Mixed Game Festival VIII Day 4 Recap: It Finally Happened!!!

By Mike Patrick
June 20, 2024

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!

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

Our penultimate 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 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.

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:

  • Day 1: maximum 4 active tables (for 6 hours), 2 tables still going at 4:30am, final table broke at 6am
  • Day 2: maximum 3 active tables (for 10 hours), final table broke at 4am
  • Day 3: maximum 3 active tables (for 8 hours), final table broke at 8am
  • Day 4: maximum 3 active tables (for 12 hours), final table broke at 7am
  • Our founder, Robbie Strazynski, has put in the most hours among all players, with 61 spent at the Bellagio’s $4/8 dealer’s choice tables (15, 13, 17, and 16, respectively)

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 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.”

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!



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Mike Patrick poker author
Written By.

Mike Patrick

A veteran of both the Canadian sports media industry and poker scene, Mike has made the jump into poker media with Having worked his way from intern to television producer and from home game hero to semi-professional poker player, Mike brings knowledge and a competitive outlook from his experiences in the newsroom and at […]

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