Robbie Strazynski Supporting Grassroots Poker Via Mixed Game Festival VII

CardPlayer Lifestyle, a lifestyle poker media brought to life years ago by friendly poker journalist Robbie Strazynski, is about to host its seventh edition of the Mixed Game Festival at the luxurious Resorts World Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas from February 25-29, 2024.

The Mixed Game Festival VII will boast two tournaments including the $300 Omaha 8/Stud 8 tournament on Monday, February 26, and a $300 HEROS tournament on Thursday, February 29. If you are wondering what HEROS stands for, it is the same rotating games in HORSE albeit in a different order: limit hold’em (H), stud hi-lo (E), razz (R), limit Omaha h/l (O), and stud (S).

To add to the fun, the festival’s largest sponsor in PokerStars will be adding a NAPT package valued at $3,000 to the winner of the HEROS event. This is on top of the many promotions throughout the festival by PokerStars and other valued sponsors.

Of course, mixed cash tables will be running nonstop at Resorts World throughout the five days with limits for the limit games as low as $4/$8 and $8/$16, with higher stakes available upon request. There are fun activities planned including a pizza party and a trivia contest. In other words, this is the perfect festival for recreational mixed game players to have a chance to mingle and play poker with some of the biggest names in poker and is a perfect time to learn mixed games if you have yet to dabble.

Resorts World couldn’t be more thrilled to host for the fifth time in the festival’s relatively short history.

“Resorts World Poker Room is very happy to welcome back Cardplayer Lifestyle’s Mixed Game Festival once again. Our first-class dealers are excited for mixed game players to fill our room for an engaging fun-filled week of exhilarating dealer’s choice play. Beyond the cash games, we have no doubt that players will enjoy our O/E and H.E.R.O.S. tournaments on the schedule” said Leon Wheeler, Director of Poker Operations at Resorts World Las Vegas.

Strazynski was recently at the 888Live UK Poker League festival at Grosvenor Casino Edinburgh when we had a chance to catch up with him to learn more about the festival.

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It All Began With a Hunger for Vegas

Strazynski is a well-known poker media journalist focusing on the lifestyle aspects of the game we know and love as can be evidenced by the title of his poker outlet CardPlayer Lifestyle. He spent three summers with the fantastic poker production team at PokerGO producing bios for the commentators and content and was hungry to go back. However, Strazynski is a family man. Lucky for him, his wife and family are supportive of his endeavors but his wife Miriam gave him the push he needed without likely realizing it for the Mixed Game Festival to take its roots at Westgate Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.

“I worked three summers for the PokerGO bio team for poker productions during 2017-2019, during the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event, and it was great was a wonderful two-week gig,” Strazynski said to PokerPro.cc. “Then after three summers, I told Miriam I was ready to move on. It’s been a great experience and don’t think I can add to that and I don’t want to do it again. Miriam said that I better figure out a way to make money if I want to go back to the World Series.”

After some thought, Strazynski then had the light bulb appear over the top of his head with a fantastic idea he had years ago after witnessing mixed games pop up spontaneously, and through this initial thought, he found his niche for the Mixed Game Festival to help support his journey on supporting grassroots poker while also satisfying his urge to be in Vegas during the WSOP.

Strazynski had some experience in organizing games as before the festival came to life he organized an impromptu informal mixed-game meet-up with some poker players and media alike which attracted two tables. Players had fun and enjoyed free pizza at the house with PokerStars already stepping it up before the real festival began. Strazynski approached Westgate, where he often played mixed games, and they were interested in being the gracious first host of the Mixed Game Festival.

The pandemic created tricky moments for everyone around the world but Strazynski found an opening and hosted his first Mixed Game Festival at Westgate in October 2021. Originally, Robbie was planning to announce the festival in March 2020, but this is when the world was turned upside down. However, Strazynski had to patiently wait to launch his festival for about a year and a half.

Players responded enthusiastically as did Strazynski’s partners with PokerStars generously contributing a Platinum Pass valued at $30,000 and other sponsors giving away other valuable prizes throughout the week. Many big names were in attendance with the 2004 WSOP Main Event champion Greg “Fossilman” Raymer winning the HORSE event to claim the Platinum Pass in style.

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Match Made in Heaven at Resorts World

Strazynski had a festival under his belt at the Westgate and the experience that comes along with it. Although the Westgate event was an overall success with 124 players, Strazynski was looking at where he could provide the most value to players and to hosts who would most benefit from the added value the Mixed Game Festival provides.

In came Resorts World, which recently opened and Strazynski found a match made in heaven.

