Mixed Game Festival IV Day 2 Recap: Miami John Cernuto Adds to His Legend

Cardplayer Lifestyle’s Mixed Game Festival IV at Resorts World Las Vegas held its first of two tournaments yesterday. A full house of 61 players entered the $260 Omaha 8/Stud 8 tournament, including a cavalcade of mixed game poker legends and rising stars. A couple tables of $4/8 Dealer’s Choice cash games were also running simultaneously alongside the tournament. Seated amongst the recreational players were Matt Savage, Chip and Karina Jett, Jan Fisher, and Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, as well as Ari Engel and “Miami” John Cernuto. The latter two poker legends would end up playing heads up for the title, with Cernuto ultimately prevailing.

Robbie Strazynski, owner and founder of Cardplayer Lifestyle, is hosting the festival from March 19-23 at Resorts World. The Festival will include cash games and culminate with a $260 H.O.R.S.E. tournament on Thursday March 23rd. In addition to the regular prize pool, the tournament will award EPT Prague prize to the winner, sponsored by PokerStars.

Chuck, Chip, Matt, and Linda

Chuck, Chip, Matt, and Linda

An exciting addition to the Omaha 8/Stud 8 tournament was bubble protection in the form of free poker training memberships donated courtesy of Bubble protection will also be in place for Thursday’s H.O.R.S.E. tournament.’s Justin Saliba also stopped by yesterday with additional free merchandise to hand out to players in bomb pots throughout the festival. Justin is a professional poker player with two WSOP bracelets, and was taught by one of the best. He reached out to Jonathan Little while still in college, offering to intern at the company in exchange for poker coaching. He is now a part of and feels strongly about growing poker and being able to learn to play at a $4/8 level.

Justin Saliba

Me, speaking with Justin Saliba

Justin “just loved coming and playing $4/8 and learning all these different games. And when the World Series comes around (and) there’s a $1,500 O8 tournament I can say I’ve played this before.” Justin shared that he learned poker along with his older brother, and played in a neighborhood game, watching Main Event reruns in the background.

“Book bomb pots” were also a fun addition to the tournament on Monday, with multiple players winning Eli Elezra’s autobiography Pulling the Trigger. Poker Hall of Famer Eli Elezra will be signing copies of his book Tuesday March 21st for a discounted price of $10. Additional book winners included James Basham from St. Louis, who attended Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival III that was held in Malta. He’d already planned a trip to Las Vegas with eight of his friends when he found out about the Festival. He then changed his plans and came to Las Vegas early.

Book Winner

Debi Cheek, Danny Anton, and Clyde Gaskins also won books, with Clyde also winning a sweatshirt courtesy of premium poker industry brands RunGoodGear and PokerGO.

Dylan Linde enjoyed Monday’s festivities and will also be attending the Festival on Tuesday, March 21st, to sign copies of his book Mastering Mixed Games, which will be available for purchase at a discounted price of $25. On Wednesday March 22nd, WSOP bracelet winner Chris Wallace will be signing copies of his book Getting Started With HORSE also at a discounted price of $25.

Jan Fisher

Jan Fisher

A portion of all proceeds derived from book sales will be donated to Poker Gives, a non-profit organization that distributes funds to assist military families, homeless veterans, and youth programs in Las Vegas. Originally founded by Linda Johnson, Lisa Tenner, Jan Fisher, and the late Mike Sexton, Poker Gives is a fully volunteer organization, with every dollar donated going to the cause. During a break in the tournament action, Johnson spoke for a couple minutes about the mission of Poker Gives to the assembled crowd, and about the beauty of being able to assist the homeless community in Las Vegas thanks to the generosity of poker players, who donate both money and time to volunteering for the cause.

The $260 Omaha 8/Stud 8 tournament was not the only action running on Monday. A couple of $4/8 Dealer’s Choice tables were running all day featuring players like Sean McCormack, Director of Poker Strategy at MGM Resorts International, and Ryan Kirk, Director of Poker Operations at the Aria. Cody Meyer from Nebraska was back at the table, along with Ruth Sun from San Jose after enjoying the first day of the festival.

Resorts World has been a huge part of this festival, providing an atmosphere that you can relax in yet feel Leon Wheeler’s superb professionalism as the venue’s Director of Poker Operations.

Leon Wheeler

Leon Wheeler

Miami John Cernuto Wins Another One

After 13 grueling hours weaving and winding his way through the Allen Kessler “Chainsaw approved” tournament structure, “Miami” John Cernuto took down top prize of the day’s tournament at approximately 2:45 am local time.

Some notables making the final table alongside Cernuto were Chip Jett, Women in Poker Hall of Famer Jan Fisher, World Poker Tour Executive Tour Director Matt Savage, and WSOP bracelet winner Ari Engel.

“Old school” defeated the “new school” as Cernuto offered a hearty handshake to Engel when winning the final Stud 8 hand.

Cash games will continue running Tuesday and Wednesday and the grand prize will be handed to the winner of Thursday’s $260 H.O.R.S.E. tournament. The prize will include an EPT Prague prize package for the winner, sponsored by PokerStars. The package, with an estimated total value of over $3,000, will consist of:

  • Mixed Game tournament buy-in up to €550
  • Roundtrip airfare for one
  • Four nights’ accommodation


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Christina Bradfield poker author
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Christina Bradfield

Christina Bradfield is an author currently living in Las Vegas. Her love for poker began at a young age when her mother introduced her to Texas Hold’em in a home game where she learned not to put her cash winnings in her pockets.

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