How do we give mixed games a shot in the arm?

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We chat to friend of PokerStrategy Robbie Strazynski about to make mixed games more visible and his new upcoming added value HORSE event.

Robbie Strazynski

The numbers don’t lie, when online rooms or live tours have mixed game events the turnouts are always relatively small – why are mixed games less popular these days?

Robbie Strazynski: My hunch is that it’s because mixed games have always been something akin to an afterthought on tournament schedules, or at best an appetizer/dessert vis a vis the main course of Texas Hold’em. To the best of my knowledge there’s never been an entire festival/event series specifically dedicated towards and focused on mixed game play. To a degree, perhaps it’s a chicken-egg problem; perhaps if more industry efforts and resources were devoted to promoting mixed game play, we’d see more people turning up to the felt?

What can the industry do to give mixed games a shot in the arm?

Robbie Strazynski: In a nutshell, “more mixed games are better”. The more we see mixed games broadcast on TV and live streams, reported on via poker media sites, and offered as part of tournament series (live and online), the more likely people are to take interest. It would be great to see poker rooms promoting and spreading low-stakes mixed game cash tables rather than only at higher or nosebleed stakes. It won’t happen overnight though; it takes a sustained effort to garner and maintain player interest.

To our audience who might never have played anything but No Limit, why should they play mixed games?

Robbie Strazynski: Variety is the spice of life! Folding 85%+ of your hands gets really old after a while. Changing the poker variant once an orbit, as in Dealer’s Choice cash games, keeps you on your toes. Plus, most mixed games are played limit, meaning you likely won’t run the risk of blowing your entire bankroll in one hand. You can often sit on the same $100 or $200 starting stack for hours in a $4/8 mixed game! Plus, the mixed game ambience tends to be far more animated and social.

A $30k PSPC for a $200 HORSE tournament

Tell us about your upcoming Mixed Games Festival, how did it come about?

Robbie Strazynski: I first conceived the idea back in November 2019. After some additional brainstorming with Mark Selby (former poker room manager at Westgate, where I had spontaneously organized some mixed games in summers prior) and Rebecca McAdam and Moya Wilson at PokerStars, with whom I’ve worked on a number of projects over the years, the final shape and structure of the festival took hold. On March 10, 2020 I was 24 hours away from announcing that the festival would be taking place from June 1-4, 2020… and I was finally able to make the big announcement in mid-July 2021. This dream has been on hold for a LONG time, and I’m elated to see it finally materialize.

What can anyone playing expect from the event?

Robbie Strazynski: You can expect a fun-filled ambience and to get fantastic value for your money! We’ll be having a free fruit/salad bar throughout cash game play. We’ll also be staging two book signings, with Dylan Linde (author of D&B Poker’s Mastering Mixed Games) and Eli Elezra (signing his autobiography that I translated from Hebrew to English, Pulling the Trigger), with all proceeds being donated to charity (the Westgate Resorts Foundation). Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson and Women in Poker Hall of Famer Jan Fisher will be conducting a mixed games Q&A session.

Plus, we’ll be giving out lots of free swag and merchandise throughout all four days of the festival. Basically, you can expect to have a fantastic time!

Robbie Strazynski
The Mixed Games Festival

Tell us about the unique way you can get extra chips for the Main Event.

Robbie Strazynski: Players who just enter the $200 HORSE tournament on Thursday October 7 will start with 10,000 chips. For every five hours of cash game play you log on the prior three days, from October 4-6, you’ll earn 2,000 extra chips, up to a maximum tournament starting stack of 20,000.

You have a $30,000 PSPC pass for the $200 Main Event – surely that makes this the mixed game event with the biggest relative ROI in poker history?

Robbie Strazynski: You’re damn right it does!

If you are heading to Vegas for the WSOP you might want to find out more about the Mixed Games Festival.