Beyond the Bracelets: Michael Mizrachi and the $50,000 PPC


Michael Mizrachi could add a third Poker Players Championship to his resume on Wednesday (WSOP/BLUFF photo)

On Wednesday afternoon at the 2016 World Series of Poker the prestigious $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship will play down to a winner. While Justin Bonomo is the chip leader, Michael Mizrachi is right behind him and is hoping to win the event for an unprecedented third time. His success in the event goes far beyond having already won it twice though. This week in Beyond the Bracelets focuses on just how dominant Mizrachi has been in the PPC and how special a third win would be.

One Event, Three Bracelets

In the 47-year history of the WSOP, only three players have won the same event three times. The most famous of which is Stu Ungar who won the WSOP Main Event in 1980, 1981 and 1997. The other players to pull off the hat trick are Johnny Moss and Bill Boyd. Moss won the WSOP Main Event three times: in 1970 by a vote, in 1971 when the buy-in was $5,000 and in 1974 when the buy-in was $10,000. Starting in 1971, Boyd won the $1,000 Five Card Stud event three consecutive years. His winnings of $40,000 wouldn’t even buy him into the Poker Players Championship today.

The Most Cashes Leaderboard

Regardless of where he finishes, this marks the third Poker Players Championship cash for Mizrachi – but that’s not the record. Andy Bloch, who finished runner-up to Chip Reese in 2006, and Barry Greenstein have each found the cashier cage four times in this event. Along with his second place finish, Bloch has finished third (2012), 15th (2008) and 16th (2010). Greenstein has finished sixth (2008), seventh (2007), 12th (2006) and 15th (2011).

Averaging Down

Even if Mizrachi wins this year’s event, his average cash is going to drop. In 2010 he won $1,559,046 after beating 115 other players. Two years later he took home $1,451,527 for topping a 108-player field giving him an average cash of $1,505,286.50. With just 91 players in this year’s event, first place pays “just” $1,296,097.

The $3 Million Club

Even before factoring in the 2016 result, Mizrachi is the only player to have earned more than $3,000,000 in this event. The only player who has a chance to join him is Brian Rast. With $1,720,328 in earnings – from his 2011 win – Rast needs to take home the $1,296,097 first place prize to pass $3,000,000 and move into second place for lifetime Poker Players Championship earnings. Mizrachi currently has $3,010,573.00.

Top Five Finishes

So long as Mizrachi outlasts one player at Wednesday’s six-handed final table, he’ll set the record for most top five finishes with three. He currently holds the record along with five other players; John Hennigan, Bloch, Matt Glantz, Chris Klodnicki and John Hanson. Of that group, the other player other than Mizrachi to win it was Hennigan in 2014.

Best Finishes by Other Winners

Not only is Mizrachi the only player to win it twice, he has quite a bit of distance between himself and any other previous winner in terms of other finishes. No other previous winner has managed a top 10 finish during their career. Brian Rast, who won the 2011 event, is also at Wednesday’s final table.

Only three of the nine previous winners have failed to cash a second time and one of those three is the late Chip Reese. After Reese died in December 2007 the WSOP created a special trophy for this event that now bears his name.

2015 – Mike Gorodinsky: finished 13th this year
2014 – John Hennigan: finished 12th in 2012 and third in 2013
2013 – Matthew Ashton: finished 12th in 2015
2011 – Brian Rast: no other cashes (currently fourth in chips)
2009 – David Bach: finished 11th in 2008
2008 – Scotty Nguyen: no other cashes
2007 – Freddy Deeb: finished 14th in 2009
2006 – Chip Reese: no other cashes

No Sibling Rivalry

Robert Mizrachi, who currently has one more WSOP bracelet than his brother Michael, has also had some success in this event. He’s also cashed three times, but his best finish was fifth in 2010. He also finished 14th in 2014 and again this year. His total earnings for those three cashes is $516,650 – roughly 1/6 of what Michael has won.