– General Information –
Eli Elezra is an Israeli professional poker player and businessman. He was born on November 24th, 1960.
Elezra has 4 WSOP gold bracelets – 3 of which are from 7-Card Stud events. He’s among the 49 players in the World Series’ history to have at least 4 bracelets.
Overall, he cashed for over $3.8 million in live tournaments during his career.
He is known for frequently appearing on classic poker TV shows such as Poker After Dark on NBC or High Stakes Poker on The Game Show Network. There, he got to battle against the biggest legends of poker in front of cameras.
Elezra was also a well-known sponsored pro on the now defunct poker site Full Tilt.
– Key Career Dates –
- c. 1999: He starts to play high buy-in poker tournaments across the United States. Although he achieves great success at the poker table, he never abandons his businesses to be a full-time professional poker player.
- 2004: He wins the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Final Day event at the Mirage Poker Showdown for $1.025 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
- 2014: He comes in second in the $100K Super High Roller at the Bellagio for $1.622 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
- 2007: He wins his first WSOP gold bracelet in the $3,000 World Championship 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo event for $198,984.
- 2007: He starts appearing on NBC’s classic poker TV show Poker After Dark.
- 2019: He wins his fourth WSOP gold bracelet in the $1,500 7-Card Stud event for $93,766.
– Eli Elezra’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Elezra’s had a truly eventful life. So much so that his successful poker career might not even be the most interesting thing about him.
He served in one of the Israeli Defense Force’s Golani Brigades. According to a bio page on the poker coaching site upswingpoker.com, he even served time in an Israeli prison for disobeying military orders. He was discharged after he sustained a leg injury in the 1982 Lebanon War.
After his time in the Israeli infantry, he moved to the US. Initially, he gutted fish in Alaska. Then, in 1988, he moved to Las Vegas. He bought a film developing business on the Strip. That store eventually became one of the most successful ones in the industry, having been the first to develop film in under 30 minutes.
Since Elezra was a wealthy businessman in Las Vegas, playing poker wasn’t too far-fetched for him. He started playing high buy-in events on a regular basis in the late 1990’s. His breakthrough moment came in 1999, when he made it to the final table in the $2,500 Limit Omaha event at the WSOP.
However, despite his achievements at the poker table, he never quit his businesses to become a “fully” professional card player. He still owns more than 20 retail businesses in Las Vegas to this day.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Elezra’s Hendon page shows $3.815 million in live tournament earnings. With that sum, he’d be number 2 on the Israel all time money list. However, for some reason, the poker database lists him as an American player – among US players, he doesn’t even make the top 200. The WSOP’s website, on the other hand, correctly marks him as Israeli.
Elezra has cashed in 104 different poker tournaments in a 23-year period.
The first recorded cash on his page is from November 1996. He finished in 7th place for $3,570 in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha event at the United States Poker Championship in Atlantic City.
As we mentioned earlier, the first major result of his was making the final table in the $2,500 Limit Omaha event at the 1999 WSOP. For years after that, most of his live tournament cashes came from World Series events – more on that later.
In July 2004, he won the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Final Day event at the Mirage Poker Showdown for $1.025 million. At the final table, he was faced with such poker greats as Tony G, John Juanda or Scotty Nguen. That is Elezra’s biggest live tournament score to date.
In March 2007, he took down a $1,000 NLHE tourney at the Bellagio for $109,125. In September 2016, he came in 2nd in a $1,675 No Limit Hold’em WSOP Circuit event, winning $105,281.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Elezra has four WSOP gold bracelets to his name so far. He’s among the 49 players in WSOP history to have at least 4 – however, he’s not the only one from Israel. His fellow Israeli Asi Moshe also has 4 World Series victories.
Elezra won his first bracelet in 2007. He took down the $3,000 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo championship for $198,984. Earlier in 2007, he made a prop bet with Barry Greenstein laying 10:1 odds that he would win a WSOP event that year. This little side action earned him $250,000 which is actually more than what he got for his tournament victory.
His second bracelet was won 6 years later, in 2013. He took down the $2,500 Limit 2–7 Triple Draw Lowball event for $173,236.
In 2015, he won the $1,500 7-Card championship and earned $112,591. Four years later, in 2019 he won the same event again, that time taking home $93,766 in first prize money. Since 3 out his 4 WSOP bracelets were won in 7-Card Stud events, we can certainly consider Elezra a specialist in that game.
Overall, Elezra has cashed in 65 World Series events for a combined $2.028 million.
Aside from his victories, he also has a second place finish in the 2018 $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better championship. He got $258,297 for that performance, which is actually more than what he got for any of his 4 first-place finishes.
He has made it in the money in the famous Main Event 3 times – in 2004, 2011, 2016. His highest ITM finish is a 107th place for $54,851 from 2011.
→ Live Cash Games ←
Elezra has appeared on classic poker TV shows such as Poker After Dark on NBC and High Stakes Poker on The Game Show Network.
He also played on Live at the Bike’s live streamed cash games in May 2018 and February 2020.
→ Online Poker ←
Eli Elezra used to be a sponsored pro on the now defunct poker site Full Tilt Poker. He even had his own high stakes H.O.R.S.E. cash table named after him.
According to the online high stakes cash game database, he lost $182,000 in a sample of 94,000 hands played on Full Tilt between March 2007 and December 2010. His most common game of choice was H.O.R.S.E.
→ Sponsorships ←
In March 2017, the autobiography of Elezra was published in Israel in Hebrew. In January 2019, Two Plus Two Publishing decided to print the English translation of the book with the title “Pulling the Trigger; The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra”. This got him into quite some trouble later.
→ Scandals ←
His alleged debts to Shaun Deeb and Cole South
Upon the English language release of his book, Elezra took to the Two Plus Two Forum to drum up some promotion with an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session. The idea was to take questions from the forum users on any subject. However, that quickly backfired.
Soon people started to inquire Elezra about his alleged unpaid debts to other famous poker pros. Initially, he denied the allegations and claimed that he always pays his debts.
However, soon after that former online poker pro Cole South posted in the thread claiming that Elezra still owes him $40,000 from a $100,000 loan he gave him in Bobby’s Room. In response, Elezra stopped answering questions.
Doug Polk covered this story in a video on his popular YouTube channel. In it, he said that he reached out to another alleged creditor of Elezra, Shaun Deeb who affirmed that Elezra owes him money as well.
To make matters worse, Two Plus Two is the company that both published Eli Elzra’s book and owns the popular poker forum as well. Therefore poker fans took issue with the disastrous book promotion thread being deleted off of the site – they felt Elezra got special protection due to the company’s own interest in selling his memoir.