WSOP Mixed Events Hold Untapped Potential

Frank Kassela
Razz may not be exciting, but the payday is. Just ask Frank Kassela.

Hoping to be the next Cinderella Story bracelet winner? Getting outside the no limit hold’em comfort zone might help in your quest to hit the luck box lottery.

Missoula, Montana native Ian Johnson is the latest unknown twenty something bracelet winner to emerge from nowhere and he didn't even have to outlast 3,000 players to earn his title.

Johnson bested a field of 241 and parlayed his $10k buy in to $612k for the prestigious H.O.R.S.E. World Championship.

Many of the top pros prefer to play in mixed WSOP events like H.O.R.S.E due to the smaller fields they attract. This event was no exception with the likes of Carlos Mortensen and Robert Mizrachi making deep runs.

While competition is often tougher in these tournaments, the smaller turnouts can help any player's chances to avoid the inevitable cooler on day four when there is no day four.  

"You do have to get a little lucky to win any tournament, but this feels really good to be able to hold my own against all the top pros and come out on top," said Johnson of his victory in a pro-laden H.O.R.S.E. field.

Each year the multi-bracelet winners and player of the year candidates emerge not from strictly playing the expansive NLHE donkaments, but instead mixing in the smaller and more strategic stud, razz and Omaha events.

"The mixed events have smaller fields and some of the players don't have the knowledge in other games that they do in no limit hold'em," said Robert Mizrachi, who considers Omaha and stud hi/lo his best games.

While mixed event victories from semi-pros like Johnson and Kassela ought to give up-and-comers reason to dabble outside their comfort zone, Johnson wouldn't recommend jumping head first into a $10k event. "The field is full of pros who all know what they are doing."

Still, WSOP NLHE fields aren't getting noticeably smaller and there is an argument to be made that mixed events remain underappreciated by most amateurs.

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