“I went to check out Resorts World on a trip to Las Vegas, which had started just open that summer,” Strazynski said. “I realized that they have a regular mix game like the notorious nosebleed ones. Instead of only high limits, they had an $8/$16 going. I was like, ‘Maybe this is the place, right?’ It quickly became clear to me that that was a that was the place that in my view, certainly was the mixed game hub of Las Vegas, but I’d go even further and say the best mixed game venue in the world and they have $8/16, $80/$160, $300/$600, etc. regularly. I’m talking basically daily, if not five, six times a week, all those games. All the dealers knew all the games, and they were relatively new on the scene. Also, they’re eager to sort of make their mark and carve out their niche. Resorts World liked this idea of the Mixed Game Festival, and we see the value, Robbie and we like the idea of having an additional event that has our name on it and your association with your brand. It’s been a match made in heaven in that sense, and I’m happy to keep going back to them.”

Second Event in Malta

Strazynski realized he was onto something and decided to expand the concept to Europe. He was the host of the HORSE event at the Malta Poker Festival which this author attended.

This author got to lock horns in a HORSE event with players from around the globe with the budding mixed-game community in Malta coming out in full force in both the tournament and the cash game running for days on end. I made sure to get a seat next to Strazynski during one of the cash games to catch up with an old friend and congratulate him on creating something of value to the poker community. I was impressed with the giveaways including t-shirts handed to everyone playing and Strazynski bringing a bit of the US-style of mixed games to Malta.

Wouter, Jason, Robbie, and Martin playing mixed games

Players in Malta were typically used to playing pot-limit dealer’s choice games. Those ran as well, but multiple fixed-limit cash games were running which was a first for at least this author who has been to Malta many times over the past decade.

While I bombed the tournament, I had some fun and made some money playing cash games. Strazynski went out of his way to speak with as many of the players are possible to learn more about them while also making them feel at home in the fun environment he created. That being said, Strazynski found plenty of time to play himself and made the most of the only trip outside the United States thus far for the Mixed Game Festival. I also had fun locking horns with many I respect including Sviten Special author Martin Smith, who now hosts an informative mixed-game podcast.

Strazynski doesn’t have any immediate plans to return to Malta but did enjoy his experience even if there were things he learned that he would do slightly differently in the future.

The Mixed Game Festival in Malta was unique and memorable,” shared Strazynski. “It was an honor to have my logo on the walls of the auditorium where the event was held next to like partypoker and many other big-name sponsors. There was so much added value beyond just the money.” 

What to Expect During Mixed Game Festival VII

The Mixed Game Festival will be returning to Resorts World for the fifth time in its seven-event history from Feb. 25-29. The festival will center around the two mixed game tournaments mentioned in the intro as well as cash games running nonstop at stakes most recreational players will find affordable. Of course, there will be bigger games as well with many big names expected to drop by.

However, some will attend the Mixed Game Festival more out of curiosity, and they are more than welcome. Players will take time out to explain the games as the mixed game poker community is eager to teach others how to join in on the fun.

This isn’t enough for Strazynski as he will continue to create fun throughout the five days of mixed poker action. A pizza party kicks things off on Feb. 25 with a poker trivia contest taking place two days later on Feb. 27.

However, female players should mark Feb. 28 on their calendar as Strazynski shared that with the help of the founder of the Women’s Poker Association Lupe Soto the concept of Women’s Wednesday powered by LIPS will come to life. Legendary poker players in Hall of Famer Linda Johnson and Women in the Poker Hall of Famer Jan Fisher will be taking time out of their busy schedules to teach Omaha h/l and Razz before forming breakout tables and micro-stakes cash games to help reinforce the training. This is a unique opportunity for any woman curious about mixed games to get involved and the best part of it all is that the session is free for women to attend.

Plenty of free merchandise will be available during the festival thanks to its generous partners in PokerGO, RunGoodGear, D&B Poker Publishing, BBO Poker Tables, and Faded Spade Playing Cards with the biggest value-add coming from PokerStars thanks to adding a $3,000 to a NAPT stop. This means last year’s NAPT in Las Vegas wasn’t a blip on the chart as it appears if we connect the dots that PokerStars will host more live events in North America.

  • Flight to the NAPT stop from any North American airport
  • One $550 buy-in to a non-Hold’em tournament during the NAPT
  • 4 nights accommodation at the hosting venue

Meanwhile, Pokercoaching.com stepped it up and will be awarding two one-year premium service packages valued at $1,750 to each of the players wearing a Pokercoaching patch that lasts the longest during each of the two mixed-game tournaments during the Mixed Game Festival VII.

CardPlayer Lifestyle will be highlighting all the action in a daily recap with one player selected each day as the Pokercoaching.com Player of the Day. Poker.org will also be providing videos, interviews, and more across their social media channels, while here at PokerPro.cc we will update you with the fun and excitement after the conclusion of what promises to be an amazing event.

PokerPro.cc wishes all players the best of luck and more importantly to have fun at the Mixed Game Festival VII at Resorts World on Feb. 25-29.

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