Nine Months in the Making, ‘Galfond’ is the Future Poker Hall of Famer’s Latest Pride and Joy

When Phil Galfond put out notice promoting the debut episode of his four-part docuseries simply titled Galfond, the poker legend called it “The best content we’ve ever made.”

You’ll find no arguments here. This is a must-watch for any poker fan.

The best content we’ve ever made starts airing on my YouTube channel this Friday 👀 pic.twitter.com/vb0Hp3nrUl

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) June 25, 2024

Galfond was originally hesitant to undertake the nine-month project, but with the encouragement of his wife Farah, Galfond’s co-star in the series and life, the idea became a reality.

“I’ve been asked many times to share some behind-the-scenes, day-in-the-life type content, and I’ve always resisted – not because I’m uncomfortable, but because I didn’t think it would be interesting,” said Galfond in the series’ press release.

“This time, it was my wife pushing me, so I said yes! As it turns out, I was wrong. Farah, (director and producer) John Irwin, and (producer) Miikka Anttonen showed me how much story I had to tell, and I was blown away by the four episodes John put together.”

Phil Galfond Farah Galfond

While the series was released in four parts on YouTube, make no mistake; this is a high-end docuseries, not a vlog.

“If you’ve followed my career closely, about half of the show will be an enjoyable inside perspective on things you know about me, while the other half will cover stories I’ve never shared publicly.”

So, with that said, Let’s get into what each episode brings to the table.

Episode 1: Who Is This Guy?

For the few out there who may not be familiar with the poker legend and shoo-in Hall of Famer, the 39-year-old founder of Run It Once Training spends part of the 14-minute debut episode entitled “Who is This Guy?” introducing himself with the help of his friends and peers like Andrew Robl, Brian Rast, and Jason Koon, along of course with his wife Farah, Galfond’s co-star in the series and life.

Following its release, Galfond said on social media that the debut episode is his least favorite because of the time used to scene-set. However, the outstanding production value makes it and all four episodes shine.

Thanks for all the kind words on this episode! Several people put in a lot of hard work.

TBH, the first episode is my least favorite of them all because we had to do some stage-setting for those who don’t know me.

We’ll be going a lot deeper next Friday! https://t.co/hFP2UWcD78

— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) June 29, 2024

Those intricately familiar with Galfond’s early days in poker will appreciate the debut episode’s clips of a young Galfond taking the World Series of Poker by storm, confounding opponents on Poker After Dark, and a couple of peeks at Galfond, Robl, and the rest of their ‘Ship it Holla Ballas’ crew. Galfond’s unintended transformation from online wizard to poker ambassador (or ‘oracle’ as Joe Stapleton refers to him) is also a topic of discussion that’s well covered.

Those looking for those rare glimpses into his and Farah’s home life will see touching moments with each other and their son, Spencer, shots of Phil working away at his kitchen table before 5:30 a.m., and other unique moments such as Phil pacing to break the monotony of sitting at his desk to work. If you’re on a call with Galfond, he’s likely doing laps around the house!

Phil Galfond with Spencer

Phil with his son Spencer

This all leads to a staple of any good bite-sized series, the next episode tease.

The episode reaches its pinnacle as Galfond begins discussing the challenges he faced with his Run It Once online poker site, closing with the statement “And then things kind of spiraled out of control.”

Fade to black.

Episode 2: A Bad Day

We’re not going to spoil anything here, but the title of this episode is a massive understatement.

Without giving too much away, we can tell you that the second episode focuses on the struggles of Galfond’s venture into online poker with the Run It Once poker site.

A quote from Galfond inside the episode sums up just how deep the issues went with RIO poker.

“By the end of this, I had essentially lost everything”

Yup, it was that bad and worse.

The episode is primarily shared with his co-founder of the site, Dan Quinn, along with Farah. Her perspective of the time along with a reaction to a part of the story that she’d never heard before are incredibly emotional and revealing.

Farah Galfond

The amount of effort Galfond and his team put into first launching the site, then keeping it afloat, and then ultimately selling is truly incredible, and to hear the whole story from Galfond and those close to him is genuinely amazing.

Honestly, if you’ve ever thought about springing for YouTube Premium to avoid those annoying ads that pop up at the most inopportune times, getting it for this episode alone might just be worth it. Hearing Pete Davidson welcome me into the ball-bershop while Galfond was discussing how deep in financial trouble he was incredibly intrusive.

A full watch straight through without interruption is worth it for the real-life drama of this episode.

Episode 3: Conquered

After the incredible drama and tension of the second episode, it’s more drama in Episode 3, but with a lot more excitement and the happiest of endings.

It focuses on Galfond’s incredible comeback victory in his Galfond Challenge against ‘Venividi1993’.

As a quick refresher, during the middle of 2020 during the pandemic, Galfond played a series of online heads-up PLO matches on Run It Once Poker, with his match against online legend Venividi, the unquestioned highlight of the series.

Phil Galfond

After seeing the dejection and strife that he went through in the previous episode, seeing his, Farah’s, and others’ elation at his eventual victory is very satisfying to watch and a helluva palate cleanser after episode 2.

The episode is filled with friends and colleagues discussing the impact of the match, not just for the result, but the Challenge itself during a dark time for the entire world, let alone poker.

It discusses the massive swings of not just the match, but of the perception of Galfond by viewers of the challenge.

READ MORE: Top 10 Takeaways from the Galfond Challenge

Galfond says of his dramatic triumph over Venividi, “I’ve won three WSOP bracelets and this trumped those experiences and the feeling of victory of those by a mile.”

This episode is truly an outstanding way to relive one of the most incredible on-the-felt stories in poker history.

Episode 4: The Next Challenge

So, what’s next for the Galfonds?

That’s what the concluding episode focuses on as Phil and Farah discuss their current lives, much as they did in the first episode.

For now, Farah is the more regular poker player in the family as she’s gone from mid- to high stakes and is now a tournament player, playing them exclusively in 2023.

My 2024 WSOP results:

Unique tournaments: 11
Rebuys: 4
Total buy-in’s:
$29,131

Cashes: 4
$22, 612

For a loss of a new Chanel bag:
-$6,519

I wanted to play more than 11 but so goes it when you’re a MOTHER.

Episode 4 of Galfond out tomorrow.

♥️

— Farah Galfond (@Farah_Galfond) July 18, 2024

Her rise on the felt along with her personal thoughts on why she moved to tournaments is the latest cool insight into their life as poker parents.

As for Phil, he says he wants to come back to playing poker more and he will once he has more time, but for now, his expanded coaching role is the most satisfying poker-related activity in his life.

Phil Galfond

That guy who crushed every online and live poker event in sight is still there, but his work-life balance has him in a good place in life.

It doesn’t mean that there’s no poker playing for Phil Galfond. He just appreciates the opportunities to play more when he gets them.

Oh, and their son Spencer… Well, you’ll see that poker may well be in his future, too, as he already has some serious math skills to get a head start in that area of the game… and he’s only five years old!

Conclusion: The Galfond Docuseries is a Stellar Must-Watch

To echo my sentiments from the top of this review, this is an absolute must-watch for any poker fan.

Whether you’re well in the know about Phil Galfond’s rich history in the game or if his is a story you’re interested in learning more about, ‘Galfond’ is a brilliant look into one of poker’s most important and well-loved figures.

The access to their lives that Phil and Farah Galfond provided for this series gives viewers an in-depth and private look at them on par with the best of reality-based shows, without any manufactured drama.

The drama is all real and fulfills the promise of a look at Galfond’s life like you’ve never seen before.

Balancing out the dives into those dramatic times is the genuine love shown throughout, which illustrates the happiness surrounding Phil and Farah’s lives with their family and many friends.

The four episodes of ‘Galfond’ make for a combined hour-long watch well worth giving a look.

After a massively successful May series in Barcelona, 888poker LIVE is back this August with its latest UK festival. The excitement is multiplied by the fact that this will also be a completely new tour stop in a new city!

While 888poker’s previous LIVE events in the UK have traditionally been in London, with an added series in Coventry last year, the wonderful city of Manchester takes center stage for this series.

From August 14-25, the Grosvenor Casino at Bury New Road will host 13 tournaments highlighted by a £1,100 buy-in Main Event with four opening days. A £1,650 High Roller, a £440 Mystery Bounty tournament, and a £110 Ladies event are also on this exciting schedule, not to mention a slew of satellites to win your way into these events.

888poker Live Events Manager Joaquin Vidales says that the Manchester debut will be one to remember.

“What excites us most about the Manchester event is that it is the first time we have come to this city, one of the largest in the UK, and where the influx of poker players is massive. It is also our first 888poker LIVE this year on British soil, and we are eager to make it a reality.”

888poker LIVE Manchester

888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event

After a week to warm up, the series cranks up the heat with the £1,100 Main Event beginning on Wednesday, August 21. It will see a quartet of opening days to choose from, including a turbo flight on Friday, August 23.

