Michael Mizrachi is poker’s grand old Duke of York.
When he’s up, he’s up. And when he’s down, he’s down.
Mizrachi endured one of those trademark swings during Day 2C of the $10,000 buy-in No-limit Texas Hold ’em World Championship at the Rio Convention Center, dropping almost half of his stack early Wednesday afternoon before going on a spectacular hot streak that, at least temporarily, gave him the overall lead with 553,000 chips.
The tournament continues at noon today with Day 3 as Wednesday’s survivors join the 800 remaining players from Day 2A/2B.
A three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and fifth-place finisher in the 2010 Main Event, “The Grinder” is one of the field’s most aggressive players. Mizrachi sees as many flops as possible, and while many players prefer to play smaller pots, he loves to push the action, a style that often leads to volatile swings.
When Matt Damon’s character in “Rounders” described no-limit Texas Hold ’em as the only game in which fortunes can change from hand to hand, he might as well have been talking about Mizrachi.
“I’m accustomed to that,” Mizrachi said during a table change. “With my style, I’m going to put myself in a situation to be the big stack or I’m broke.”
The 32-year-old from Miramar, Fla., opened play Wednesday as one of the leaders with 176,100 chips but quickly fell to under the 140,000-mark. He slowly rebuilt his stack and then went on his run during the third level of the day.
Mizrachi won two nice pots, holding a flush each time, and he moved to more than 300,000 in chips shortly after that. Holding king-queen, Mizrachi made a full house to eliminate a player who had flopped two pair.
“I don’t know what else I could do,” the unidentified player muttered, walking away from the table as Mizrachi stacked his chips.
A few minutes before the dinner break, Mizrachi went heads-up with Robert Deppe in one of the largest pots of the tournament thus far. Mizrachi led out for 120,000 chips after the river, and Deppe contemplated whether to call for several minutes. At one point, Deppe told Mizrachi he had flopped a set of queens, to which Mizrachi replied, “I look pretty comfortable, right?”
Deppe, who bluffed Mizrachi out of an earlier pot, eventually called, and Mizrachi immediately turned over ace-king for the straight to cripple his opponent.
“Obviously I want to give myself the best chance to win or make a deep run,” Mizrachi said. “I have 500 big blinds, which is a lot to work with. With my style of play, I need a big stack to take advantage of the situation.”
Mizrachi wasn’t the only player building a large stack. Day 1C leader Mark Kroon had more than 500,000 chips an hour after the dinner break, while Dirk Van Luijk and Jean-Robert Bellande, a former contestant on “Survivor,” were not far behind.
Contact reporter David Schoen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.