Big Names Turn Out for Mixed Game Festival VI; Ari Engel Wins Main Event for WPT Voyage

Big Names Turn Out for Mixed Game Festival VI; Ari Engel Wins Main Event for WPT Voyage

Last week, CardPlayer Lifestyle hosted their sixth Mixed Game Festival. The Mixed Game Festival VI at Resorts World consisted of five days of mixed game fun, which included cash games, giveaways, and more, before culminating with a $260 buy-in H.E.R.O.S. Main Event that attracted some pretty big poker names.

Among those to attend were PokerNews very own Connor Richards, Jon Sofen, and Chad Holloway, who each wrote a bit about their experience competing in the Mixed Game streets.

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Connor Richards Plays w/ Poker Hall of Famer Eli Elezra

I got a chance to attend my third Mixed Game Festival on Nov. 27 when I ventured down to Resorts World Las Vegas to play some $4/8 Mixed. While I am not an experienced mixed game player, I do enjoy learning new games and getting a chance to play with poker legends like Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher.

I was pleasantly surprised when our mix of Badugi, Big O, Super Stud and other games was interrupted by five-time bracelet winner and high-stakes mixed game legend Eli Elezra, who took a seat to my left and threw out a straddle before scooping a Double Board Omaha pot.

Incredibly, it wasn't my first time playing with Elezra. I had a chance to play a few hands with Eli before a live reporting shift at the 2022 World Series of Poker (WSOP), this time with position on the smiling and cheerful Poker Hall of Famer. Just a few days after that surreal experience, I covered Elezra's heads-up victory over Chino Rheem in the $10,000 PLO Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship for his fifth bracelet and $611,362.

Another highlight was playing with Bruce Briggs, former host of the Top Pair Home Game Poker Podcast and a native of my hometown Salt Lake City, Utah. Briggs and I bonded as he told me about the home game scene in my home state and Scrotum, which is apparently a popular poker variant in the Mormon capital.

Jon Sofen Tries Mixed Games for the First Time

On Thursday, I attended Robbies Mixed Game Festival for the third or fourth time, and I had no intention of getting in any game. Just wanted to stop by and say hi to everyone and to support the event.

Im not a mixed-game player. Im just a boring no-limit holdem player who got talked into playing some mixed games, most of which I didnt even know how to play, for the first time. I started with $100, which lasted me about half as long as it took me to write up this blurb. Then I added on another $100 and lost that within an hour.

Despite dumping $200 to the table, I enjoyed the experience and would consider playing mixed games again in a similar laid-back low-stakes environment. Thats what the Mixed Game Festival is all about introducing poker players to new games.

If youre a mixed game player and want to see the community grow, I think its beneficial to come out and support events like this. Or, if youre like me and dont play mixed games but want to expand your horizons, this is a great way to get your feet wet without risking a bunch of money.

Chad Holloway Competes in Main Event

The $260 H.E.R.O.S. Main Event attracted an impressive 85 entrants. That meant the top 13 finishers received a piece of a $18,700 prize pool, which was juiced by a package donated by the World Poker Tour (WPT) for next years highly-anticipated WPT Voyage. Fittingly, WPT commentator Tony Dunst did the ceremonial Shuffle up and deal!

Among those in attendance were former WSOP Player of the Year Jeff Madsen, Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, and MiamiJohn Cernuto, who was fresh off winning the H.O.R.S.E. tournament at the WPT Wynn. It was a double-edged sword as all of those crushers were at my table, so it was a Table of Death, but then again, I got the chance to play against a triumvirate of legends. I can honestly say it was worth it just to hear some of the stories Johnson and Cernuto shared as I was seat right in the middle of them.

Others battling included Scott Abrams, Jeanne David, Bob Mather, Eric Lusch, TJ Reid, Marsha Waggoner, Jan Fisher, and Louise Francoeur. According to the CardPlayer Lifestyle recap, approximately 15% of the field was comprised of women, all of who received a copy of Amanda Botfelds book A Girls Guide to Poker.

In the end, it was mixed-game crusher and all-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit ring winnerAri Engel finishing as the last player standing to win a $4,858 top prize plus a $5,000 package to the WPT Voyage, which was presented by the WPTs Matt Savage. It was a bit of redemption for Engel, who back in March finished as runner-up to Cernuto in the Mixed Game Festival IV.

As for me, I made it through more than half the field, even outlasting Cernuto, but ultimately fell in 29th place after losing several big hands against Madsen.

For more on the Mixed Game Festival VI head on over to


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Yes, you can win real money at WPT Global. WPT Global also offer the chance to win seats in any number of exciting live tournaments.