Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi wins the $50k Players Championship…on TV
I watched the Grinder ship the $50k players championship on ESPN tonight, and a few things struck me. First of all, I was surprised at the limited number of hands that were shown on the 2 hour telecast. I realize that while the actual time of play was somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 hours, that they wouldn’t be showing all of the hands. But what struck me was how many hands didn’t make the cut.
They failed to show the AA hand that doubled Oppenheim up early in the event, and they only showed a few hands of the heads up match with Grinder vs. Vladimir. I was surprised also that you didn’t get a chance to see the pain and agony on the faces of Oppenheim and Shchemelev as they were clearly soul crushed by Mizrachi over the course of the evening.
These were pretty integral parts of the story that I think that ESPN missed. About midway through Grinder’s ascent from worst to first in the 3-way action, It was Oppenheim that was visibly dejected. It seemed as though he was dropping pot after pot after pot, and just couldn’t right the train. He was stuck in reverse at the worst possible time, and there was nothing but an abyss in the end for him. Most of the hands that he dropped were to Mizrachi, and they were sizeable ones at that. The hands that he won, he basically won the blinds and the antes, and that wasn’t enough to sustain.
But when the stacks evened out, and Oppenheim went from a 3 to 1 chip leader to all of the sudden 3rd in chips, David was visibly shaken. You could read it all over his body language that the guy was just defeated, and couldn’t figure out a way to beat Grinder, who was seemingly toying with Oppenheim whenever he wanted.
In the end, Mizrachi eliminated Oppenheim in a simple flip, where David over shoved the pot with 8-8 and Grinder called him with K-Q, rivering a Q in brutal fashion and ending Oppenheim’s bracelet dreams.
In the heads up match with Shchemelev, Grinder lost virtually every pot to begin the session. From a dominant big stack, Grinder lost his chip advantage to have almost no chips left against Vladimir. And when he was short, he shipped in Ac-7c and Shchemelev made the call with A-J. But Mizrachi found two clubs on the flop and rivered the 5c to stay alive, and double his stack to a small chip lead. From there, he literally Grinded Shchemelev down into nothingness, winning pot after pot, and sending a dejected Vladimir back to the rail to console the two people who were in the stands cheering for him. On the other hand, the crowd went berserk every time Mizrachi won a hand, and you could feel the entire audience pulling for the Grinder. One Mizrachi shipped the Q-5 into Vladimir’s Q-8, you just had a feeling that the 5 was coming, and sure enough it hit the turn to earn him the bracelet.
The last thing that ESPN failed to really capture was the blind structure of the tournament. I thought that it was pretty awful. I mean, blinds were something like 30k/60k with a 15k ante. The ante was for a $40 donkamenet, not a world championship. They should have really looked at this given the fact that they played ZERO hands of the mixed event hands, and reverted only to No Limit Hold’em for the TV final table of 8. It was pretty gross.
In all, it was still a fun watch. It was cool seeing myself twittering like a fool on national TV, and having the kids and the wide, and the countless people on twitter seeing me. I loved @_Desperado’s tweet of “@coolwhipflea is all hollywood now! Your on the screen as much as the Grinder!” That one made me chuckle a great deal.
I have little interest in next week’s Tournament of Champions. Huck Seed is a nice guy and all, but really it just seems like a so what event, and a waste of time. I want to feel differently about it, but really I would have rather seen some other bracelet events in there. Maybe Gavin Smith’s bracelet win, which was a truly magical experience. Oh well. I guess I’m in the minority.