Robbie Strazynski learned poker at a kitchen table with his father and grandfather, playing all kinds of games.
Years later, he came to Las Vegas and found a plethora of tables but most importantly only one game available: No-limit Hold’em, the format made popular by the World Series of Poker on ESPN.
“I’m like ‘Where are the mixed games?’” Strazynski said.
Years later, he found his solution: do it yourself.
Strazynski is hosting the Mixed Game Festival, a celebration of all variations of poker besides No-limit Hold’em, until Thursday at the Westgate poker room. The festival ends with a $ 200 buy-in HORSE tournament Thursday at noon that includes a Platinum Pass to next year’s PokerStars Players Championship valued at $ 30,000.
(HORSE is a rotation of five poker games – Limit Hold’em, Omaha High-Low, Razz, Seven-card Stud, and Seven-card Stud High-Low.)
Mixed games can be found in Las Vegas, but usually only at high stakes inaccessible to most recreational poker players.
Eli Elezra, a quadruple winner of the WSOP event, has played mixed games in Las Vegas since 1987 and was at Westgate on Tuesday supporting Strazynski, a fellow Israeli who made the English translation of Elezra’s autobiography.
Elezra said mixed games offer the antidote to No-limit Hold’em games filled with silent professionals wearing sunglasses and listening to their headphones.
“Mixed games are fun people,” Elezra said. “We are sitting, we are laughing together, we are talking.”
Elezra and WSOP announcer Norman Chad joined the low-stakes entertainment in the $ 4- $ 8 cash games at Westgate, where players took turns choosing which game to play, changing all eight hands.
“You could win tens of dollars! Strazynski laughs.
He said he gambled for 16 hours on Monday and broke even, never going up or down more than $ 100. Two tables ran into the early hours of Tuesday morning, and they were back Tuesday afternoon.
The Mixed Game Festival has been in the works for two years for Strazynski, founder of the CardplayerLifestyle.com website (not affiliated with Las Vegas-based Card Player Magazine). The event was originally scheduled for July 2020 but was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic.
Strazynski, a relentlessly positive poker booster on social media, cried as he finally thought he had the chance to bring his home gaming atmosphere to Las Vegas.
“I live and breathe this game,” he said. “I’m not a professional, but I found a way to make it my life.