Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi was a lot of things to the November Nine. He was the best known of the players. He was the man with the roller-coaster backstory. He was the man who had the chance to be the first WSOP Main Event champion with the letter “z” in his name. Now, he is something else: the fifth place finisher.
Jonathan Duhamel had played it tricky, limping in from the small blind and letting The Grinder see a free flop: 5♦4♠Q♣. It would prove to be Mizrachi’s undoing. He held Q♦8♥, and when Duhamel checked, Mizrachi bet 2 million. Duhamel raised, Mizrachi pushed, and Duhamel called fast with A♦A♣. With no dramatic/typical suckout, Mizrachi was gone.
It’s happened time and again at the WSOP. Big names make it deep, draw a huge rail, and then don’t quite make it. It sucks some of the spirit from the room. It also does something important: it clears the way for a new legend to emerge. Now there were four players, and topping them was Duhamel with a staggering 91 million in chips.
It was suggested in the press box that this would be the moment Duhamel takes control and runs the table. A counter argument said Joseph Cheong would use this opportunity to beat the stuffing out of the small stacks and pick off an aggressive Duhamel. Both arguments were academic.
When play resumed, it was only a matter of minutes before Fillipo Candio got it all in with K♣Q♣ against Joseph Cheong’s ace-three. Cheong flopped his ace and the lone Italian in the field was gone.
There’s math (isn’t there always?) that can suggest the point at which the November Nine will be reduced to the November Two. That’s what will have to happen before these three men will go to bed for the night. In reality, one can read as many tea leaves as he likes, and he won’t be able to tell you how a final table will play out.
The history of the November Nine is a short one, but interesting nonetheless. In 2008, the final table was six-handed by hand #53. Last year, at the #160 hand mark, the November Nine was still seven-handed. Mizrachi’s elimination a few minutes ago came on hand #185, and the field was reduced to four. Now it sits at three with one short stack.
Each of them are looking at a reasonable facsimile of millions of dollars that the WSOP security team has just carried into the room in black duffel bags. It the old days, it was all hundred dollars bills and came in a cardboard box guarded by Benny Binion’s shotgun-toting boys. This year, we’ll just assume it’s a bunch of singles sandwiched by some Benjamins. In any case, the boys at the table are going to be getting a nice check that they can cash for real dough.
Here’s how they stack up as play resumes.
Joseph Cheong 97,650,000
Jonathan Duhamel 93,700,000
John Racener 28,250,000
Finally speaking of history, here’s our man Jason Senti on his way out the door after his seventh place finish,