Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The 4 Jewish Poker-Playing Brothers

This picture sorta says it all, doesn't it? That's Michael Mizrachi, 29, at the World Series of Poker table on Saturday, when he qualified for the November Nine and won himself at least $800,000. Behind him is older brother Robert, twin Eric and little bro Donny from left to right. They are the poker world's answer to the Williams sisters. Or maybe the Osmonds.

As readers of this blog well know, when I come across a human interest story that fascinates me, I mine and mine and mine it until there's nothing left. That is, of course, how I pay the bills. So expect more from me on these guys, but below is the top of my piece for a very popular Jewish-interest web magazine, TabletMag.Com, that posted today that must be, as of now, the definitive story on these guys. But you can hear the whole interview with their mother -- and trust me, it is absolutely amazing -- by clicking here or right-clicking here to download it and hear it at your leisure. If you already picked it up when it posted Sunday, I apologize for the audio error and promise this version works great.

Full House
Michael Mizrachi and his three brothers are observant Jews
and champion poker players


The boys were being irksome and unruly on that night 20 years ago. As their mother and her friends were playing gin rummy late into the evening, they ran wild around the table, announcing to the room what cards the women had in their hands, until, finally, they were banished to their bedrooms. With that, the house grew quiet. Susan Laufer Mizrachi had proved she could control her brood.

Except that, as anyone with young sons knows, silence is a good clue something’s up. And sure enough, at 3 a.m., when Susan’s friends went home and she checked on her four sons, then aged 4 to 12, she found them playing their own card games and keeping track of their accumulating debts to one another on pieces of paper that she still has.

“Their father would say, ‘Look what you’re doing to these kids, you’re playing cards every night and they’re just gamblers,’ ” she recalled. “And I said, well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Two decades later, those apples have grown into a quartet of Jewish card sharks who have taken Las Vegas by storm.

Read the rest at TabletMag.Com