Watch out, WSOP – the online kids know the mixed games!

Watch out, WSOP – the online kids know the mixed games!

Monday, 20 June 2011

“Genius28” was a name you often heard in online poker circles, especially a few years ago when this player was considered one of the fiercest opponents you could face across the virtual felt. A hugely successful cash game player who took on all comers at the highest stakes available, he also had hundreds of thousands in Sit ‘n’ Go and MTT profits. In short, if you played online poker and admired the high stakes Gods, you knew the name Genius28.

You didn’t know the name Christopher Lee. I certainly didn’t know his real name until just this morning when I found out he had won the $2,500 10-Game Mix Event, battling through a field of veterans in not only the typical online games of No-Limit Hold ‘em and Pot-Limit Omaha but also Limit Hold ‘em, Stud, Stud 8, Badugi, Razz, 2-7 Triple Draw, Omaha 8 and 2-7 NL Draw.

That got me thinking – how many players have we seen make final tables so far this WSOP? Dozens, hundreds of players have made deep runs in not only the $1,500 donkaments but also five-figure buy-in mixed game championships and smaller Stud, Omaha 8, what-have-you events. I took a quick gander and applied some of the better-known nicknames to some deep finishers in non-NL and PLO events:

3/963 in $1,500 Omaha 8 – Matthew “Poligraph” Waxman
1/357 in $1,500 Stud 8 – Eugene “MyRabbiFoo” Katchalov
4/357 in $1,500 Stud 8 – Jonathan “EMSBas” Spinks
1/266 in $1,500 2-7 Single Draw – Matt “pez102” Perrins
4/202 in $10,000 Omaha 8 – Richard “chufty” Ashby
1/337 in $3,000 Limit Hold ‘em – Team 888 Pro Tyler Bonkowski
2/337 in $3,000 Limit Hold ‘em – Brandon “b7zzy” Demes
1/963 in $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. – Aaron “NDGrinder59” Steury
1/354 in $2,500 6-max Limit Hold ‘em – Darren “DooshDotCom” Woods
1/126 in $10,000 Stud Championship – Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
7/153 in $10,000 Limit Hold ‘em – Isaac “ilvthewnba” Haxton
6/153 in $10,000 Limit Hold ‘em – Justin “BoostedJ” Smith
1/431 in $2,500 10-Game Mix – Chris “Genius28” Lee
4/431 in $2,500 10-Game Mix – Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb

Bearing in mind that I just had a quick skim through the list for names I recognised or could easily look up, that is an impressive amount of online presence at events more typically thought of as the “old school’s” domain.

To have a 24-year-old online grinder win the $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. or the Stud 8 event is not really something you expect. Also, a lot of other final tablers could be online giants as well – before the PCA this year you couldn’t have told me with 100% certainty that Joe Bloggs who just won his first bracelet wasn’t Isildur1.

Obviously, mixed games have been in vogue online lately, starting off with the nosebleed games on Full Tilt and PokerStars and trickling down from there. That said, I log on to PokerStars now and I see hundreds of NL tables running, barely a dozen 8-Game Mix or H.O.R.S.E. table across all limits. Clearly, the 21st century online poker generation is one of big bet, Pot-or-No-Limit poker.

Black Friday is clearly a factor in the presence of online kids at mixed games final tables with many midstakes grinders perhaps taking one last shot at getting enough income for the next couple of years while they ponder what to do with their lives post-April 15th (get a job, ya bums!). However, that doesn’t explain why so many of them are good at it.

The reason they are good at mixed games is the same reason they are so good at NL and PLO. The online generation analyse, study, run equity calculations and assign ranges while making poker as solvable as possible – poker is poker, whether you get door cards or hole cards, a flop or a board, you river someone or you beat them on the draw.

So what does this mean for the mixed games? Are we going to see 4-bet bluffs and quadruple-barrelling in Seven-Card Stud? We’ll have to wait and see.

Tags: Editorial, Matt Perry, WSOP, Christopher Lee