Philadelphia poker pro Chris Klodnicki finished second in the Poker Players Championship at the World Series of Poker on Thursday winning nearly 4897,000, the biggest cash of his career.
Klodnicki lost to Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi, of Miramar, Fla., in heads-up play. Mizrachi, who won the same event in 2010 and now has three WSOP bracelets, collected more than $1.45 million.
The Poker Players Championship is considered by many poker professionals to be the most prestigious event at the WSOP. Because of the event’s steep $50,000 buy-in and the challenge of having to play eight variants of poker, it attracts an elite field of competitors. This year, there were 108 entrants, including poker Hall of Famers Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson.
Klodnicki was gracious in finishing second tweeting:
Thanks to everyone for the supportive tweets and texts. It really means alot to me. Gonna keep trying to win that elusive bracelet…
Huge congrats to @TheGrinder44. He played super tough short handed and has achieved an amazing accomplishment winning this tourney twice
Klodnicki battled his way through a difficult field at the Rio casino in Las Vegas to get into three-way play that included Mizrachi and highly regarded pro Andy Bloch, who won a championship earlier in the current WSOP. Klodnicki eliminated Bloch in limit hold’em but even with that win, the Philly-area pro trailed Mizrachi in chips by nearly a 2-to-1 margin as heads-up began.
For the rest of the way, Mizrachi nibbled away at Klodnicki’s stack. As the Grinder lived up to his nickname and methodically attacked Klodnicki, no single Mizrachi win seemed to be devastating but they took a cumulative toll on the Lehigh University grad’s melting chip towers.
When the final hand was played, Mizrachi’s chip lead stood at about 15-to-1 and although Klodnicki was dealt a solid starting hand in Omaha hi/low 8-or-better that included As-2s, Mizrachi turned a straight. On the river, Klodnicki saw a flush draw fail and his Ace counterfeited on the low giving Mizrachi the hand and the title.
In finishing second, Klodnicki, a rabid Philly sports fan, added to an already impressive year so far. In December, he won an event in the Epic Poker League for more than $801,000.
Photo: Chris Klodnicki (right), Michael Mizrachi (left). Courtesy World Series of Poker & Poker News.