Written resources for learning mixed game poker have been somewhat limited over the years, with a sprinkling of information released here and there, starting with the original Super System, published back in 1979.
From there, a few game-specific titles from 2+2 publishing came out through the 90s, followed by Super System 2 in 2005, a very thorough nearly 700-page effort by Ken Lo titled A Poker Player’s Guide to Mixed Games in 2014, and most recently Chris Wallace and the Mizrachi brothers’ 2022 release, Getting Started with HORSE.
Each of these books has its merits, but what I and many others feel is the must-read for comprehensive mixed game information is Mastering Mixed Games by Dylan Linde, first published in 2019.
For those unfamiliar with Linde’s extensive resume, his Hendon Mob profile lists over $6.6 million in career tournament earnings in No-Limit Hold ‘em, Pot-Limit Omaha, and of course a litany of mixed games. He’s a WPT champion, a WSOP bracelet winner in Mixed Omaha, and has multiple big scores and victories in high-roller events.
Linde is one of poker’s best and most well-rounded players, but his love and knowledge of mixed games are what he’s chosen to share with the poker world, and Mastering Mixed Games (MMG) is a book that can be appreciated by both those just dipping their toes into the mixed game waters, and by experienced players alike.
Mastering Mixed Games: What’s Inside?
While books may have taken a back seat to online content when it comes to poker training over the years as people’s time has become more and more valuable, I can absolutely recommend MMG for not just the quality of content throughout, but because that content is laser-focused and very consumable. If there are criticisms to be made of previously written content on mixed games, it’s that they can be like a Michael Bay movie in that if you shave a good 20 minutes to a half-hour from it in the edit suite, you get an infinitely more watchable movie.
Coming in at a very readable 304 pages, with no game-specific section more than 42 pages long, Mastering Mixed Games is the equivalent of a smash-and-grab 90-minute thrill ride, with no wasted words throughout.
Those sections are separated within the formats of flop games, stud games, and draw games, with all games covered listed below.
- Limit Hold ‘em
- Limit Omaha 8 or Better
- Pot-Limit Omaha 8 or Better (40 BB Cap)
- 7 Card Stud
- 7 Card Stud 8 or Better
- 2-7 Triple Draw
- Badeucey and Badacey
Single Draw Game:
- No-Limit 2-7 Single Draw (40 BB Cap)
Each section has a brief introduction explaining the rules of the game being discussed before getting to the heart of the lessons. A short quiz with answers and explanations follows at the end of each section.
As mentioned, Linde’s teachings of each game are incredibly efficient and well-written. There are no skippable pages anywhere. Consistent lessons in each game include opening ranges by position, playing versus raises and three-bets, the importance of playing to scoop in split pot games, types of hands that play better heads-up versus multi-way, and strategies for every street of play within a hand, be it flop, turn, and river; 1st, 2nd, and 3rd draw; or 3rd-7th streets.
Something that is illustrated very effectively throughout Mastering Mixed Games is how close equities run in many spots, no matter the game. As such, equity comparisons are shown throughout, providing visual and mathematical examples including variations of hands showing how what may appear to be a slight difference in hand strength can have a notable impact on its value. In particular, I found the various equity comparisons included in the Stud and Draw games sections to be very helpful.
With each section clocking in at roughly 20-40 pages, readers can quickly navigate the book to study the specific game they want and get an intense yet easily understood lesson in a very reasonable amount of time. With the aforementioned breakdowns of street-by-street play clearly identified in each section as well, intricate and specific study modules can be easily found. Need to brush up on your 5th street play in Stud 8 or your post-2nd draw play in Badugi? These specifics can easily be found.
If I must drop a bit of criticism on MMG, unfortunately, deep-stacked, non-cap play in big-bet games and tournament-specific strategies are areas not covered. Big-bet games are only taught with consideration for a 40 BB cap, as is quite common in mixed cash games. Pot-Limit variations of Triple Draw and Badugi are also not discussed. Strategies throughout are primarily based on a 6- or 7-handed mixed cash game format.
Those are small drawbacks though, considering the wealth of information throughout the rest of the book.
As mentioned earlier, MMG is a great resource for mixed game players, no matter their experience or skill level. As with most mixed game players, I consider myself more proficient in certain games than others, however, I was still able to boost my knowledge significantly with this poker strategy book.
As for the games that I don’t get a chance to practice regularly (shout out Badeucey and Badacey), MMG provides a great primer for when I do get to splash around in the split-pot triple draw streets, giving me the perspective for this review of both experienced and novice players.
I appreciated MMG’s efficiency and readability in teaching both types of players. What a reader may already understand is elaborated on effectively, while those with limited knowledge of a game also receive easily understandable instruction which will quickly get them acclimated to their new game of choice.
Mastering Mixed Games is truly the gold standard for mixed-game poker instruction for players of all skill levels. And if you’re crazy enough and really want to learn Pot-Limit Triple Draw, Linde is a super friendly and approachable person who I’m sure would be happy to personally pass along his knowledge in that insane game as well.
Lastly, Linde is a regular attendee at Cardplayer Lifestyle’s Mixed Game Festivals and will happily autograph your copy of his book as well as help you get your reps in in the low-limit mixed game streets.