Forget the book: 'Grinder' does it his way

Posted: May 18, 2007

PLAYING 5-6 under the gun, suited or otherwise, is not the recommended play in many of the poker texts now on the market.

But wild pro Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi has his own book, and there are many more chapters when it comes to a deep-stack tournament such as last year's $25,000 buy-in World Poker Tour Championship at Las Vegas' Bellagio, where the blinds were only $50-$100.

"You're not playing an event where you have $3,000 in chips," said Mizrachi, Card Player magazine's player of the year in 2006. "You have $50,000. It only costs you $100, and I'm getting so much value against every other stack if I hit it because I'll get paid off."

So, Mizrachi, holding 5-6 of diamonds, limped for the $100, as did four other players. The flop came Q-4-7, rainbow, giving Mizrachi an open-ended straight draw.

The big blind checked, as did Mizrachi. The next player bet $600. Two players folded. The big blind called, as did Mizrachi.

"I just flat-called. I wanted the other guys behind me in because I wanted to get as much value for the hand as possible," Mizrachi said.

The turn came the king of diamonds, giving Mizrachi a flush draw to go along with his open-ended straight draw.

The big blind checked. So did Mizrachi. The last player bet $1,000. The big blind folded. Mizrachi called. He was getting more than 3-1 on his money - $1,000 into a pot worth more than $3,300 - but he had 15 outs (the nine unseen diamonds to make his flush and the six non-diamond 3s and 8s that made his straight), so he was 2-1 to hit a winning card if both of his draws were good.

"It's not just the price; it's the chips he has in front of him," said Mizrachi, who plays on the Absolute Poker Web site. "I probably wouldn't have called if it was a $2,000 buy-in, but with $50,000, you can take the risk with that hand and hope and pray he bets the river."

The river came the 8 of hearts, giving Mizrachi the nut straight. He checked, as did his opponent, likely fearful of a re-raise. Mizrachi took a pot that was smaller than it might have been for all his machinations.

"I checked, trying to trap him, but he checked, too," Mizrachi said. "He made a great check. I was stuck with the nuts and didn't make any extra money."

"I don't think he put me on 5-6, but they know the way I play. I'm the kind of player who will bet you off your hand. I play a lot of hands at the early levels. I'll probably stab out at it next time."

Table talk

Under the gun: The first player to act after the blinds.

Blinds: A rotating series of forced bets before the cards are dealt, meant to ensure action; the small blind is usually half of the big blind. *

Send e-mail to srosenbloom@ tribune.com.

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