On January 5, the Mizrachi family celebrated not one, but two birthdays. Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi and his twin brother both turned 36 years old. Technically, Michael is two minutes older than his brother Eric, affectionately nicknamed “Ewee”. There’s Robert, who is two years older, and the youngest of the brood, Daniel, who is 29.
Keeping them all in line is Susan Laufer, lovingly known as “Momma Grinder”.
“She knows who's the best player in the family,” Michael tells 888poker. “She named herself after me. She plays online poker every day.”
In addition, there’s father, Ezra, who runs the “Get Lucky” clothing line. Finally, there is Michael’s triumvirate of kids -- Paul (12), Julie (10), and Joseph (9).
“They’re all in school and don't know anything about poker yet,” Mizrachi ensures us with a laugh.
While the kids will have to wait to learn the game, they can rest easy knowing poker runs in their blood.
All in the Family
“Rob and I are the more experienced players in the family, and it's our full-time job,” says Mizrachi. “Sometimes I'm better than Rob and sometimes he is. You know how poker goes. We’ve both done very well and have always been by each other’s side.”
To say they’ve done well is an understatement. As of 2016, Michael has amassed $15,386,803 in live tournament earnings, which puts him 16th on poker’s all-time money list. His biggest cash came in 2010 when he made the final table of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, ultimately finishing fifth for $2,332,992. It was a great score, but far from his biggest accomplishment.
In 2005, Mizrachi burst onto the scene by winning the World Poker Tour (WPT) L.A. Poker Classic for $1,859,909, and a year later won a second WPT title when he won the 2006 Borgata Winter Open for $1,173,373. Oh, and ten days before that second win, he finished runner-up to Scotty Nguyen in the WPT Gold Strike Poker Open for $566,352. It was truly one of the most remarkable runs in WPT history.
Four years later, Michael captured what many consider the most prestigious title in all of poker, the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship. Mizrachi topped a field of 116 of the world’s best players to win $1,559,046, and amazingly he would become the tournament’s only two-time winner after capturing the title again in 2012, good for another $1,451,527. The cherry on top came this past summer when he once again made the final table.
“I'm very happy to win the $50,000 Poker Players’ Championship twice and make the final table for a third time when I this year and finished fourth,” says Michael. “It was quite the accomplishment for me.”
In addition, Michael finished third in the 2012 WPT World Championship for $424,618 and won the 2011 WSOP Europe €10,000 Mixed No-Limit Hold’em for $448,861 and a third gold bracelet.
Amazingly, brother Robert has more WSOP bracelets with four. His first came in the 2007 WSOP when he won Event #50: $10,000 World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha for $768,889, and the next came seven years later in the 2014 WSOP Event #41: $1,00 Dealer’s Choice for $147,092. In 2015, he won Event #3: $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo for $251,022, and then this past summer won Event #3: $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship or $242,662. That’s three bracelets in three years, a rare occurrence in the poker world. Entering 2017, Robert has $6,144,673 in live tournament earnings.
While he doesn’t boast the stats of his older brothers, Eric Mizrachi has had some poker success as well, including $241,624 in live tournament earnings. His best cash of $20,346 came in 2006 when he finished 25th in the WPT Mirage Poker Showdown.
Even baby brother Daniel, who is a DJ/magician nicknamed either “DJMagic” or “DJMizrachi” (take your pick) has a slew of cashes totalling $26,766. That includes a career-high $9,684 for finishing fourth in the 2013 Isle Poker Classic Deepstacks Live.
“All my family supports me whatever I do,” says the Grinder. “If I'm happy, they're happy. I have full support from everyone.”
The Mizrachi’s are considered poker royalty, but they’re not exactly the “First Family of Poker” as there are plenty of other sibling combos including Barny and Ross Boatman, Di “Urindanger” and Hac “trex313” Dang, and Grant and Blair Hinkle, just to name a few. However, with seven bracelets between them, it’s safe to say Michael and Robert are the most accomplished siblings in poker.
Poker also runs in the family for the Brunson’s. In fact, Doyle and Todd Brunson are the only father-son poker players in the Poker Hall of Fame. Players aren’t eligible for that honour until they turn 40, meaning it’ll be a few years before the Mizrachi’s grace the nomination list. Chances are they’ll become the first brothers enshrined, though only time will tell.
Poker is the Family Business
Being such a big poker family, one can’t help but wonder if the Mizrachi’s get together for a friendly home game every now and then.
“Once in a while, we will get together and play against each other, but it's a rare occasion,” Michael explains. “But during the 2016 WSOP, my brother Rob and I sat together in the $50k, $100k and $25k events. What were the odds of that?”
While they may not play poker against each other often, the Mizrachi are in the game together on a daily basis.
“We started up the WSOP Dealers Academy,” says Michael. “We have a land-based school in Hollywood, Florida and are very excited to announce that we will be going online soon. We have big plans and hope to be online by the 2017 WSOP.”
Bracelets. WPT titles. Millions of dollars in winnings. A clothing company and dealer school. These are just some of the things that have helped the Mizrachi’s build a poker empire, one they don’t intend to relinquish anytime soon.
You can catch Michael Mizrachi at King’s Casino Rozvadov from January 26th through February 6. That’s when “The Grinder” will be at Europe’s biggest poker room to play the 888Live Festival, which will offer over €600,000 in guaranteed prize pools.
For more information on that event, click here.
You can follow Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi on Twitter - @TheGrinder44