WSOP: Mixed Games (2000 to present)

[SS] “Our dealer’s choice cash games are a sort of mixed-game event, but we switch games as often as every hand, and it’s not a tournament”, Stan the Stat claimed.

[RR] “And our buyin is a lot smaller”, Roderick the Rock added.

[LL] “And most of the games we play aren’t in the WSOP”, Leroy the Lion contributed. “And that’s despite the fact that we’ve banned wild card games.”

[RR] “After a few hours of Hold ‘Em, I can see why people like the mixed games. Variety is the spice of life.”

[LL] “‘He who controls the Spice, controls the universe.'”1

[SS] “Well, in the World Series of Poker’s universe, mixed games are the new star. The first mixed event was the 2000 Women’s Championship, which paired Seven Card Stud with Limit Hold ‘Em. The following two years introduced S.H.O.E. (Seven Card Stud, Limit Hold ‘Em, Omaha 8, and Stud 8) and H.O.R.S.E. (S.H.O.E. plus Razz). 2008 saw Omaha combined with Pot Limit Hold ‘Em in one event and Stud Hi/Lo in another.

2010 began the megamixes with the Players Championship 8 Game Mix of Limit Hold ‘Em, Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, No Limit Hold ‘Em, Pot Limit Omaha, and Deuce to Seven Triple Draw, and almost every year since then has seen more mixed events with larger game selections, topped by the 2015 Dealers Choice event, which allowed players to choose from a whopping 19 different games. That’s just about every game that’s ever been played at the WSOP except for 5-Card Stud, Ace to Five Draw, and Chinese Poker:2

  • A-5 Triple Draw (Limit)
  • 2-7 Draw (No Limit)
  • 2-7 Triple Draw (Limit)
  • 5-Card Draw (No Limit)
  • 7-Card Stud (High and Hi-Lo, with and without a qualifier)
  • Badugi (Limit; 4-card low triple-draw game where you need one of each suit)
  • Badacy (split pot Badugi and A-5 Triple Draw)
  • Badeucy (split pot Badugi and 2-7 Triple Draw)
  • Big O (Omaha with five hole cards)
  • Omaha (Limit and Pot Limit)
  • Omaha 8 (Pot Limit and No Limit)
  • Razz (Limit; basically A-5 7-Card Stud Low)
  • Texas Hold ‘Em (Limit, Pot Limit, and No Limit)
Game Name Mixed Games
Game Type Various
Game Limits Limit or Various
High or Low Various
WSOP Years 2000 to present
Buyins $1,000 to $50,000
Largest Field 963 (2011 $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event)
Notable Champions Phil Ivey is the king of Mixed Games, having won four WSOP bracelets. John Hennigan, Mike Gorodinsky, and Tom Schneider have won two open events each, while Nani Dollison took down the Women’s event twice when it was Stud/Hold ‘Em. Vanessa Selbst and Carol Fuchs are the only women to have won open Mixed titles.
Basic Rules Each game type is played for one loop around the table before it changes according to rotation or the next player’s choice in Dealer’s Choice games. For televised final tables, No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em is usually played regardless of what variation was supposed to happen.
History Dealer’s choice home games have existed ever since multiple poker varieties have been available. Mixed Games joined the WSOP with the 2000 Women’s Championship and have become increasingly popular during the 21st century.
Notes Mixed games began by just alternating two poker variants. Events consisting of up to six types are usually known by acronyms such as S.H.O.E. (also called H.O.S.E.), H.O.R.S.E., H.O. (Hold ‘Em and Omaha 8), O.E. (Omaha 8 and Stud 8), H.A. (Pot Limit Hold ‘Em and Omaha). Beyond that, the events are simply known by as N-Game Mix, with the rules specifying the games being played.

Footnotes:

  1. Baron Harkonnen uttered these immortal words in the 1984 film Dune.
  2. A few missing limit variations have also been played: Limit Ace to Five Draw, Limit 5-Card Draw, and Pot Limit 5-Card Draw.
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