A power poker trio of hope

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Thank you John Dolan, John Racener and Michael Mizrachi.

You see, a few months back we implored our players to come up with a victory in the World Series of Poker Main Event. Now, we aren’t so arrogant as to think these guys picked up our magazine at one of our great local poker rooms and were inspired by our words. But it’s been too long since the poker community in the Ante Up coverage area has had a champion to call its own, and now we like our chances. Though the November Nine’s conclusion has yet to pan out, at this point we really couldn’t ask for more. We relish our 1-in-3 odds at having a world champion. Think of it like this: You hit one in every three flops … THAT’S how close we are to crowning one of our own.

And given the enormous main event fields, to have all three of our players come from the Sunshine State is unprecedented. Not since the days when just about everybody ponying up the $10K buy-in was from Texas have this many players from one state made it to the final table.

Dolan and Racener were under-the-radar pros before all of this, each with moderate live successes. Racener, known as $JMONEY$ online, has won a few titles, including a WSOP circuit event, while Dolan has taken home victories from the Beau Rivage’s Gulf Coast Championships and Harrah’s Winter Bayou series in New Orleans.

Mizrachi is quite the opposite. Our 2010 WSOP Player of the Year is having the best WSOP of his career and still has a shot at tying Tennessee native Frank Kasella for the Series’ official POY. The Grinder has numerous World Poker Tour titles and about $10 million in career tournament earnings. If he were to win the title in the same year as winning the $50K Players Championship, it will be the greatest accomplishment ever in one WSOP, and might go down as the finest feat in poker history, with Johnny Chan’s back-to-back world titles and runner-up finish the next year as a close second.

We’ll take a quick look at our local November Nine representatives, what it was like for them en route to making history, what they’ve been doing since and what they think of each other. We’ll also give you a preview of the rest of the players at that prestigious final table.

This power trio represents a nice mix of styles and personalities, and each would do well serving as poker’s ambassador. No matter the outcome, these fine players should be proud of their run. … Ante Up certainly is. And just remember, boys, there’s still work to be done. Now go bring the title home.

Also, we are excited to announce we have added the poker rooms of Connecticut and New Jersey to our circulation and news section. Welcome aboard and we’ll see you at the tables.

Christopher Cosenza and Scott Long