Interview with Poker Pro Michael “Grinder” Mizrachi

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Hi, Corey here for CanadaPoker.com and I’ve got Michael “Grinder” Mizrachi here with me today for the UB Poker Pro Canada Classic II at Four Aces Poker Club just outside Montreal.

CP: So, you’re just out of the Deepstacks Live!

Michael: Yeah, we did the class yesterday, DeepstacksLive.com. It was a great class, about 25 or 30 students. A lot of fun, it was a great course, I’m sure they learned a lot and I’m sure we have some of the best instructors in the world. It was a great group and at the end we threw a little tournament. We gave out 200 bucks as well as a few of my “Grinder Knot” charity bands and you have a shot to win a seat to the World Series of Poker – hotel and airfare paid for as well. But it was cool. Montreal’s a great place as well. I love the poker here, don’t get me wrong. I never thought I’d move to the cold but I might move here just for the poker. I love it so far and I actually appreciate this cold weather because I don’t see it very often.

CP: Well you’re among few here that appreciate the winter; come the end most of us are left cursing the cold!

Michael: Yeah, well I live in all the hot spots: Vegas & Miami so I’m always down South in the hottest spots in the world so when I see the cold it’s nice. My favorite choice of drink is coffee and having coffee in the cold weather is a good feeling. When you’re in hot water drinking hot coffee, it just doesn’t go together.

CP: You had mentioned something about the charity work you were doing. Could you tell us a little bit about that?

Michael: Yes, on January 19th I did a charity at the Hard Rock Casino for the JCC Preschool special needs scholarship fund and the funds we raised over 25 thousand for the kids and it was a great turnout and I appreciate everybody for actually coming. I’m actually selling these bands too. The winner can win a seat to the World Series with paid airfare and hotel. It’s for the kids and I’m sure JC appreciates it as well. I’m actually also going to be putting more charities together with it, so check it out at www.thegrinderknot.com. The site should actually be up in about three weeks. It’s taking time to build and and it’s very costly.

CP: Lets talk a little bit about your nickname “The Grinder” as well. Where did it come from? Is it just because you have a consistent style of play and just work your way through the field?

Michael: Well, it’s just to  get people thinking that, but I’m not actually much of a grinder – at tournaments I’m exactly the opposite. I try to win all the chips: attack, attack. It’s more from a cash game style of play. It’s also been my online screen name for the last 10 or 11 years so I stuck to it and now even my family calls me grinder.  My mom, my kids, my wife, my brothers… So I just just got used it. Now when somebody says “Michael” I don’t even turn around! Michael is such a common name, so I prefer people call me grinder rather than Michael!

CP: Speaking of your family, they have a pretty interesting selection of professions: your twin brother plays poker as well, as does your wife if we’re not mistaken.

Grinder: Yeah, we all play poker. My wife plays poker. She just finished second in the Full Tilt tournament for 100 or so thousand. My mother – momma grinder – just finished a tournament at a few days ago with 806 players and $24 buy-in. She won the tournament on Full Tilt Poker and for $4500. Eric Does well. Robert is just as good as I am, you know, he’s about the best out there. There’s not much else to say about him, you see him on TV all the time. For Donnie, he’s actually doing a lot of grinding at the Hard Rock Casino in South Florida and he said he’s averaging about one to four thousand a day in the 5-10 No Limit Hold’em Game. He’s also doing some music – bass and is a professional magician. Really anything with cards kind of revolves around the family.

CP: So it’s almost a genetic thing with you guys – poker is a part of who you are.

Grinder: Yeah, it’s definitely in the genes. I guess that’s where we get it from. If you have it, you have it; if you don’t, you don’t. I mean to be great I think it has to be genetic. Just like basketball or any other sport, if it’s in the family or you’ve got the genes then you’ve got the talent. It’s more about instincts, reading people and playing your cards right.

CP: So poker almost has to be a part of you?

Grinder: Basically. You have to have the love and passion for the game. That’s all I do pretty much. This is my job, I’ve got other businesses, you know, but this is where I take full control and enjoy doing it.

CP: And you’re absolutely right about that, you have had so many great cash finishes, most recently people remember the WSOP November Nine where you placed fifth overall. But we could spend all day naming all the cash finishes you’ve had!

Grinder: Yeah, it was a great 2010 World Series. I’m looking forward to 2011 too. I haven’t played too many tournaments since. This is actually only my second tournament since the main event on November 6th when we filmed the November Nine. I played the Bellagio and this. I also did some work for my charity. Basically been spending a lot of time at home with the family as well as playing a lot of cash games, PLO games, that sort of thing. I haven’t really had a lot of time.

My grandma also passed about ten minutes before my birthday so I was there in the hospital so I had to skip Bahamas and stuff like that. Been going to the synagogue here and there and doing the holidays and taking it easy. Maybe in preparation for the 2011 WSOP – last year I only played 3 or 4 events prior to the World Series – so I figure if I do the same thing I’ll have a great World Series again.

CP: Well since this is one of few tournaments you’ve played recently, we’ll let you go back. I think they’ve started already!

Grinder: Yeah, it’s alright, the blinds are fairly small so… And actually I’m going to Chicago tomorrow so I’m not really sure what I’m going to do! I’m trying to play crazy and just build a huge stack. I’ll just fly back Sunday to play day 2. We’ll see how it goes.

CP: Ah, the life of a poker player!

Grinder: Yep, that’s how it is! No sleep, straight tournaments, playing online, just right back at work, but it’s fun. It’s a great job and you’re your own boss. That’s the great thing about poker.

CP: Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us, it’s greatly appreciated. Really an amazing player, and best of luck for the rest of the year!

Grinder: Thanks for having me guys, take care.

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