The tournament culminates with the final table on Sunday, August 25 with the action streamed on the 888pokerTV Twitch channel. There will be giveaways and freerolls to add even more excitement for viewers.

Main Event Schedule

Main Event Structure

Tournaments Cater to All Bankrolls

Along with the Main Event, 888poker LIVE Manchester will feature a full series of events with affordable buy-ins across the board, and satellites for the bigger buy-in events like the £1,100 Main Event and the £1,650 High Roller.

Players can win their way into the Main Event for as little as £110 and the High Roller for £180.

Turbos, Bounties, PLO; the 888poker LIVE Manchester schedule has a little bit of everything.

888poker LIVE Manchester Complete Schedule

Date Time Event Buy-in
August 14th 5:00 PM Mystery Bounty Opening Event 1A  £ 440
6:00 PM Ladies 888 Event Day 1  £ 100
8:00 PM Main Event Cash Out Satellite  £ 110
August 15th 5:00 PM Mystery Bounty Opening Event 1B  £ 440
5:00 PM Ladies 888 Event Day 2
8:00 PM Main Event Cash Out Satellite  £ 110
August 16th 5:00 PM The Big Shot Day 1A  £ 340
9:00 PM Mystery Bounty Opening Event 1C (Turbo)  £ 440
August 17th 12:00 PM Mystery Bounty Opening Event Day 2
2:00 PM The Big Shot Day 1B  £ 340
7:00 PM The Big Shot Day 1C (Turbo)  £ 340
August 18th 11:00 AM The Big Shot Day 1D (Turbo)  £ 340
5:00 PM The Big Shot Day 2
7:00 PM The Voyage Turbo Deepstack  £ 220
August 19th 5:00 PM The Big Shot Day 3
5:00 PM The Mayhem  £ 250
7:00 PM Main Event Cash Out Satellite  £ 110
August 20th 2:00 PM The Mega Knockout  £ 330
6:00 PM The Dash  £ 200
7:00 PM High Roller Cash Out Satellite (Turbo)  £ 180
August 21st 11:00 AM High Roller Cash Out Satellite (Turbo)  £ 180
12:00 PM 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event 1A  £ 1,100
2:00 PM High Roller Day 1  £ 1,650
6:00 PM High Roller Cash Out Satellite (Turbo)  £ 180
8:00 PM Main Event Cash Out Satellite  £ 110
August 22nd 12:00 PM High Roller Day 2
1:00 PM 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event 1B  £ 1,100
9:00 PM Main Event Cash Out Satellite (Turbo)  £ 110
August 23rd 12:00 PM 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event 1C  £ 1,100
8:00 PM 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event 1D (Turbo)  £ 1,100
August 24th 12:00 PM 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event Day 2
2:00 PM The Dragon Day 1  £ 550
6:00 PM The Dash  £ 200
August 25th 12:00 PM 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event Day 3
12:30 PM The Dragon Day 2
1:00 PM Pot-Limit Omaha Bounty  £ 170
3:00 PM The Closer  £ 250

888poker Online satellites

Want to win your way to the festival online? How about for just one cent!

Leading up to the series, 888poker will offer satellites for as little as that, leading into their $109 qualifier which will award a $2,200 package that includes a Main Event seat, plus plenty more for expenses.

Buy-in – $109
Prize – $2,200 888poker LIVE Manchester package

Check out 888poker for all the details on how to win your way to Manchester!

Away from the Felt: What Else To Do in Manchester?

Manchester is an exciting and energetic city in the United Kingdom with an incredible history of culture, music, and sports.

The city features amazing architecture both Victorian and contemporary, a legendary music scene that’s seen bands like The Smiths, Oasis, The Stone Roses, and The Happy Mondays make their names in the city. Plus, two of the most successful and storied clubs in world football (a.k.a, soccer for the Americans), Manchester City and United call the city home.

Manchester offers plenty to see and do away from the felt.

Manchester United Old Trafford

The Grosvenor Casino at Manchester Bury New Road

Grosvenor Casinos have a long tradition of hosting some of the best poker the UK has to offer and 888poker is thrilled to be partnered with them to host the inaugural 888poker LIVE Manchester festival.

The Grosvenor Casino at Bury New Road is the epicenter of the Manchester poker scene with the biggest cardroom in the region.

With high-quality food and drink, a variety of non-poker gaming, and plenty of screens to enjoy sporting events, the Grosvenor Casino at Bury Road is ready to show off as a premier location for 888poker LIVE Manchester.

888poker Live Manchester

Which 888poker Ambassadors Will Attend?

With this being the debut of 888poker Live in Manchester, the company is bringing out a full team of ambassadors and streamers to join the festivities.

Lucia Navarro, Vivi Saliba, Ian Simpson, Nick Eastwood, and Josh Manley will all be there, along with Dave “Wursthandz” Brady who recently won 888poker’s ‘Stream On’ contest.

Brady, a 34-year old from Ashton, Kent, England, was chosen from a field of 63 hopeful streamers to claim the prize of a one-year streaming contract with 888poker.

“It’s a privilege to be attending as a member of the 888StreamTeam and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. 888poker LIVE events are known for the great structure and players they attract and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to be in the mix with them. I’m really looking forward to attending the event alongside other members of the 888poker team and to represent the brand during this event. I’m also a big fan of the city, so it’s great to have Manchester as my very first 888poker LIVE event as a member of the team.”

888poker Live in the UK in 2023

888poker LIVE has a long history of events in the UK and, as mentioned, not one but two events were held in 2023.

The April series in London saw Dave McConachie defeat a field of 385 entries to win the £1,100 Main Event for an £83,100 payday.

🏆 We have a WINNER!

🎉 Congratulations to Dave McConachie on winning the 888poker LIVE London Main Event!

🤝 Dave made a deal with Francis Obadun during heads-up play and took home £83,000, while Francis took home £75,000.#888poker #poker #livepoker pic.twitter.com/tKJqdblFA4

— 888poker (@888poker) April 23, 2023

October’s £888 Main Event in Coventry saw a huge field of 672 entries topped by Yiannis Liperis for a massive £120,000 first prize.

🥳 Congratulations to our 888poker LIVE Coventry Main Event winner Yiannis Liperis!

🏆 Yiannis took home a whopping £120,000 after there was a five-way ICM deal made at the table! #poker #livepoker pic.twitter.com/KiKLK0UvbX

— 888poker (@888poker) October 29, 2023

Those tournaments saw a combined £867,500 in prizepools between them, and another huge payday is on deck for the winner of the 888poker LIVE Manchester Main Event.

Get Ready, 888poker LIVE Manchester is Almost Here!

It’s going to be a great couple of weeks in Manchester with thrilling poker, huge prizepools, and a ton of fun on tap. 888poker LIVE’s debut in Manchester is a series you don’t want to miss.

As poker continues to grow with record turnouts again this summer at the World Series of Poker and tournament series around the world, the avenues for bringing people into the game also continue to grow. Take for example the always-growing number of streamers following in the footsteps of the Godfather of Twitch Poker, Jason Somerville, and OGs like Jaime Staples, Kevin Martin, and Lex Veldhuis. It’s a tough medium to break into, but one player who has found success — not just in viewership but results on the virtual felt — is 888poker Stream Team member Aaron Barone, who recently hit the $1,000,000 mark in online MTT profit.

After growing his audience over about a year and a half, 888poker came calling to add him to their team of streamers and since then their partnership has seen both parties grow and build on their successes.

Cardplayer Lifestyle recently had a chance to chat at length with Barone about his time with 888poker, his success, the past and present of online poker, and his time at this year’s World Series of Poker, which included a moment he likely won’t forget with Poker Hall of Famer Phil Ivey.

Aaron Barone 888poker

Aaron Barone Interview

A product of the Moneymaker boom, Barone has been a star in the online poker world for many years now, but it’s taken his time as a streamer and an increased audience with 888poker to highlight that there’s more to happiness for him in poker than just results.

“Obviously, I’ve grown since becoming a part of 888poker because they’ve definitely put their efforts behind it, and the thing I think I love most about streaming, which I didn’t realize at the time, is the connection that I’m able to have with viewers. The social aspect of online poker is almost non-existent, other than like message boards, or at least it used to be, and because of streaming I actually get to have that with people who follow, watch, etc.”

“It was something that I was missing from my poker experience that I didn’t really know I was missing because I’d always been an online player… Streaming for me has really helped fill that void. It’s made it feel at times like a live poker thing where you get to interact with people, and an opportunity to be seen and feel heard. I remember when I started streaming, I was like, even if the only thing people take away from this is ‘man, this guy runs really bad,’ that’s enough. People will see the effort I’m putting in.”

