Michael Mizrachi’s first Poker Players Championship was nothing short of a dream for the poker pro, but it also served as one of his worst nightmares. His win however, was bittersweet, finally earning him his first bracelet.

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Three years ago, Mizrachiwas hungry for his first World Series of Poker bracelet and was wooed to play at the tournament by the scent of the $1.55 million first prize. As he progressed to the final table, he was a nervous wreck, and the sheer pressure of winning a bracelet, coupled with his recent failures, left the man wound up and snappy. Mizrachi has his brothers to thank, as they got him to calm down and settle down to his element and win the game. If you wonder how he managed that, the answer will leave you more surprised that convinced. During one of his breaks at the tournament, Mizrachi’s brother Mike Matusow took him outside to put him through a quick heart thumping emergency exercise. He was asked to do some push-ups and some jumping jacks. The result was marvelous; Mizrachi was a calm man ready for his final showdown against Vladimir Schmelev.

Considering what he had to go through the first time around, his second Poker Championship title three years later at Rio was a breeze. If anyone needed a quick workout, it would have been his seven competitors. They seemed absolutely lost in comparison to Mizrachi’s calm demeanor.

Mizrachi walked into the final day of the tournament, and for the first time in history, transformed an otherwise slow 15-hour game into a 5-hour massacre. His opponents fell like sticks against his rocky self, as he plundered his way to his $1.45 million prize money and his second Chip Reese Trophy. Mizrachi was beaming when asked about his win. He said, “Wherever I would have finished, it would have been respectable because I already won this title before. Now to win it, it’s just beyond that. I just can’t believe I won it twice.”

What makes Mizrachi a one-of-a-kind poker hero? A poker player normally would see himself take 10 to 20 years before he would ever get a chance to repeat his Poker Players Championship win. However, for Mizrachi, the win was just three years apart in a career graph that spanned just seven years. The Poker Players Championship is considered a ‘Kings’’ tournament, with its mix of eight games that can be rightfully considered a title fit for professionals.

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