Win A $1,000 Tournament Ticket To The Event Of Your Choice!

Final Table Takedown - Sorel Mizzi Applies Pressure by Always Keeping in Mind an Opponent’s Image, as Well as His Own

by Craig Tapscott |  Published: Dec 24, 2010


Sorel “Imper1um” Mizzi has amassed career tournament winnings, online and live, of more than $4.5 million. In 2010, he’s had one of the best years of his career on the live circuit. He finished third in the Aussie Millions, sixth in the PokerStars EPT Grand Final high-roller event, second in the Rendez-Vous a Paris high-roller event, second in the PokerStars EPT Tallinn high-roller event, and seventh in the WPT Foxwoods main event. Also this year, he won the Borgata Spring Poker Open no-limit hold’em event No. 4, for $170,000. Mizzi is sponsored by Titan Poker.

Event: PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up tournament
Players in the Event: 4,786
Buy-in: $200
First Prize: $149,737
Finish: First

Hand No. 1
Stacks: Sorel Mizzi – 98,984; Villain1 – 59,554; Villain2 – 209,398
Blinds: 1,500-3,000
Antes: 300
Players at the Table: 9

Key Concepts: Isolating a weak-passive player; aggressive play near the money bubble
Villain1 limps in from early position.

Craig Tapscott: What’s your read on this player?

Sorel Mizzi: I’ve determined that Villain1 is a weak-passive player. I have seen him limp in quite a bit with very marginal holdings, and I decide to raise really small from the button to try to isolate him. I’m thinking that I’ll be able to outplay him post-flop, and that he will be check-folding most flops.

Mizzi raises to 8,000 with the J♣ 7♣.

CT: At what stage of the tournament does this hand take place?

SM: This hand occurred pretty close to the money bubble.

CT: Share a bit of your ongoing thinking during a tournament. Are you always looking for players you can pick on or situations you can take advantage of when in position?

SM: In my earlier days of playing online, I’d say that I took advantage of almost every possible exploitable situation. I felt that was the easiest way to accumulate chips, and I sometimes even tried to create these situations out of thin air. Nowadays, I don’t do it as much as I used to, simply because people are more aware. Even if the specific player I’m trying to target isn’t aware of my tactics, the more experienced players at the table might see what I’m trying to do, and play back accordingly.

Villain2 calls from the big blind. Villain1 calls.

CT: What range of hands do you put Villain2 in the big blind on after he calls from out of position?

SM: Prior to this hand, I’d seen this guy call quite a few raises from the blinds. Since it’s only 5,000 more to complete to play for a pot of about 25,000, I don’t see how now would be any different. I don’t think 10-10, J-J, and Q-Q are in his range here. I feel like very marginal holdings are much more likely.

CT: And Villain1?

SM: He called very quickly. So, I can eliminate a ton of hands from his range. I feel like he would at least think about shoving most pairs and Broadway cards with that much in the middle, and considering how aggressively I have been playing, especially against him.

Flop: A♦ 6♦ 5♦ (pot: 28,200)

Villain2 checks. Villain1 bets 9,000.

CT: That seems like a weird play. If he had a big hand, he probably would’ve checked.

SM: Right. I’ve already determined that he’s a weak player and very passive. So, I don’t think he’s ever making the sophisticated play of leading with a flush, and if he had a good ace, he probably would have reshoved preflop. His line doesn’t make any sense. I feel that although he hit some piece of the flop, I’ll be able to represent better and get him off whatever he’s leading with.

Mizzi raises to 21,000.

CT: Why that bet-sizing?

SM: I raised to take control of the pot. If Villain2 happened to wake up with a real hand, I could get away from it cheaply. Also, if Villain1 calls, he will have a good excuse to fold if he doesn’t improve on the turn, since he’ll have just over 30,000 left in his stack.

Villain2 folds. Villain1 calls.

CT: Did the call by Villain1 change your mind at all about his hand strength?
SM: At this point, I still think he’s weak and believes that by calling, he will slow me down and be able to see two free cards. He also probably thinks that I would never try to bluff him when he shows so much “strength” by just calling and having so few chips behind.

Turn: 7♠ (pot: 70,200)

Mizzi moves all in.

SM: The 7 gives me some equity, which is good just in case he calls my shove, but irrelevant to my game plan, since I was already planning on shoving any turn.
Villain1 folds. Mizzi wins the pot of 70,200.

Hand No. 2

Stacks: Sorel Mizzi – 28,685,523 Villain – 19,174,477
Blinds: 150,000-300,000
Antes: 30,000
Players Remaining: 2

Key Concepts: Deep-stack heads-up play; floating a flop reraise to represent strength

SM: I have almost a 3-2 chip lead, and we are effectively more than 60 big blinds deep, which is very rare for an online multitable tournament. This hand came up early in the heads-up match.

Mizzi raises to 600,000 from the button with the 4♦ 2♦. The villain reraises to 1,800,000.

SM: Given how deep we are, I decide to call and see the flop.

Mizzi calls.

Flop: 8♠ 8♦ 6♠ (pot: 3,660,000)

SM: Before he bets, I decide that this is a really good flop to make a move on.
The villain bets 300,000. Mizzi raises to 1,450,000. The villain reraises to 3,650,000. Mizzi calls.

CT: How can you even think about calling here? What’s going through your head?

SM: I call because on this kind of flop, I think his three-bet is polarized to a hand that he wants to get all in or is complete air. I decide that air is a big part of his range, and assume that once I call his three-bet, he’s going to shut down.

CT: Please share some of the key factors that come into play when you calculate an opponent’s hand range.

SM: Well, on this type of board, almost any random player would slow-play an 8, and any opponent I’m playing heads up from a 5,000-player field is no exception. So, when I raise his bet on the flop and he three-bets me, I feel like he’s doing it with air a decent amount of the time. And I’m going to be even more confident about what he has from what he does on the turn. Every once in a while, some players will three-bet in this spot to see where they are, basically asking the question, “Do you have the 8?”

The best way for me to say, “Yes, I have the 8,” is to just call his three-bet, because that’s what the average player would do with an 8 in my spot.

Turn: J♦ (pot: 10,960,000)

The villain checks. Mizzi checks.

CT: Why the check?

SM: I turned a flush draw. I check behind now that I have equity, and don’t want to be pushed off my hand, knowing that he has to think I have something. Also, I could be taking the line of checking the turn and betting the river with a lot of big hands.

River: K♠ (pot: 10,960,000)

CT: What’s the plan now?

SM: I tell myself that the way the hand has played out, if he bets small or even three-fourths of his stack on the river, I’m moving in. But, he …

The villain shoves all in.

SM: That move left me no choice but to fold my 4 high.

Mizzi folds. The villain wins the pot of 10,960,000. ♠