Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets
Wsopbanner

Poker Stories Podcast With Sorel Mizzi

by Card Player News Team |  Published: May 23, 2018

Print-icon
 

Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Age: 33
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Live Tournament Earnings: $11.8 Million

Top Five Tournament Scores

Date Tournament Place Winnings
June 2007 Asia Millions Super High Roller 3rd $2,073,868
Feb. 2014 Aussie Millions 2nd $895,500
May 2013 EPT Grand Final Super High Roller 3rd $878,484
Jan. 2015 PCA Super High Roller 4th $659,400
Jan. 2010 Aussie Millions 3rd $638,004

Sorel Mizzi was, at one point, the top ranked online poker player in the world. After turning his attention to live tournament poker, Mizzi continued to thrive, scoring wins on the European Poker Tour, and at the Borgata Spring Poker Open, Festa al Lago, and Wynn Classic, as well as high roller events at the Grand Prix de Paris, WPT Vienna and the PartyPoker Premier League. Mizzi has also done very well at the Aussie Millions, finishing 16th in 2009, third in 2010, ninth in 2011 and second in 2014.

In total, the 33-year-old Toronto native has amassed $11.9 million in live earnings, which is no. 45 on the all-time money list and no. 4 on Canada’s list, behind just Mike McDonald, WSOP main event winner Jonathan Duhamel, and of course, Daniel Negreanu. Mizzi is no stranger to controversy, and feels as though he was singled out because of his status in the poker world. However, after some “self-editing,” as he puts it, he believes his days of finding trouble are behind him.

Highlights from this interview include a family of gamers, punching Brian Rast in the face for charity, early gambling with pogs, getting berated by Phil Hellmuth, living life for the adventure, why poker players can fail math, an unhealthy online poker routine, meeting Bill Nye The Science Guy, learning to self-edit, dealing with bracelet envy, dominating down under, taking mushrooms on the moon, ‘sparring’ with Forrest Griffin, the worst ‘Hi’ of Nenad Medic’s life, high-stakes Monopoly props, betting on Ari Engel’s name, and being a LAG salesman.

The Highlights

On being ranked the no. 1 online player in the world…

“I was this guy in his room, making a lot of money, and not having any balance in life. I remember my routine consisted of rolling out of bed, going on the computer, ordering rotisserie chicken [for lunch], getting the six pack of soda, and then ordering pizza for dinner. Terrible for my health. I gained a lot of weight. I was this random kid from Toronto who was doing really well in poker. All of a sudden, I’m being recognized as the best player in the world online… and no one knew what I looked like.”

On his first experience playing with Phil Hellmuth…

“One [hand] I remember was against Phil Hellmuth. It was my first tournament in the U.S. So we were playing the $25,000 Five Diamond [World Poker Classic] and I was at his table. First time I ever played with him. He was raising quite a few hands, and I think I called a raise from the small blind with pocket nines after he raised. I played the hand pretty unconventionally. The board came A-9-2, and I led into him. Weird, right? And very suspicious. He called. Turn was an ace, and I led into him again. At this point he starts talking to himself, and he says, ‘Oh, I think I need another jack to beat you.’ The river was a jack. I wasn’t feeling super confident, but I [decided] to go all-in for about three-quarters of the pot. He ends up talking to himself and eventually calls with A-6, and I win a huge pot. That evening, he wrote in his blog. He kept referring to me as the ‘internet boy.’ ‘This internet boy is playing his hand too fast. He could have guaranteed half of my stack, but instead he went for the full thing.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, Phil Hellmuth is writing a blog about me. I don’t care if he’s calling me internet boy.’”

On making stupid prop bets…

“Roland [De Wolfe] and I bet on Ari Engel… like whether his name was Ari or not. It’s not. It’s Alan. But we bet a ridiculous amount of money on this… and he was giving me odds. That was a bad bet. That was one of the worst bets I’ve ever made. Because, I wasn’t confident, yet somehow I was standing to lose $50,000 on someone’s name. The only way someone would bet that someone’s name, isn’t their name, is if they know. But what ended up happening was Perry Friedman came out that night and we settled the bet. His given name, it turns out, was actually Ariel. His given Hebrew name. So I ended up only having to pay $5,000 of it, which I was thrilled about.” ♠