The poker superstar from South Florida who has over $6.9 million in career winnings is facing foreclosure as he owes almost $340,000 in federal taxes.
Record shows that 29-year old Mizrachi, who had a record-breaking stint during the 2005 World Poker Series, is hit by the IRS for $339,711 lien. According to court records, his Hollywood condo that he owns with his brother, Robert Mizrachi, has been foreclosed and will be sold via online Auction this Wednesday. His Miramar home has also been foreclosed and will be up for sale next week.
Mizrachi stated that the debt came from the mismanagement of his poker winnings. He said he fired his accountant and got a better one.
He said, “They were doing a bad job,” and “I’m working on settling the liens.”
Mizrachi, also known as “The Grinder,” had a hot hand during the 2005 World Poker Tour and earned him $1.85 million which tied a World Poker Series record with seven in-the-money finishes. He won another World Poker Tour the next year earning him $1.1 million along with other tournament successes. He was named player of the year by CardPlayer Magazine in 2006. However, in 2009 he only won around $325,000 in tournaments cashing only once in 2010 for $7,465. His earnings from 2005 to 2007 were for the federal tax lien.
He said he stays at home taking care of his 3 children and is now playing more online poker.
Entering a tournament usually costs $10,000 making a professional poker player look like a small business that has both expenses and overhead.
Marc Levy, a poker professional of Boynton Beach said, “If you’re in a $10,000 event every other week, that’s $240,000 just for buy-in, not to mention all your expenses. There are plenty of guys I know who do well playing poker but still go through their money."
Levy said that poker players and money have a certain ebb and flow. He also said that Mizrachi is a friends and “still a great player.”
Levy added, “All it takes is one win and you’re back on top again.”
Players also manage to get around their bets by selling off parts of themselves. For example, a backer who pays for $2,000 of a player’s $10,000 entry fee will get 20% of the winnings. Despite this, all the tax liability goes to the player. This means that while Mizrachi won $6.7 million, he said he parceled $3.7 million.
Mizrachi graduated from Hallandale High in 1999. He then went to study for medical school. Mizrachi has been playing poker since he was 15 which is underage even on cruise ships. He became a poker dealer in 2002 at the Seminole Casino Hollywood. This is where he met his wife, Aidiliy, who was also a dealer.
Back in 2003 when poker began to boom, Mizrachi was ahead of the curve with winnings of about $300,000 in 2004.
In 2005, he paid for his Miramar home in the Vizcaya neighborhood for $440,000. In March 2010, it shows that he has unpaid principal of $367,359, according to court documents.
The Hollywood condo which he and his brother paid for $310,000 back in 2005 which they used as a rental property will be sold on Wednesday via online auction.
He said, “But people weren’t paying their rent and we were advised that the best thing to do was foreclosure.” All told, $600,000 is his estimate lost in the housing market.
Both properties were assessed with less than half of their purchase price.
He said, “Obviously, I’m a better poker player than a businessman, but I’m getting better." He also added, “I’ve smartened up. We’ll be OK.”