment, despite the fact that he's sitting opposite the chip-leading Ludovic Lacay, who will dominate any table. But Lacay was very impressed on hearing of Elazar's family heritage, perhaps admiring the fast and loose style shared by the Frenchman and Elezra.
"I'm a little bit more tight than Eli," Elazar said. "I'm tight aggressive. Eli likes to see a lot of flops...It's a nice table, I'm taking it easy. I'm freerolling this one."
He added: "For sure I'll come back to the EPT. I never played in Europe, besides in France seven to ten years ago when it wasn't that big. But now, what PokerStars is doing it's just phenomenal. Getting all those people, and the value now. I mean, €900,000 for first prize. It's nice."
And it's even nicer to win it.
For coverage of Day 3 of the EPT10 Prague Main Event, head to the EPT Prague Main Event page. There's hand-by-hand coverage and chip counts in the top panel, plus feature pieces below the line. All the information about event can be found on the main European Poker Tour website.