The 2004 World Series of Poker Main Event champion, Greg Raymer, defeated Turkey’s Onur Unsal in heads-up play to win the $200 H.O.R.S.E. Tournament at the Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival. Raymer claims the top prize of $4,911 and the coveted PokerStars Platinum Pass worth over $30,000.
The tournament was the big finish of the inaugural Mixed Games Festival, a brand-new poker event that took place at Westgate Las Vegas Resort from October 4-7. When registration closed the finale had effectively sold out with 124 players signed up to generate a prize pool of $20,460.
Robbie Strazynski’s four-day festival was a major success both on and off the felt. Poker pros and authors stopped by to share their knowledge of mixed games with a long line of visitors while raising money for charity with book signings throughout the week.
Dylan Linde stopped by on Day 1 to sign copies of his book Mastering Mixed Games: Winning Strategies for Draw, Stud, and Flop Games. Linde spent a lot of time talking mixed game strategy with fans while signing several books. He left behind a stack and they continued to sell at a brisk pace throughout the week. Eli Elezra stopped by on Day 2 to sign copies of his book Pulling the Trigger and played a couple of orbits with visitors. Book sales from throughout the week raised $1,045 for the Westgate Resorts Foundation.
Among the 124 entries were several notable faces from the poker world. Bracelet-winners, writers, photographers, video producers, Hall of Famers, and local grinders made up a tough field of players looking for mixed game tournament action with a Platinum Pass up top.
The room’s filling up and cards will be in the air soon!
— Cardplayer Lifestyle (@PokerLifeMedia) October 7, 2021
Nathan Gamble, Linda Johnson, Chris “Fox” Wallace, Robert Turner, and Chad Holloway represented the rest of the six WSOP gold bracelet winners who took their chance at a Platinum Pass. Women in Poker Hall of Famers Jan Fisher and Marsha Waggoner also stopped by to take their shot. Up-and-coming local grinder Dave Alfa made an early run but hit the rail before the money.
Poker media veterans Donnie Peters, Remko Rinkema, Brent Harrington, Christin Maschmann, Jesse Fullen, Mike Patrick, Tim Duckworth, Chad McVean, and 2019 WSOP Main Event finalist Garry Gates stopped by as well to take a break away from their duties at the WSOP.
Notables among the final 29 in the @PokerLifeMedia #MixedGameFestival @FossilMan, @Donnie_Peters, @thechipburner, @Bloodlow, @foxpokerfox, @GarryGates, @MikePatrick98, @Veaner85, @BrentHarrington, @MixedGameMike and @WIPHOF-er Marsha Waggoner.
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) October 8, 2021
Patrick, a PokerNews live reporter (and fellow Cardplayer Lifestyle contributor who incidentally wrote the festival’s Day 3 recap), finished in fifth place and took home $1,432 for the effort. Houston’s Jeff Planck took fourth place for $1,841 and Jason Simon of O’Fallon, MO won $2,455 for his third place finish. Runner-up Unsal missed out on the Platinum Pass but grabbed $3,069 along with the chance to play heads-up with a world champion.
Raymer almost didn’t play in the tournament, but a brief delay at the WSOP on Wednesday forced a change in plans.
“I was sitting in my room and thinking about playing the stud tournament at 3 p.m., but I saw the delay,” Raymer said in an interview with Cardplayer Lifestyle after winning the Platinum Pass.
“I haven’t gotten into a late-night schedule yet, so I am not going to be playing my best after 1 a.m., and I knew that I was not going to be entering that tournament. I saw the Mixed Game Festival cash games on the Wednesday schedule and decided to come over and support Robbie.”
Thank you for putting on this festival. came yesterday to support it, got talked into playing it! YAY
RT @cardplayerlife: Congrats to the @FossilMan!
Winner of the @PokerStars #PlatinumPass for the @PokerLifeMedia #MixedGameFestival
The champ is HERE!
— Greg Raymer (@FossilMan) October 8, 2021
Raymer is in town to play the WSOP and initially hesitated to come back on Thursday for the H.O.R.S.E. tournament.
“People at my table asked if I was going to play the tournament and I said no, but they brought up the Platinum Pass and I had forgotten about that!”
Raymer will certainly never forget this PokerStars Platinum Pass, a highly coveted prize that includes a $25,000 buy-in to the prestigious PokerStars Player’s Championship along with travel, accommodation, and other perks.
The world champion soaked up his victory just as he would any other. It might have been a smaller event, but to Raymer winning is a wonderful feeling no matter what.
“It means a lot because the PSPC is a huge event,” Raymer said. “If it’s like the last one, the winner gets $5 million. That’s as much as I got for winning world championship in 2004. It’s not like winning $5 million is ho-hum. Winning $50,000 isn’t ho-hum either.”
It’s difficult to compare any win to capturing the WSOP Main Event, but to Raymer that doesn’t matter.
“Winning is always great. Winning this tournament might not even be in my top 20 cash payouts lifetime, but winning a tournament always feels good.
When you win there’s no better feeling. Maybe it feels better when you win a bigger tournament. But I still won. I couldn’t have done better.”