Meeting the mixers

I have been back in the poker grind of late, once again living the often-hard-to-resist poker lifestyle. It makes sense, though, since I'm just back from the World Series of Poker and am presently readying for the new season of the European Poker Tour.

I only played two events this summer at the WSOP -- the $50K Poker Players Championship and the Main Event. But that was enough to whet my appetite for poker once again.

The $50K is a special event and one of my favorites to play. The 8-game mix on PokerStars has been my "bread-and-butter" game over the last few years, and so being able to play it in a tournament format is a lot of fun for me.

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One aspect of the Poker Players Championship I enjoy a lot is the way it gives me a chance to meet all of the regulars who play the 8-game on PokerStars. There aren't that many of them, really, but the 8-game format isn't one in which it's easy to "meet" opponents online. The games change quickly and there is never much "down time" like you sometimes have in no-limit hold'em. So it is always interesting to meet these guys face-to-face and talk to them in person.

It's a little sad that the 8-game doesn't have a bigger player base, but with players like Niklas Heinecker and Ben "Sauce123" Sulsky trying out the mixed games now, perhaps that will brings others in and give the 8-game a little extra push.

Players who are good at no-limit hold'em and pot-limit Omaha shouldn't be afraid to try out other games. In fact, I'm convinced successful NLHE and PLO players should be able to learn the other games really fast, because once you've developed that "poker brain" it isn't that hard to learn new variations.

Unfortunately my experience in this $50K this year wasn't as successful as it has been in the past. I cashed in the event before (finishing 16th in 2011), but this time I was out on Day 2.

It was on Day 2 that I had one huge NLHE hand versus Steve Sung who had just won the $25K 6-max. event the night before and so had late-registered the $50K. It was probably the fourth hand he played. The blinds were 500/1,000 with a 300 ante, and between us we had effective stacks of 140,000. Steve opened for 2,500 from the button, I three-bet to 8,500 from the big blind with K♠K♦, and he called.

The flop came Q♠T♠7♠ and I check-called Steve's bet of 12,400. The turn was the 3♦ and again I check-called his bet, this time for 27,000. The river then brought the 9♦ and after I checked one more time, Steve shoved all in for around 90,000 (about the size of the pot).

It was an ugly spot for sure. After I folded, Philip Gruissem came by and told me everyone is full of it after winning a tournament. I guess it's been a while since I'd won one to remember that feeling, but he's probably right!

Unfortunately the Main Event didn't go too much better for me, as I busted on Day 2 there after being a little bit too aggressive. But it was still a fun couple of weeks in Las Vegas, as I also spent time visiting Lake Mead with friends and also engaging in some paintball.

As I say I'm kind of slipping back into the poker lifestyle, although I'm still working on my culinary studies and in fact am close to doing my three-month internship in a restaurant which I'll have to do before getting my degree. In the meantime, though, I'm definitely looking forward to EPT stops in Barcelona and London.

One of the reasons I like the EPT so much is the fact that the cities often have such great restaurants. I was actually thinking about doing my internship in Barcelona -- there are so many good restaurants there -- but that probably isn't going to happen.

I guess I'll get to satisfy my appetite in a couple of different ways, then, once the EPT cranks up -- for good food and for poker!

Sebastian Ruthenberg is a member of Team PokerStars Pro