Aaron Barone Twitch

Courtesy: twitch.tv/abarone68

Viewers of Barone’s stream will notice that while he is an 888poker ambassador, he’s not limited to playing only on their software. His agreement with them allows him to play on other sites from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia. As a successful online MTT grinder, volume is a key part of Barone’s winrate and his deal with 888poker is something he’s very appreciative of.

“They’ve been really cool about letting me just showcase what I do for a living without any sort of ‘hand on the wheel’ sort of thing, but I will say that my volume on 888poker went up after they signed me and part of that was that I’m an ambassador for the site… but what I also noticed was that by doing that, I actually started having better results because I was playing more games that had smaller overall player pools.”

While 888poker is one of the leaders in the worldwide online poker ecosystem, there are other sites that have more traffic. In many ways though, this isn’t a bad thing for players, far from it in fact; and Barone explained why 888poker’s player pool should actually be a draw to many.

“Generally, in smaller field MTTs you’re going to have less variance. A lot of people I think are chasing really big scores because it sounds like a dream, it sounds like a jackpot, a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow sort of thing. I totally understand that, but in MTTs because of that, because the large fields have massive amounts of variance, and if you want to limit that, the best way you can do that is obviously A) get better at the game, but B) play smaller fields because you don’t have to go through so many all in confrontations to get to the final table.

If you’re playing poker, it’s because you love the game and you probably want to make some money. Your better chance of realizing your edge is going to be in smaller field tournaments and 888poker offers amazing options for that.”

Barone made a name and (bankroll) for himself in the sit n’ go and spin ‘n go streets before transitioning into MTTs just a few years ago. Since then, he’s been a consistent, and that’s the key word, consistent, winner.

How I made $1M+ playing MTTs (A thread)

Given the volatility of multi-table tournaments because of their large fields and top heavy payout structures, even successful grinders can have wonky looking graphs. Often looks something like: Bink a big score, lose a bunch back, bink… pic.twitter.com/u1ixo6vFx4

— Aaron Barone (@abarone68) March 26, 2024

While most players’ MTT charts look like a jagged mountain range with sharp peaks and progressive valleys, When he crossed the $1,000,000 profit mark, Barone was proud to display his chart which features a far more steady line, consistently going up in marginal increments. It’s an approach he took from his earlier days that he says has provided a much less stressful grind as an MTT pro.

“It just kind of depends on what your goals are. As a poker player, if you end the year making $200k with consistency, that’s the same amount of money as if you made $200k with one bink. I think the lifestyle, the enjoyment factor is so much higher when you have consistent wins. I know you don’t have that high high of that huge bink, but if you told me I could have 365 days a year of winning, I’d feel a lot better than having one day where I win a million and lose 800k back.”

Along with obvious skill, Barone credits volume and game selection – traits he learned from his sit-n-go background — for his steadily booming bankroll since he first began diving into MTTs.

“Let’s figure out how much I make per game, and let’s put in a bunch of games. I do assume that at some point I’ll hit a bigger score but for me, it’s really comforting knowing that I don’t need to, that I’m not going to have this massive downswing and I need to bink to get out of it or to pay rent, or to pay bills. The people that play under that sort of pressure, props to them. I don’t think I would play nearly as well and I wouldn’t enjoy that quality of life.”

Don’t get Barone wrong though, while his largest score over that stretch was for just under $60,000, he does very much want that life-changing win at some point.

“I’d be lying if I said this is how I wanted to do it. I want that big bink, I want the next million to come in the form of one or two, or three scores. That does sound really fun.”

Aaron Barone 888poker

While Barone’s seven-figure success may look like a goal that he’s achieved, it’s how he got there that was actually the goal. With a volume-based ‘goal’ mentality, Barone believes this is an infinitely more productive way of evaluating success in poker. Essentially, a journey of hard work and dedication with goals in those aspects leads to bankroll success more than any ‘bankroll challenge’ ever could.

“I kind of think it’s like when people say they want to get fitter or healthier, and they’ll say ‘I want to lose ten pounds’ and that’s great, but there’s also fluctuation in that on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis, and it’d be much better to say ‘I’m going to try to eat better and I’m going to try to go to the gym 25 times this month. And so if you ate better and you went there and you lost seven pounds or nine pounds, you put in the work.

So, when it comes to poker, yes, you might have a goal of making 100k in a year, but it doesn’t mean that if you get to 97k that you’re a chump and you should feel bad about yourself, and it doesn’t mean if you make 101k that you’re the greatest of all time. So just being happy with the process of the work that it takes to get there is a healthier way to look at it.”

Barone’s streaming success and popularity amongst his viewers have led him to another great opportunity, becoming a coach at Upswing Poker.

Upswing founder Doug Polk sent a tweet out asking which streamers people would like to see training content from on his site. Along with requests for those that Barone calls the GOATs of the poker streaming world, he was thrilled to see a massive groundswell of support for him as well. Polk reached out with an offer, and since then Barone has created content for Upswing, including a five-part module entitled ‘Five Mistakes MTT Players Make’, along with a ‘play and explain’ session breaking down the final table of one of his online victories.

Barone says working with Upswing Poker is just the latest example of working for a great team that supports him and shares his vision.

“As I talk to more of my friends who have regular jobs, the people who are your boss or work above you don’t always understand what you do and what they need to provide you to have you succeed, and with both Upswing Poker and 888poker my bosses have been just outstanding about that. This is my first and second I guess real jobs, and I know not everybody gets that experience so I’m very thankful for it.”

Barone was one of the many victims of Black Friday when online poker shut down in the United States. His tale of poker upheaval saw him in the process of moving to Northern California where he had grown up and gone to college, but that plan was dramatically altered when that big FBI warning appeared on his computer screen when he tried to play on April 15, 2011.

“I signed the lease (on an apartment), and a day after I woke up and it was Black Friday. I had to break the lease and I ended up paying maybe two or three months of a fee to get out of that… It’s so interesting because I had moved to Sacramento with the intention of basically setting down roots. This was where I planned on being for the rest of my life or at least a big chunk of it.

A week later I had come to terms with the idea that I don’t know when online poker is going to be legal in the U.S. and I have to get out of the country. I remember thinking at the time this is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me… and I look back on it now as one of the best things that’s ever happened to me because it forced me out of my comfort zone and it helped me really grow as a person and as a poker player. Without that experience, I would not be the person I am today, I wouldn’t have met my fiancé, everything would have been different and I’m really happy with where I am right now.”

While the online realm is where Barone has built his name, the allure of the WSOP in Las Vegas is unavoidable for any true poker player or fan. Barone played in just his second-ever WSOP Main Event this summer, and while falling short of the money with a Day 3 elimination was disappointing, he says the whole of the trip was as valuable as any payout ticket.

“The poker side of it, if we remove that entirely, this trip has basically been a 10/10 for me. I got to meet a lot of people that I’ve known either through online screen names or just knowing them from stream-type stuff and there’s nowhere else I’ve ever been where there’s such a large collection of people who love the game of poker.”

“In my regular life, there aren’t as many people who I can talk about poker with who love the game like I do on a daily basis, and even when I do it’s on stream it’s great, but it’s not a one-on-one, face to face sort of thing. At the Main Event, everyone is there because they want to be there. Overall, it’s electric, it’s wonderful, it makes me want to play more live tournaments.

Leaving Vegas this morning after a nearly perfect @WSOP experience. Bricking the Main Event hurts a bit, but as the name implies, it’s more than just a poker tournament — it’s an EVENT.

And despite having a couple of difficult tables, I bonded with (most of) my opponents,… pic.twitter.com/wo2hSsH7rG

— Aaron Barone (@abarone68) July 10, 2024

Along the way, Barone found himself at a table with none other than the legendary Phil Ivey. Knowing he may never get another chance to sit with one of the all-time greats, and with visions of a potential Ivey / Barone collaboration and friendship, Barone light-heartedly struck up an ice-breaking conversation.

“I asked him how many times he gets approached for pictures on a daily basis and he said ‘more during the Main Event.’ And I said, ‘Oh, like 8 or 9?’ and he said ‘Yeah’, and I’m just like ‘Okay, that’s weird, no one’s even asked me for one picture this entire trip’, and he just deadpans it, and I’m just like, oh, OK, here we are. Just a slightly amusing thing to break some ice and tension. Did not work, but shooters shoot.”

Aaron Barone

Courtesy: @abarone68

Aaron can be seen in his 888poker Stream Team home on Twitch.tv/abarone68 and as a coach on Upswing Poker where he’ll have a pair of new modules coming out over the next few months.

Follow him on X at @abarone68 and on Instagram at @acbarone

As the calendar turns to the second half of the year with the start of July, new opportunities arise for players on ClubWPT!

ClubWPT Monthly Preview July

The Session 2 Race for the ClubWPT Player of the Year gets underway this month with the first three events of the session on July 14, 21, and 28. Each tournament comes with $4,000 cash available and is open to both VIP and Diamond tier members.

The winner of the Session 2 Race earns a $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport at Wynn Las Vegas this December. Players who finish in 2nd and 3rd place will receive a 3-month ClubWPT Diamond tier upgrade, while 4th and 5th place get a ClubWPT Merchandise Prize Pack.

Players who participated in the Session 1 race throughout the first half of the year will also be in the mix for the overall 2024 Season Race where the winner will receive a $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport to Wynn Las Vegas. A $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport goes to the runner-up of the year-long race.

For more details on the ClubWPT Player of the Year races, click here.

$10,000 and WPT Passports for Diamond Members

Just like last month, Diamond tier members have plenty to look forward to in July as well, starting with a $10,000 Diamond Double Stack tournament on Sunday, July 7th. The winner will earn $2,000 in cold hard cash. The Diamond Double Stack is maybe the best Diamond tier event of the month, not just for the huge prizes, but the added playability of a double-sized 10,000 chip stack instead of the standard 5,000 to start.

This is one tournament Diamond members do not want to miss!

All the details of this event can be found here.

Besides that bundle of cash, there are a plethora of WPT World Championship and WPT Prime Championship passports up for grabs for Diamond tier members in July.

Along with a month-end limited field event with a WPT World Championship Passport up for grabs (keep an eye on ClubWPT for details of that), each Saturday starting on July 6th, Diamond members will have a chance to win a $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport.

These tournaments will see the winners earn themselves a trip to Vegas for the big event this December, while each player that makes a final table will share $500 in cash.

Details of these big Saturday events are available here.

20 WPT Seats Available for Super SATurday Members

Speaking of Saturdays, the ClubWPT Super SATurdays membership is where you’ll find another massive bunch of WPT Passports and seats, another 20 in fact!

July 6th and 20th will see the winners receive full $12,000 WPT World Championship Passports with 2nd through 5th earning a $1,100 WPT Prime Championship seat.

July 13th and 27th will see the top five players earn a $1,100 WPT Prime Championship seat.

Players finishing in 6th through 9th place in each of these events will earn a share of $500 in cash.

All the details of another month of Super SATurday action can be found here.

The premier subscription-based online poker site and the only one where you can win your way to a marquee World Poker Tour Event has another big month ahead and you can be a part of it. Just check out ClubWPT.com for details on how you can get a piece of over $100,000 in cash and prizes!

Happiness and enjoyment was the theme of the day as we closed up shop on our first Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival at the fabulous Bellagio Las Vegas.

The final day of our festivals is always bittersweet, because we know it’s coming to an end, but it truly is a case of “don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened.” For many players who joined us this week, they really enjoyed it with multiple players logging over 40+ hours of play for the week.

We kicked off Day 5 of Mixed Game Festival VIII with two tables of $4/8 dealer’s choice action a couple hours ago.

Table #3 opening right now.

Don’t miss our final day, here at @BellagioPoker. pic.twitter.com/YcAdCnb9YN

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 20, 2024

Day 5 kicked off with a pair of $4/8 Dealer’s Choice tables running and it wasn’t long before a third opened up. And then there was the Chicago invasion.

Instant fourth table just walked in to @Bellagio to play in the @PokerLifeMedia Mixed Game Festival!

We’re going out with a smash today!#chicago pic.twitter.com/DHYGTUO4rW

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 21, 2024

A whole crew of folks from Chicagoland came in and, fortunately, there was a table and dealer available. Just like that, it was another four-table day at the ol’ Mixed Game Festival.

Turnouts and demand have been awesome all week long and this really threw an exclamation point on what’s been a phenomenally successful debut here at Bellagio.

Along with Mike Daniels rocking the social media coverage all week for Poker.Org, our poker media friends from other outlets have been a big part of the festival (as they always are), coming by to say hi and partake in the mixed game fun. Thursday they came in bulk; I mean look at these wonderful folks!

One of the things I love about my Mixed Game Festivals, is that so many of my awesome friends in poker media always so kindly come out to support the initiative.

Love you guys ❤️

Cc: @NICEANDSUNNY, @CGrantSport , @crichards1995, @Tim__Duckworth pic.twitter.com/UJe2rGJoK8

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 21, 2024

One of them truly made the most of his time with us as well, leading us to…

Moneymaker Tour $400 Seat Giveaway

Indeed, after grinding a ton of hours with us on Day 1, when he wasn’t covering the many tournament series around Las Vegas for PokerNews, Calum Grant was the final winner of a $400 side event seat to the upcoming Moneymaker Tour series at MGM Grand Las Vegas.

Our 5th & final @MoneymakerTour $400 seat winner is @CGrantSport.

He correctly guessed @CMONEYMAKER‘s middle name 😁

Thanks to all our players for participating and of course to Chris, @MMTonyB and the Moneymaker Tour for their title sponsorship of Mixed Game Festival VIII 🥳 pic.twitter.com/A7paWa0JWR

— Cardplayer Lifestyle (@PokerLifeMedia) June 21, 2024

Calum will join fellow poker media star Tim Duckworth, along with Thom Roholt, Rick Fuller, and Lawrence Chen in an event at that upcoming series thanks to the great folks at the Moneymaker Tour.

Speaking of which, look who joined us Thursday to splash around at our big ol’ celebration of kitchen table games: Moneymaker Tour Executive Manager, Tony Burns!

This ought to be interesting…Any help is appreciated! 😂 #TeamMoney @MoneymakerTour pic.twitter.com/vAtPYZVpxh

— Tony Burns (@MMTonyB) June 20, 2024

We’ve got @MMTonyB in the house here on our final day of Mixed Game Festival VIII at @BellagioPoker.

Thanks @MoneymakerTour for being our title sponsor!

Final $400 seat being given away later today.

Come join us 🎉🥳 pic.twitter.com/8XJdn6DY1V

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 20, 2024

The Moneymaker Tour makes its Las Vegas debut June 28-July 6 with a $1,700 buy-in $1,000,000 guaranteed Main Event along with nearly $300,000 in guarantees among a variety of side events.

This is a series you don’t want to miss if you’re already in or on your way to Las Vegas.

PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day

Our final PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day for Mixed Game Festival VIII certainly qualifies in the category of ‘who loves it more?’ I mean check out this license plate!

That baby is on the car of Christine Minx of Powell, Ohio, who flies out to Las Vegas specifically to play mixed games because they’re hard to find in her area unless you’re at her home game, which she wishes could run even more than it does.

Christine Minx

“It’s not a very regular thing, because even among my friends it’s hard to get everybody together to play, so that’s why opportunities like this (the Mixed Game Festival) are great to find kindred spirits.”

Christine has been playing mixed games for over 17 years, dating back to the days of the Stardust, where she got her first taste of Las Vegas poker, playing 7 Card Stud games at that legendary venue.

“I was part of a website called AllVegasPoker and I was introduced to (mixed games) by the people there. It’s very exciting compared to Hold ‘em… and I love all the variations, and there seem to be new ones all the time.”

Not surprisingly, Christine says any variant involving Badugi is her favorite game in a mix, but she’s become a lover of all the games since that first foray into Stud many years ago.

As our final Player of the Day for this edition of the Mixed Game Festival, she echoes the sentiment of many of our players, saying that mixed games are well worth giving a try and explaining why you should come out for our next festival if you missed this one.

“I find it to be much more social, light-hearted, and friendly. It’s kind of fun to feel you’re part of kind of a niche group and community with some specific knowledge, and it’s just fun to try something new.”

Mixed Game Festival: Eight Isn’t Enough!

So yeah, that’s it, that’s all for another edition of the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival.

There’s no “closing ceremony” at the end of our @PokerLifeMedia Mixed Game Festivals… they just sort of “fade away”.

A player asked “if I’m tired and glad it’s over so I can rest”?

Are you kidding? 🤣

I could do this ad infinitum 😁🔥

Until next time, folks! Thank you ❤️🙏 pic.twitter.com/uw9jZxWKa7

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 21, 2024

Huge thanks once again to our incredible partners and sponsors, the Moneymaker Tour, PokerCoaching.com, PokerGO, RunGoodGear, D&B Publishing, BBO Poker Tables, and Faded Spade playing cards, as well as to Bellagio Las Vegas and its wonderful dealers and staff for hosting and providing a top-notch experience.

So long for now, @BellagioPoker.

You’ve been an amazing Mixed Game Festival VIII venue throughout my 78 hours of play since noon Sunday. ❤️

New “personal best” 19 hours today and one of the most enjoyable all-nighters in my lifetime pantheon of poker sessions.#wholovesitmore pic.twitter.com/yRTf7QF5Rq

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 21, 2024

Above all, thank you to the players! Without you there’s no mixed game community, and there’s no Mixed Game Festival. We’re so grateful for your support through eight incredible series and for helping us grow bigger and better each time.

Next up for us? Stay tuned for details on Mixed Game Festival IX, coming to Las Vegas once again this November!

Here at the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival, we love our dealers.

While we pride ourselves on making the MGF feel like a big ‘ol home game, we kind of need the host casino’s dealers for the games to run.

With many of the games we play rarely spread, many of them are also completely new to the wonderful card pitchers of said casino — in this case, Bellagio Las Vegas — so while many players are learning new games, so are the dealers.

We always try to take care of the dealers as best we can, and when the opportunity for something extra cool for them arises, we’re extra happy for them.

Enter Squid Game.

Squid Game at Mixed Game Festival VIII

Those three rivered queens looked extra sweet to dealer Eli!

No, no we’re not giving them little cookies and making them carve out shapes to keep their jobs, we’re talking about the very cool poker variant inspired by the popular show’s rather morbid premise of heartbreaking er, elimination shall we say.

What Is Squid Game Poker?

Squid Game is a triple board flop game played as either 4 or 5-card Limit Omaha high, ensuring a significant amount of action. It is a split pot game with players claiming victory with the best hand on either of the two remaining boards following the river.

But wait you say, I thought this was a triple board game?

Yup, that’s the keyword here. Was.

Because after the river card is dealt on each of the three boards, the board with the lowest river card is eliminated!

You could be sitting there with a royal flush on the turn on one of the boards with a ton of bets in the pot and then wham, deuce on the river! Your royal gets swept into the muck, potentially leaving you with bupkis on either of the remaining two boards.

What a delightfully painful game. But here’s where our dealer love comes in.

If on the ultra-rare occasion that the three rivers bring three cards of the same rank, like deuce, deuce, deuce, all three boards get eliminated, so guess who wins the pot? The dealer!

In our eight editions of the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival, this had never happened until Wednesday night when Bellagio dealer Eli dealt a trio of queens on the river with the three ladies laying waste to those boards and sending a $72 pot to Eli!

Playing Squid Game at Mixed Game Festival VIII, and the impossible just happened!

QQQ on the three rivers and dealer, Eli, just won $72 🎉 pic.twitter.com/0bBcaW3PrL

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 20, 2024

Congrats to Eli, and condolences to the players in that hand, but really, we don’t think they’re too broken up about it.

PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day

Our penultimate PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day for Mixed Game Festival VIII is Batya Kaufman of Queens, New York.

Batya Kaufman

Batya got her start in poker playing 5-Card Draw with her dad but got a deeper introduction to mixed games via an online league organized by friends during the pandemic.

“A lot of the people that were a part of it liked to play a lot of the more traditional mixed games like Omaha 8, Stud 8, Razz, and then we also added Badugi, 2-7 Triple Draw, and when I went back to playing live poker I realized (mixed games) are just a lot of fun.”

It’s not just the enjoyment of the games that draws Batya to play mix. As we happily hear so often, it’s the people, too.

“It’s just a much more laid-back social environment. People are just super happy to teach you the games if you don’t know them, and if I’m just looking to have a good time and play a little poker, I really find it the most enjoyable.”

The welcoming environment of a mixed game table was immediately presented to Batya from the first time she played, quickly squashing any nerves she may have had dipping her toe into a pool she wasn’t totally familiar with.

“I had already played quite a bit of live No-Limit Hold ‘em, so I wasn’t super uncomfortable at the table. The first time I sat down at a mixed game table… where there were a lot of these games that I’ve never heard of before I was definitely a bit intimidated, but after maybe five to ten minutes and just realizing how welcoming all the players were and how eager they were to teach me the games, I was happy to lose my money to them.”

Batya is just one of many women we’ve seen at our tables this week, and we’re thrilled to hear her equate the positive environment of the Mixed Game Festival to that of ladies’ events.

“Just the social scene, especially the women’s poker scene, it’s just really welcoming and encouraging. I love it.”

Batya plans on playing in the upcoming ladies’ events this summer around Las Vegas and she’ll be able to study up for them with a 3-month Premium membership to PokerCoaching.com for being our Player of the Day.

Mixed Game Festival VIII “Trooper” of the Day

We also want to give a very special honorable mention to a great friend of the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival, Women in Poker Hall of Famer Jan Fisher.

Jan Fisher

Jan had shoulder surgery just a few days ago, but while recovering and with her right arm in a sling, there she was Wednesday, sitting with the scumbags, telling jokes, and dragging the occasional pot.

Fisher said there was no way she would miss her Ali-like return to the Mixed Game Festival.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. So long as I’m in town here in Las Vegas and you’re having an event, I’m gonna be there!”

Moneymaker Tour $400 Seat Giveaway

Tim Duckworth is our latest winner of a $400 seat into a side event at the upcoming Moneymaker Tour series at MGM Grand from June 28-July 6.

The winner of today’s $400 @MoneymakerTour side event seat is … @Tim__Duckworth!

Tim knew (because of course he did 🤦‍♂️🤣) that when @CMONEYMAKER won the $25K Triton Poker event last month, that he won LESS (rather than more) than $1 million.

Final seat giveaway is tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/nt5q3oavch

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 19, 2024

As with our previous winners, Thom Roholt, Rick Fuller, and Lawrence Chen, Tim was selected by a random draw and then asked a Chris Moneymaker-related trivia question.

Well, as a longtime veteran of the poker media industry, this was even more of a layup than the questions normally are. We really didn’t even need to bother with it, but hey, we went through the motions and then gave Tim his prize.

Congrats to the man with one of the best ‘staches in poker! I mean, Steve Zolotow‘s gotta be the clubhouse leader, right?

Thursday’s final day of Mixed Game Festival VIII will also be the final chance to win your seat into an event in the hottest up-and-coming tournament series in the country.

The Moneymaker Tour’s Las Vegas debut this month features just its second-ever $1,000,000 guaranteed Main Event along with almost $300,000 in side event guarantees. This is one series you don’t want to miss!

Last Chance to Dance at the Mixed Game Festival!

This is it, Thursday is the last day of Mixed Game Festival VIII, and we’re expecting another busy and exciting day here at Bellagio Las Vegas!

To give you an inkling of JUST how much mixed game poker has been played, here are a few key stats:

We’ve still got plenty more swag to give away from RunGoodGear, PokerGO, Faded Spade Playing Cards, BBO Poker Tables, and D & B Publishing. Plus our media partners Poker.org will be there documenting the fun for the socials!

Still need a bit of a nudge? How about one more testimonial from a first-time festival attendee who’d never played mixed games before? Sing it Ryan Gray!

“It was amazing! We played seven games, four or five of them I’d never played before, some great fun games, but the group was what was the best part. A great group of people, everybody was fun, teaching everyone, being very helpful, and I got to play with Hall of Famers Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher, it was a blast. It’s like being in the best home game experience you could be in while playing in a casino.”

Having the great privilege of playing with poker Hall of Famers Linda Johnson and Jan Fisher at @cardplayerlife ‘s amazing Mixed Game Festival, perhaps including something I’m being told is called Scrotum 8. pic.twitter.com/Vp4OzrE6RQ

— RS Gray (@rsgrayllc) June 19, 2024

Another satisfied customer! Thanks Ryan, glad you loved it.

Tables open at noon, we hope to see you at Bellagio for Day 5 of Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival VIII!

Flashback to Mixed Game Festival VII, from a couple months ago, where a young mystery man named Kamo joined us all the way from Tokyo, Japan specifically to play in our little celebration of all things mixed games.

Kamo Japan Mixed Game Festival

Kamo told us about the growing popularity of mixed games in the Japanese poker scene and promised to spread the word about the Mixed Game Festival when he returned home, to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Well, Kamo came through; big time!

On Day 2 it was Tomoki and Tomo who joined us from Okinawa and Tokyo, then on Tuesday, Kumi and Akira joined us from Kyoto along with Masa and Shiroki, from Tokyo.

Japan Mixed Game Festival

From left to right: Kumi, Akira, and Robbie

Japan Mixed Game Festival

From left to right: Masa, Shiroki, and Robbie

Japan is the 12th most populous country in the world, yet all of the above players basically told our founder and festival host Robbie Strazynski, “Kamo sent us.”

Now while technically, as a form of gambling, poker isn’t fully legal in Japan — as I discovered myself on a trip there last summer — the passion is certainly there, even for social play-money live games.

With established stars and WSOP bracelet winners like Naoya Kihara and Masashi Oya, plus YouTube sensation and GPI award winner Masato Yokosawa, along with up-and-comers such as 2023 WSOP 9-Game Mix champ Ryutaro Suzuki and many others making WSOP final tables this summer, poker and mixed games are undeniably big, err, HUGE in Japan.

Maybe we need to think about taking the MGF to JPN, eh?

PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day

Ok, full disclosure. Robbie picked his cousin to be Tuesday’s PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day.

Hold on, hold on, hold on, before the cries of ‘WTF! B.S.! RIGGED!’ come from the peanut gallery, he’s got a pretty good story. And besides, isn’t playing with family one of the greatest ways to enjoy poker?

Donnie Wachtenheim

Donnie Wachtenheim has been playing poker for a quarter century but hasn’t played live in five years.

Donnie, who lives in the Los Angeles area, decided that MGF VIII would be the ideal ground to return to the live felt.

“I played poker up until the pandemic began and then I stopped. I didn’t go out of the house, like everyone else, and I started to play a little bit online, but mostly I was playing backgammon and other games online. Now I came back because the Mixed Game Festival was going on, my cousin was hosting it, and I said ‘You know what, it’s June, I’m going to come to Las Vegas and I’ll join it’.”

Donnie got his start in poker playing in home games where mix was the format of choice.

“I started playing poker about 25 years ago… because on Craigslist there was somebody hosting poker in their house and they were hosting mixed games. I had no idea what was going on. They kept telling me ‘two cards, four cards, flop, no flop’. I didn’t know what was going on. So, it took me a few months and then I finally got the hang of it.”

Having since learned a wide variety of mixed games is something Donnie cites as one of his best poker achievements.

He also credits poker for helping him get through some of the toughest times in his life.

“It’s a great distraction. When my dad was very sick and my mom was very sick and I was there with them the whole time but I had to get away, playing poker was a great distraction.”

While it’s great to see his return to the live felt here at Bellagio, Donnie tends to prefer the low-key and social environment of a home game. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the Mixed Game Festival provides!

“I’m having a great time. It’s a good group of people, everybody’s really nice, it’s very fun… you can talk to each other… there’s no pressure, we’re just here for fun… It’s a great way to go to Vegas and play alternative games.”

 

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Moneymaker Tour $400 Seat Giveaway

Joining our previous winners of a $400 seat into a side event at the Moneymaker Tour’s Las Vegas debut June 28-July 6 at MGM Grand is Thom Roholt.

Congratulations to @PacNWThom, winner of Mixed Game Festival VIII Day 3’s grand prize of a $400 seat to a @MoneymakerTour side event. 🥳

Thom didn’t even need the multiple choice options and snap answered that @CMONEYMAKER‘s former profession was “accountant”. pic.twitter.com/3AgxPDSna1

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 19, 2024

Thom was randomly selected from the three tables of players and then correctly knew that Chris Moneymaker was an accountant before his legendary 2003 run to the WSOP Main Event title.

Thom, along with Rick Fuller and Lawrence Chen, will take part in one of the country’s fastest-growing and most exciting new poker tours as the Moneymaker Tour brings its exciting series to Las Vegas for the first time this summer.

The series will feature its second-ever $1,000,000 guaranteed $1,700 Main Event plus a plethora of great side events with nearly another $300,000 in guarantees.

Players at MGF VIII will have two more chances to win their way to the event via a random draw and by answering a (ed. note: really easy!) Chris Moneymaker-related trivia question.

Mixed Game Festival VIII: Into the Home Stretch

It’s been a busy and fun three days of mixed-game poker here at Bellagio, but now we’re turning the corner with just two more days to go in MGF VIII.

That doesn’t mean we’re slowing down on the excitement or great giveaways from RunGood Gear, D&B Publishing, BBO Poker Tables, PokerGO, and Faded Spade Playing Cards.

Players will have a ton of opportunities to win those prizes, and heck, the Bellagio poker room even threw in some prizes of their own Tuesday, so besides the most fun you can have at a Las Vegas poker table, there’s a whole bunch of swag to go around as well!

Early birds get the loot!

The wonderful floor staff at @BellagioPoker just gave all of us at the first $4/8 dealer’s choice table complimentary card protectors. ❤️

Day 3 of Mixed Game Festival VIII is underway! 🎉 pic.twitter.com/d6btlzV0Zs

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 18, 2024

And that’s not even mentioning those Moneymaker Tour seats and 3-month Premium subscriptions to PokerCoaching.com for our player of the day!

Can’t get enough Mixed Game Festival coverage and want to see some video clips, too? Relive the festival highlights on our media partner Poker.org’s Instagram feed. They’ve been here all week capturing some of the amazing moments, great hands… and Norman Chad giving Robbie sh*t for the simplicity of the trivia questions.

Three days down, two to go, and we’re ready to finish up strong at Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival VIII!

Business is booming, baby!

Summer Camp in Las Vegas with the World Series of Poker and the many other events around town means the busiest time of the year in the desert for poker-hungry folks, with massive demand in every casino dealing our great game. Our Mixed Game Festival isn’t immune, as we found out on Monday.

The day started at noon with a pair of $4/8 Dealer’s Choice games running here at Bellagio with a third firing up at about 2 pm. However, from there things got dicey.

Now up to three $4/8 dealer’s choice tables here on Day 2 of @PokerLifeMedia Mixed Game Festival VIII at @BellagioPoker.

Soon, we’ll be giving away a $400 seat to a @MoneymakerTour side event.

Come join us 😁 pic.twitter.com/NJt99cy5zP

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 17, 2024

Because of that demand, tables were at a premium and the list for MGF VIII began to grow. At points of the day, we could have had up to five tables of mixed game madness running, but the availability unfortunately just wasn’t there immediately to satisfy the incredible demand.

People are literally coming from all over the world to check out MGF VIII! For instance, check out Robbie Strazynski‘s new Japanese friends, Tomoki from Okinawa (left) and Tomo from Tokyo (right).

Throughout the day, a new list of poker luminaries including PokerCoaching.com instructors and high stakes crushers Justin Saliba and Aram Zobian, along with co-host of the DAT Poker Podcast (also featuring Daniel Negreanu and Terrence Chan), Adam Schwartz, who stopped by to say hi.

But even if you’re a tremendously accomplished superstar or host of one of the most popular podcasts in the poker world, it there ain’t a seat, there ain’t a seat!

Cool to meet @AramZobian for the first time!

Thanks for coming to visit @PokerLifeMedia Mixed Game Festival VIII.

Welcome as well to fellow first-timer @APeikenVegas, and stalwart attendee @Justin_Saliba. pic.twitter.com/oXJdIOehJT

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 18, 2024

So, what have we learned? If you want to hop into the biggest and best low-stakes mixed game action anywhere, get there early! Let’s fill the room when cards are in the air at noon and take over as much of the Bellagio poker room as we can!

PSA, to any players wanting to play at @PokerLifeMedia‘s Mixed Game Festival:

The @BellagioPoker gets filled to capacity each day.

Yesterday, we unfortunately ran into the (best possible) issue of there not being enough room to open a new table, despite a 15-player wait list.… pic.twitter.com/m52S1t0Yas

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 18, 2024

PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day

On Day 1, our first PokerCoaching.com player of the day was 88-year-old Henry Chow, who has been playing poker for almost 80 years. Well on Day 2, we went in the other direction.

Looking barely old enough to be in the room, and he is, 22-year-old Tanner Thompson of Arizona is our Day 2 recipient of the distinction.

22-year-old Tanner Thompson is our @PokerCoaching_ Player of the Day!

He’s never played mixed games before, has been waiting for a seat at a NLHE table, decided to wait here… And now he doesn’t want to leave ♥️ pic.twitter.com/wqWwHno6mw

— Cardplayer Lifestyle (@PokerLifeMedia) June 18, 2024

Tanner has only been playing poker for about two years after getting his start in Texas where you can play under the age of 21. Currently, he’s in Las Vegas working as a poker dealer in a dynamic dealing duo with his mother.

“We started off in Texas working at the Lodge, now we’re traveling around. We hit the Wynn, we go to Reno, California, do everything, travel together as a mother/son duo.”

Remember that high demand we were talking about? Well, Tanner was a rare beneficiary of it, and his tale of what brought him to a table at Mixed Game Festival VIII is what we love to hear. Just hop in and give it a try.

“I just came out to play some $1/3 Hold’em and saw there was a $4/8 mix. There was a long wait so I was like, you know, I’ve never played mix before, let me just sit down and see what I can do.”

Yahtzee! Er, Badugi! We got another one!

We can’t stress this enough: even if you’ve never played mixed games before, the Mixed Game Festival is the BEST place to give them a try. We guarantee you’ll have an amazing time and a whole new world of poker will open up to you, as Tanner discovered.

“I’ve dealt the games so I at least know the rules of how to play. The theory; definitely not so much, but that’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m trying to learn and I think this is the best, and probably cheapest, way to do it.”

Tanner’s debut foray into playing mixed games earned him a prize of a 3-month Premium subscription to PokerCoaching.com, which is right up his alley as well.

“I just love learning in general. I’m a big learner, I love studying languages and poker just really fits into my set of just being a good brain exercise to learn and try to solve these problems that are presented in front of you.”

Moneymaker Tour $400 Seat Giveaway

How’s this for rungood?

Lawrence Chen had entered the Mixed Game Festival VIII area with his roller bag in tow and just taken his seat. He hadn’t even been dealt a hand when the random drawing for our daily $400 Moneymaker Tour seat at MGM Grand began.

His seat gets called, he doesn’t even know what’s going on or anything about a giveaway, and next thing he’s being asked a trivia question about how many kids Chris Moneymaker has.

Lawrence correctly answers ‘three’ and boom, wins a $400 Moneymaker Tour seat!

Easy game, eh Lawrence?

Congratulations to Lawrence Chen, winner of today’s $400 seat to a @MoneymakerTour side event! 🎉

Lawrence literally just walked into @BellagioPoker, took his seat, was randomly selected, and correctly answered a question about @CMONEYMAKER to win. 😁 pic.twitter.com/RaulnwNh4l

— Cardplayer Lifestyle (@PokerLifeMedia) June 17, 2024

Lawrence will be joining our Day 1 winner Rick Fuller and three more lucky Mixed Game Festival VIII winners in a $400 buy-in event during the inaugural Moneymaker Tour stop at MGM Grand Las Vegas between June 28-July 6.

Get Your Seat Early for Mixed Game Festival VIII Day 3!

Tuesday, we reach the midway point of our eighth Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival, which is already proving to be our biggest one yet.

Cards will be in the air at noon Las Vegas time, as they will be throughout the festival, and as we saw Monday, that popular demand is REALLY popular, so be sure to get there early to guarantee your seat!

We’ll have another $400 Moneymaker Tour seat to give away, another 3-month Premium subscription to PokerCoaching.com, and plenty more prizes from our other awesome sponsors RunGoodGear, PokerGO, D&B Publishing, BBO Poker Tables, and Faded Spade Playing Cards.

Also, be sure to check out our media partners at Poker.Org for a taste of the fun of MGF VIII via their Instagram feed. Shout out to Mike Daniels, for doing a wonderful job on all the videos!

🤔 What do @philivey, @scott_seiver & @cardplayerlife‘s Mixed Game Festival VIII have in common? 🤔

👉 They are all mentioned in @BradWillis‘ latest “The Org” from @pokerorg! 📥

Link: https://t.co/QS1WCePnjQ
♠️♥️♣️♦️#PokerLifeMedia

— Cardplayer Lifestyle (@PokerLifeMedia) June 18, 2024

It’s toasty as heck outside in the Las Vegas sunshine, but inside the Bellagio, we’re cooking up some banana game flambe with as hot as the action and demand is for Mixed Game Festival VIII. Don’t miss being a part of the excitement!

Since its debut in 2021, the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival has become a recurring staple on the poker calendar and one of the more anticipated niche live poker series in Las Vegas (and beyond). Many great venues have hosted our celebration of ‘banana’ games, but this eighth incarnation of our event sees us “hit the big time” with our debut smack in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip at the glamourous Bellagio Hotel and Casino.

The action got underway at noon Sunday with three tables of fun and friendly $4/8 mixed-game action. Not long after, a fourth table opened and for six hours the venue’s overflow poker area in the sportsbook saw pots splash around like the glorious fountains that welcome players to the Bellagio.

Of those 32 poker players at tables within the first hour of play, no less than 10 women occupied those seats!

Mixed Game Festival VIII is underway at @BellagioPoker! 🥳🎉

We kicked off at noon with three full tables of $4/8 dealer’s choice! pic.twitter.com/N3KZrtzJKt

— Cardplayer Lifestyle (@PokerLifeMedia) June 16, 2024

One of the first of many rewards for those early arrivals was the traditional MGF opening day pizza party at 1 pm. That was just the beginning of the giveaways. Along with collecting pots, players won bonus prizes and merchandise from our sponsors — PokerGO, D&B Publishing, BBO Poker Tables, and Faded Spade Playing Cards — throughout the day.

Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors @BBOPokerTables, @PokerGO, @DBPoker1 and @FadedSpadeBrand 🙏

Our @PokerLifeMedia Mixed Game Festival VIII players love the merch!

(You also want to win free merch? Come join us at @BellagioPoker 😁) pic.twitter.com/967XNPWdCD

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 17, 2024

Along with those prizes, players could win or buy one of our now-famed Mixed Game Festival T-shirts (produced by another one of our great sponsors, RunGoodGear), with proceeds going towards Poker Gives, a non-profit organization that donates to the homeless, military veterans, and needy families in the Las Vegas area. A special shout-out goes to Canada’s Darren Johnson (you might have read about him before) who donated $200 with receipt of his T-shirt.

One of the biggest attractions of any edition of the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival is the presence of some of the biggest names in poker who hop right into the mix, joining players for some of the low-stakes fun.

Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, Women in Poker Hall of Famer Lupe Soto, non-poker Hall of Famer Norman Chad (hi Norman, we love ya!), and extoller of the great game of Pot-Limit Omaha and one of the most popular men in poker Joey Ingram were among Sunday’s dignitaries.

A very, very special and meaningful picture. ♥️

Love both these guys so much.

Thanks @Joeingram1 & @NormanChad 👍#iykyk pic.twitter.com/Ceoo9RQKLJ

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 16, 2024

Giving a special shout out to our past contributing writer, PokerNews’ Calum Grant, who logged 16.5 hours of play yesterday, outlasting our founder Robbie Strazynski‘s “mere” 15, and walked away with $236 in profit after having bought in for $600. When Robbie left at 3am, two full $4/8 dealer’s tables were still running!

Moneymaker Tour Giveaway

Grand prizes are always the icing on the proverbial cake of any of our festivals, and MGF VIII is no different. This time around we’ve partnered with the Moneymaker Tour to give away five $400 seats to a side event during their Las Vegas debut at MGM Grand from June 28-July 6.

Congrats go out to our first winner, Rick Fuller who was randomly selected and then correctly answered a Chris Moneymaker-related question to earn his seat.

Congratulations to @Gamblindude. 🎉

He correctly answered a trivia question about @CMONEYMAKER to win a $400 seat into a @MoneymakerTour side event.

Tomorrow (Day 2) of Mixed Game Festival VIII, action kicks off at 12pm noon, and we will be doing our random seat drawing at 1pm.… pic.twitter.com/S2Qavl0xi2

— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) June 17, 2024

We’ll be giving away a $400 seat on all five days of the festival, so if you’re coming down to Bellagio to take part, be sure to brush up on your Moneymaker knowledge and you, too, could win a seat for this rapidly-growing and exciting tour!

PokerCoaching.com Player of the Day

The other big daily prize available to players throughout the festival goes to our PokerCoaching.com player of the day. The selected player receives a 3-month Premium subscription to the outstanding training site led by superstar and coach extraordinaire Jonathan Little with his tremendously accomplished team of coaches.

MGF VIII’s first recipient is long-time Mixed Game Festival supporter Henry Chow of Houston, Texas, who has now joined us for five editions dating back to our inaugural festival in 2021.

Henry Chow Mixed Game Festival VIII

Henry’s reason for his continued return to the festival is pretty simple and complimentary.

“I enjoy the games and you run a great show.”

Good enough for us Henry!

The 88-year-old from Houston plays primarily $20/40 in limit games with some $1/2 and $2/5 No-Limit Hold ‘em mixed in. He also plays tournaments, coming out every summer for the World Series of Poker with over $150,000 in tournament winnings listed on his Hendon Mob profile.

Of his impressive 88 years on Earth, an astonishing 78 of them have involved this game that we love!

“I’ve been playing since I was 10 years old! We used to have a family gathering at my grandparents’ dining room table. After dinner, we’d just play nickel / dime / penny stud. (Poker) is a very good game. A game of skill and socializing. I enjoy playing, It keeps your mind sharp and I enjoy being around people.”

Congrats Henry, and thanks for your continued support, we hope to see you at our festivals for many years to come!

What’s on Deck for Mixed Game Festival VIII Day 2

We’re off and running for our biggest Mixed Game Festival yet!

The action continues at noon Monday for Day 2 with another Moneymaker Tour seat, another PokerCoaching.com 3-month subscription, and tons more merchandise to give away to players.

Plus, more poker stars and celebrities could pop in at any time. You never know who might show up! After all, the World Series of Poker is right across the street, just a few minutes walk away…

Head on down to the world’s biggest and best home game as the 8th edition of the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival continues at the famed Bellagio Hotel and Casino at the heart of the Las Vegas strip.

“People just wanna come and have a good time!” – @cardplayerlife

🃏 Mixed Game Festival.
🗓️ June 16-20.
♠️ @BellagioPoker.
🍌 ALL of the banana games.

Don’t say we didn’t tell you! 👉🏼 https://t.co/60Ov5p8eQJ pic.twitter.com/ZpUvIwL1l0

— Poker Org (@pokerorg) June 17, 2024

ClubWPT is all set to zoom into summer with an action-packed lineup of June events, highlighted by a $10,000 guaranteed event on Father’s Day with a mix of cash and golf prizes. Along with cash prizes up top, the top 10 finishers will also win a new Cobra Golf Darkspeed Max Driver!

This special event will take place on Sunday, June 16th. Stay close to ClubWPT for all the details.

ClubWPT Monthly Preview June

WPT World Championship Passports

Meanwhile, the following weekend will feature the second of two lucrative satellites into the $125,000 WPT World Championship Passport Challenge.

The first one takes place on June 9th at 5:30 pm ET, while the second hits the virtual felt on June 23rd at 4 pm ET.

Both of these tournaments will award 25 seats to the $125,000 WPT Championship Passport final on November 3rd. The final’s top 10 finishers will win a $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport, which includes a $10,400 seat into the WPT’s biggest event of the year plus $1,500 cash.

Super SATurdays for More Passports

The ClubWPT Super SATurdays membership tier continues to be red hot! On the last Saturday of the month, June 29th, VIP members will get a special Super SATurdays preview. They’ll have a chance to see what it’s like to play in a Super SATurdays event with the top five finishers winning a seat into the year-end $1,100 WPT Prime Championship.

The regular Super SATurdays schedule sees five opportunities in June to win either a seat into the WPT Prime Championship or a full $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport. Both of those events will take place in December at Wynn Las Vegas.

The complete Super SATurdays sked and prizes for June break down as follows:

SATurday, Jun 1 @ 7:00 PM ET
1st-5th Place: $1,100 WPT Prime Championship Seat

SATurday, Jun 8 @ 7:00 PM ET
1st Place: $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport
2nd-5th Place: $1,100 WPT Prime Championship Seat

SATurday, Jun 15 @ 7:00 PM ET
1st-5th Place: $1,100 WPT Prime Championship Seat

SATurday, Jun 22 @ 7:00 PM ET
1st-5th Place: $1,100 WPT Prime Championship Seat

SATurday, Jun 29 @ 7:00 PM ET
1st Place: $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport
2nd-5th Place: $1,100 WPT Prime Championship Seat

For all the details, check out the Super SATurdays page on ClubWPT.com.

Passports and Cash for ClubWPT Diamond Members

The opportunities to earn a WPT World Championship Passport don’t stop there either. Diamond tier members will have four chances each week throughout June to get into the June 30th Diamond Challenge Final.

From each of these satellites, 20 players will advance to the final which will see the winner take home another of those $12,000 WPT World Championship Passports.

For all the details, check out the WPT World Championship Passport Diamond Challenge page at ClubWPT.com.

There’s plenty more exciting action for Diamond members with the first of three $5,000 Diamond Double Stack events kicking off the month on June 2nd. The winner of each of these events picks up a $1,000 cash prize!

Check out the Diamond Double Stack page for all the details of these exciting cash-filled events.

As the weather heats up in June, so will the action at ClubWPT. Don’t miss your chance this summer to get in on the excitement and prestige of the World Poker Tour on the hottest subscription-based poker site online!

With summer right around the corner, the weather isn’t the only thing heating up; the action at ClubWPT is scorching this coming month with a plethora of opportunities to win your way to premier live World Poker Tour Championship events throughout May.

ClubWPT Monthly Preview May

Just like in April, there’s plenty on offer from ClubWPT next month, including:

Sound good? Okay then, let’s check out the details of all these amazing tournaments!

WPT World Championship Passports

VIP and Diamond tier members will have another pair of chances to win their way into the $125,000 World Championship Challenge on May 19th and 26th. The top 25 players in each of these tournaments will advance to the qualifier final on November 3rd.

That exclusive field of just 400 players will award the top 10 finishers a $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport which includes entry into the $10,400 WPT World Championship, $1,500 cash for travel expenses, a dedicated ClubWPT VIP Host, official ClubWPT merchandise, and an exclusive meet and greet with WPT talent.

Details of the $125,000 WPT World Championship Challenge are available here.

WPT Prime Passports and Cold Hard Cash

Along with those satellites, Diamond tier members will have opportunities every Saturday to win themselves a $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport.

Besides all these chances to get into a premier WPT Championship event (oh but wait, there are more), there will be a pair of tournaments for Diamond tier members with each awarding $10,000 in cash!

The first is on Sunday, May 5th with the $10,000 Diamond Double Stack tournament. The winner will receive $2,000 plus the lion’s share of ClubWPT Tournament Points that will be added to the payouts. Those tournament points can be used toward regular ClubWPT VIP events.

The second $10,000 event takes place on Sunday, May 26th with the ClubWPT Diamond Challenge Final. Qualifiers for this tournament run multiple times a week with each satellite awarding 20-40 seats into the 400-player final. The winner of the final will earn themselves $2,500!

20 More WPT World Championship Seats

Now, as for those other WPT Championship Passports? How does 20 including a pair of $12,000 WPT World Championship Passports sound?

That’s what’s up for grabs in May for ClubWPT Super SATurday members, as on May 4th and 18th the top 5 Super SATurday finishers will earn themselves a $1,100 WPT Prime Championship seat, while on May 11th and 25th, the winner of those tournaments will earn one of those WPT World Championship seats. 2nd through 5th place finishers in those events will receive a $1,100 WPT Prime Championship seat.

$500 cash will also be shared amongst 6th-9th place finishers in each of those tournaments.

For all the details of the latest batch of incredible Super SATurday opportunities, click here.

ClubWPT POY Race

On top of all these satellites and qualifiers to WPT Championship events, a year-long showing of consistency and excellence continues as the ClubWPT Player of the Year race will also award a $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport to its leaderboard winner. Podium finishers in 2nd and 3rd will earn a $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport.

Details, plus the latest leaderboard-eligible tournaments, are available here.

Get in on the Action!

A marvelous May is set to get underway at ClubWPT and you can be a part of it! Just check out ClubWPT.com for all the details on how you can win your way to a multitude of live World Poker Tour Championship events.

As the WPT Voyage gets set to cruise through the Caribbean, ClubWPT is about to set sail on an incredible April featuring multiple opportunities to win your way to World Poker Tour Championship events throughout the year.

ClubWPT Monthly Preview April

April’s schedule is highlighted by three opportunities in the second week of the month to win a $5,000 WPT Passport to the recently announced WPT Montreal Championship.

That festival will run from May 9-22 at Playground Poker and features a $1,150 CDN WPT Prime Championship with a $1,000,000 guarantee from May 12-17 and a live-streamed final table on May 21st. That leads into the $3,500 CDN WPT Montreal Championship event with a $2,000,000 guarantee running from May 16-20. That event will have a live-streamed final table on May 22.

ClubWPT will have details on those mid-month qualifiers, but not only will those tournaments give you a chance to win your way to Montreal, but the Super SATurdays membership tier also has an opportunity.

On Saturday, April 13th at 7 pm ET, members will be vying for one of those $5,000 WPT Passports to Playground for the WPT Montreal Festival. Second through fifth-place finishers earn themselves a $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport at the WPT World Championship at Wynn Las Vegas this December.

Already this year, 32 members have earned a WPT Prime Championship Passport and there are plenty more to go around with over 100 to be awarded at ClubWPT before year’s end. In April alone, 18 will be awarded just through the Super SATurday membership events.

That’s not even mentioning what’s up for grabs in the final Super SATurday event of the month!

On April 27th, the winner will earn a $12,000 WPT Championship Passport including entry into the $10,400 event along with $1,500 for travel and accommodation. Second through fifth place will again win a $2,500 WPT Prime Championship Passport, while as with all Super SATurday events, sixth through ninth place will share $500.

For all the details on the April schedule of Super SATurday events, click here.

Great Opportunities Available to ClubWPT Members in April

Meanwhile, the $125,000 WPT World Championship Challenge is now in full swing at ClubWPT, having already awarded 75 seats into the final qualifier running later this year on November 3rd which will award the top 10 finishers a $12,000 WPT World Championship Passport.

ClubWPT members will be able to participate in another pair of satellites this month on April 21st at 5:30 pm ET (eligible to Diamond members) and on April 28th at 4 pm ET (eligible to VIP and Diamond members). Both of these tournaments will award the top 25 players entry into that November 3rd qualifier.

All the details on the $125,000 WPT World Championship Challenge are available here.

Just like in March, April is going to be another incredible month of opportunity for ClubWPT players across all levels of membership, and that’s not even mentioning the regular schedule of tournaments, paying out cash prizes to VIP and Diamond members.

If you haven’t already, what’s stopping you from checking out the only subscription-based online poker site with trips to World Poker Tour events across the globe and over $100,000 total in cash and prizes each month?

You could be like member Gail Levine who recently turned her WPT Passport won on ClubWPT into a 34th place finish for $8,200 at WPT Rolling Thunder!

Thoughts from @ClubWPT qualifier Gail Levine as she recounts her journey to finishing in 34th place and cashing $8,200 on Day 2 of the @WPT Thunder Valley Championship. pic.twitter.com/G7NbA1tpuR

— ClubWPT (@ClubWPT) March 25, 2024

For all the excitement, check out ClubWPT.