In today’s Daily Strategy, we talk to the man of the moment, Mason Pye, about spicing up your poker play with mixed games and getting outside your comfort zone.
EPT Barcelona has been a trip that Mason “pyefacepoker” Pye will never forget. The PokerStars Team Pro has caught up with friends, met many of his peers, and played some mixed games at an EPT festival for the first time.
Oh, and he won his maiden live title for more than €17,000. We probably should have mentioned that.
Pye’s day-to-day grind takes place on his Twitch channel where he streams mixed games to the masses as leader of the Mixed Games Movement. But this year he’s branched out by playing more live poker, and this weekend he’s been rewarded.
If Pye is broadening his horizons with brick and mortar poker, perhaps it’s time you broadened yours by trying out different poker variants other than no limit hold’em.
Here’s Pye with some advice for anyone hoping to expand their poker play with mixed games.
Variety is the spice of life
I feel like when people play no limit hold’em online, they can go into auto-pilot mode a lot of the time and perhaps they’re not always making the best decisions.
But in mixed games, you always have to be on the ball. The games change, you have to remember dead cards, this that and the other.
Mixed games are just so much fun. When you try new games for the first time you’re always a bit intrigued, wondering how you can get better. Mixed games are a great way to try new things within poker. I’d love to see more people get involved. The games are fantastic.
In hold’em, there’s a lot of folding. Got a bad hand? Fold. But in these games–especially stud games–you’ve always got to be on the ball because it could fold around to you and you can come in for a steal with a hand that you’d never have the intention of playing. So you’re always in the mix. You’ve always got to be focused. Sometimes in hold’em people play hands because they’re bored. But in mixed, you’re always getting in pots and split pots.
What’s holding people back?
I think everyone’s first introduction to poker is hold’em. That’s the game most people play, they see it on TV and think oh, I should play that. You never really see a stud game on TV. Maybe during the WSOP for the $50K Poker Players Championship, but even that’s not going to appeal to everyone.
Maybe we need to make it more mainstream. With WCOOP coming up, we’ve got some fun streams planned. I’ll be commentating on the 8-Game Championship with James [Hartigan] and Joe [Stapleton] and hopefully, that will get some new eyes on the games. I hope people enjoy it and find it interesting.
I also wish there was more content out there. I’m one of the few people who put mixed games content out on Twitch and I really want them to grow with more streamers. We’ve taken a massive step with James and Joe bringing me on for the live cards-up coverage during WCOOP.
Common mistakes people make when transitioning from hold’em to mixed games
I think the biggest mistake people make when transitioning to mixed games is trying to learn all of the games at once. They try to juggle them all at the same time, but really you should focus on one game and learn all the rules and get your strategy pinned down. Then you can move on to the next one.
The most natural transition is from hold’em to PLO as you just add two cards. Then you might want to look at the split-pot games like PLO8. Then transition into stud games, with the draw games last. The mechanics of draw games are completely different. There’s no flop, turn, or river, and you don’t see any exposed cards.
If you try to learn them all at once you’re going to get overwhelmed.
On taking shots in live mixed games tournaments
In terms of the EPT schedule, mixed games events are probably the cheapest. They’re not the most popular format, and they’re not going to attract the biggest crowds, but they’re usually at a really nice price point.
When you play mixed games tournaments online, there are so many more tough regs, especially when you play the WCOOPs and SCOOPS. You see all the online crushers: Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser, Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes”, “Chillolini”, “_sennj_”, and so on.
When you play mixed games live you’re going to get people from all backgrounds, many coming from a no limit hold’em background. Maybe they’ve busted a no limit tournament or they just want to try something new. We welcome all of those players and we try to make it a pleasurable experience.
I don’t get to do this often. EPTs don’t come around often. Mixed game EPT events don’t come around that often. So you’ve just got to fire any time the opportunity presents itself.
Who Pye learns from
There aren’t many mixed games study resources out there, so what I really love doing is watching the final table replays with GJReggie [Georgina James] on the PokerStars Twitch channel during the COOPs. I learn a lot there. I’m reviewing and commentating on them, but I’m also going ‘oh wow’ when I see plays that surprise me.
Obviously, there are individuals I speak to who I learn from too. I speak to Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes a lot, Benny “RunGodLike” Glaser, and a lot of the Norwegians–it’s just in their blood to be good at mixed games. I try to pick all of their brains when I can. I’m very thankful that these guys have come on my stream and given advice.
I don’t want to plug myself but tune in to my channel for free mixed games content, and post in my Discord. You can run hands through the hand replayer and we’ll discuss it with the community.
There aren’t many tools, but if you look in the right places, you’ll find them.
Catch up on all of our Daily Strategy articles from EPT Barcelona: