Eli Elezra Biography

Born: Jerusalem, Isreal on November 24, 1960
Tournament Winnings: $1,640,149
WSOP Bracelets: 1
WPT Titles: 1

If you asked Eli Elezra who he was, he would not mention poker player first even though he can be frequently found in the Big Game at the Bellagio with many of the other big cash game players. Elezra was an Israeli soldier before a leg injury forced him to retire from the military. He moved to Alaska and spent a few years there working hard and eventually purchasing a convenience store.

His brother went to Las Vegas in 1988 and returned with tales of major business opportunities. Elezra was soon off to Vegas and he invested in a shop on the Vegas strip for $300,000 that did one-hour film development. In addition, he found another investment opportunity in technology that would speed up the film development process to 30 minutes and business boomed. At the same time, Elezra would run next door to the Stardust Casino to get in some games of poker. He struggled in the beginning but he loved the game. While increasing his business footprint in Vegas (which currently consists of 20 retail shops and the Las Vegas nightclub "Seven"), Elezra also improved his poker play.

While his success at the cash games improved, he didn't make a major splash on the tournament scene until 2004 when he won the World Poker Tour's Mirage Poker Showdown in August for a cash worth $1,024,574. He followed that with numerous cashes, a second place finish at the Showdown's Heads Up tournament in '06 worth $83k where he lost to David Singer and a win at the Bellagio Friday/Saturday tournament in March '07 worth $109k.

In addition to that success, Elezra was part of "The Corporation". This was the group of poker players that took billionaire Andy Beal for just over $47 million during a series of trips to Vegas to play the best poker pros heads up.

Elezra does not consider himself a gambler - he never plays Blackjack, roulette or any of the other games of chance available in Vegas. However, he became famous for a series of side bets he made during the '07 World Series of Poker. During a discussion, Elezra contended that the difficulty of winning a WSOP bracelet was at its highest level due to the larger fields. Many poker pros disagreed and Elezra offered 5-to-1 odds on winning a WSOP bracelet in '07. Many of the pros took him up on the offer including Phil Ivey who bet him $100,000. In addition to Ivey, Elezra took on 13 side bets varying in size from $50 to $100k each with pros including Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, David Benyamine, Barry Greenstein and Brandon Adams to name a few.

In addition to those side bets, Elezra got 10-to-1 odds on himself winning a WSOP bracelet in a side bet with Barry Greenstein. By the end of the '07 WSOP, Eli had his first ever WSOP bracelet after winning the 24th event (7-Card Stud Hi/Lo World Championship) for $198,984, an additional $250,000 from Greenstein and $750,000 in side bet winnings as no one who bet him won a bracelet.

Of all the things mentioned, Elezra still would not mention any of these things first if you asked him who he was as he is a proud family man with a wife, Hila, and 5 children.