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The #1 game in all of poker is Texas Hold’em. It is the game responsible for the poker boom and the one most people play. However, mixed games have enjoyed a resurgence in the last decade, highlighted by the PokerGo Tour’s launch of the PGT Mixed Games series.
PGT Mixed Games 2023 kicked off on February 4th and features numerous popular mixed game formats. This type of series draws out the best and brightest in the game, and the early winners in the series reflect this. Shaun Deeb, Eli Elezra, and John Monnette are among the early winners in the series.
The first event of PGT Mixed Games 2023 was a $10k H.O.R.S.E. Event. The World Series of Poker made the format popular in the mid-2000s and is still popular amongst top pros. For this event, 87 entries were collected to create a prize pool of $870,000.
The final table of this first event was unsurprisingly a stacked one. Shaun Deeb came into the final as the chip leader, with David ‘ODB’ Baker right behind. Other players making the final five included Andrew Yeh, Nick Guagenti, and Johannes Becker.
Ultimately, Baker and Deeb faced off heads-up, with Deeb holding a massive lead. Baker tried to make a game of it, but Deeb ran the best during heads-up play. Deeb ultimately sealed the deal to take the first title of the series and the $208,800 top prize. He also received 209 points for the PGT Mixed Games leaderboard.
Eli Elezra has enjoyed a Hall of Fame career and continues to prove himself as one of the all-time greats. On Tuesday, he took down Event #3, the $10k Triple Stud Event. Triple Stud is a rotation game featuring Seven Card Stud, Stud 8 or Better, and Razz.
While not as popular as other forms of poker, this event still drew 60 entries. The final table featured multiple well-known mixed games specialists, including John Monnette, Dan Zack, and Yuval Bronshtein. Eli Elezra came into the final table with the chip lead and stayed at or near the top of the leaderboard the entire time.
Ultimately, it was Elezra versus Yuval Bronshtein heads-up for the title. At the start of play, Bronshtein was the chip leader. The pair decided to chop the prize money and leave $20k to play for up top. This proved a wise move as Elezra came storming back and ultimately won the event. Thanks to the chop, Elezra took home $155k for his victory, which was only $10k more than Bronshtein’s prize. However, Elezra took 180 points for the leaderboard.
John Monnette is one of the top mixed game players in the world, and he has proven that thus far in the series. He made the final table of the $10k 8-Game on Monday and ultimately made it heads-up with Albert Daher. Other players making the final table included Brian Rast, Craig Chit, and Damjan Radanov.
Event #2 was supposed to play to a conclusion on Tuesday, but players decided to delay until Wednesday as they were playing in other events. The two started heads-up play on Monday, with Daher holding a massive lead. However, the pair battled back and forth, and Monnette was able to make a comeback and take his own massive lead.
The pair ultimately halted play on Monday night and were to play on Tuesday. However, the pair instead decided to play it out on Wednesday. It didn’t take long for Daher to pull back to even with Monnette, and it looked like things were going to run long yet again. However, Monnette went on a rush and was able to ride that rush to the title.
John Monnette won $211,200 for first place and received 211 points toward the leaderboard. With final tables in back-to-back events, Monnette now has the lead for the PGT Mixed Games championship. The ultimate winner will receive a $25,000 bonus.