Going Platinum: Las Vegas Mixed Game Festival Features PokerStars Platinum Pass Up For Grabs

For the next two and half months, Las Vegas becomes the focal point of the poker world. The World Series of Poker begins on Thursday and thousands of players will head to the Rio to chase gold bracelets and hefty payouts.

However, one “small” series at the Westgate has a chance to upstage the action for at least a day or two. Robbie Strazynski’s Cardplayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival runs Oct. 4-7 and awards the first PokerStars Platinum Pass in 18 months.

A $200 HORSE tournament closes out the series Oct. 7 with quite a return on investment for one lucky player. In 2020, the site awarded numerous passes for the record-setting PokerStars Players Championship in the Bahamas.

Another event was set for Barcelona, but has been postponed due to COVID. A Platinum Pass comes with a complete buy-in and travel package for the event, a value of €30,000

Strazynski’s poker festival will have a huge impact for one player and his site has come a long way from humble beginnings.

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Blog side project to full-time poker career

A longtime recreational poker player, Strazynski couldn’t have imagined his side project would come so far. He began Cardplayer Lifestyle as a small blog in November 2009.

“Until 2017 it was kind of a nights and weekends project for me, where I did the overwhelming majority of the writing when I wasn’t working at my full-time job,” he says. “Over the years, as my site attracted more visitors, it gradually morphed from just being a poker blog into a proper poker media outlet.”

In March 2017, Strazynski took a major leap – quitting his job to run the site full time. He now has several contributing writers, with content ranging from strategy columns to lifestyle features to interviews and news briefs.

The site also recently underwent a complete redesign for the first time in five years. That included a new look, layout, and logo.

Twelve years later, the Cardplayer Lifestyle festival in Las Vegas will really make someone’s Platinum Pass dream come true. Did Strazynski ever envision something like this when he started the site?

“That wasn’t even a twinkle in my eye,” he laughs. “Back when I started the site, it was on a whim, after having a casual conversation with an old buddy of mine who actually co-founded it with me.

His friend basically told Strazynski that since he was into poker and knew how to build websites, he should go for it.

Cardplayer Lifestyle’s journey is most certainly an unconventional one, but I’m absolutely loving this ride and am supremely grateful for where it’s taken me thus far,” he says. “The site and brand’s growth has been 100 percent organic, and I’m thrilled to be at the point where expanding into live events for the first time is honestly just a natural progression of everything I’ve worked toward until now.”

Poker for a Platinum Pass and overcoming COVID setbacks

This won’t be the first mixed games meet-up for fans of Strazynski’s site. He began running a few days of mixed games at the Westgate a few years ago. The property worked out well as it didn’t have any summer series to conflict with.

“In the past, I’ve played a lot at Westgate and I always enjoyed my time there,” he says. “The staff was always super friendly and they’ve always been very accommodating to mixed game players. Anyone who attends the Mixed Game Festival can expect to be treated well.”

Having PokerStars involved isn’t new either and the company has provided prizes in the past. This year’s top prize really ups the ante.

“They were the first organization I turned to when looking for a title sponsor for the festival and they couldn’t have been more enthusiastic about it,” Strazynski says.

“While my earnest hope was that they’d offer some nice prizes, they totally blew my mind when offering the Platinum Pass. Plus, they’re also sending over a bunch of swag bags with merchandise from the Stars Store for me to give away throughout the festival.”

 Like much of the poker world, plans for the series turned out a bit differently than planned. The festival was originally scheduled for June 2020 . He’d been about 24 hours away from publicizing the news of the Platinum Pass.

That didn’t happen and Strazynski stayed tight-lipped about his plans for another year and a half.

“I never gave up hope, though, and remained in contact with both PokerStars and Westgate throughout that time,” he says. “Thankfully, they were unwavering in their support, which absolutely means the world to me.”

What to expect at the festival

The Mixed Game Festival will fittingly feature – mixed games. It’s a low roller get-together with plenty of $4/8 cash games. The WSOP should be the main attraction in town, but the festival offers a fun getaway from the action at the Rio.

“A number of well-known poker players and industry personalities have told me privately that they plan on stopping by at some point to mix it up a little,” Strazynski says. “They know that they can expect to have a super fun time, and that’s something that’s universally appealing.”

The added bonus of a Platinum Pass may coax quite a few players away from the Rio to the 18-table confines of the Westgate. For those enjoying some of the cash game action, each day feature a “kickoff event” including:

  • Dylan Linde Mastering Mixed Games book signing – Oct. 4 at 11 am
  • Eli Elezra autobiography Pulling the Trigger book signing –  Oct. 5 at 11am
  • Q&A with Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson and Women in Poker Hall of Famer Jan Fisher on on all things mixed games – Oct. 6 at 11 am

All proceeds of book sales will be donated to the Westgate Resorts Foundation. The group contributes to nonprofit organizations in the resorts’ local communities.

Beyond the PokerStars merchandise, prizes also include swag from Faded Spade Playing Cards, RunGoodGear.com, and BBO Poker Tables.

Strazynski at one of his site’s previous mixed games meet-ups.

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For the love of mixed games

Mixed games have certainly grown in popularity in recent years. For Strazynski, this year’s festival may be the culmination for his own love of games beyond Texas Hold’em. He’s hoping there is a real camaraderie at the festival with a home game vibe.

“I’ve always been a huge proponent of mixed games and have used my Cardplayer Lifestyle platform to promote them to a great degree over the years,” he says. “When hosting podcasts I also usually try to fit in some mixed games questions and discussion.

“I’d like to think my mixed game advocacy has attracted a very loyal, niche audience within the poker community. And I’m grateful to have the opportunity to move into the realm of putting on branded live mixed game events for that audience.”

Strazynski adds one more note about what players can expect: “It’s going to be a blast!”

* Players earn extra starting chips for the HORSE tournament for five hours of Dealer’s Choice cash game play during the first three days of the festival. Players can earn a maximum of 25 hours for double the starting stack.

* Images courtesy Cardplayer Lifestyle