Poker Sites with Mixed Games

Which poker sites offer mixed games?

When most people learn poker, they do so via a game among friends where the rules are loose and new games can be made up and played on the spot.  Transitioning from that spontaneity and variety to the relatively rigid conditions of real money poker played in a casino or online poker can be a bit of an unpleasant shock, and that's likely one of the reasons why mixed games have become so popular in the last few years.  With that increased popularity in mind, let's spend a few minutes walking through an overview of mixed games, an analysis of whether such games are worth your time and a quick review of the top online destinations for mixed game enthusiasts.

What Exactly are Mixed Games?

There is no set definition - a mixed game is simply an agreement between players at a table to rotate the game being played at certain intervals.  Generally, the game will rotate every time the dealer button completes an orbit around the entire table and the mix of games will include some holdem, some omaha and some stud games.  A popular mixed game format is HORSE, which includes: Holdem, Omaha Hi / Lo, Razz, Stud and Eight or better (stud hi / lo).  In the HORSE format, all games are limit games, but there are plenty of mixed game rotations that include a mix of limit and big-bet games.

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What's the Point of Mixed Games?

In a word, variety.  Poker - even action-packed games like Pot Limit Omaha - can get a bit mundane after a few hundred hands of the same old thing.  Mixed games provide enough variety to keep games fresh and interesting, and add entirely new meta-levels to the strategy involved in play.

Many players also appreciate the challenge of mixed games, and the potential for profit that the challenge represents.  Mastering one game at a time is a difficult enough feat, but developing mastery of several games simultaneously is - for many - the mark of the consummate poker professional.

Finally, mixed games serve something of a practical purpose for poker rooms and poker players.  While there may not be enough players to get together a standalone razz game or stud game in a room, merging all of the games together gives everyone a much better chance that some version of the game they're interested in playing will run.  At the same time, such games also serve as introductions for many players to the more exotic games, which helps develop an interest in (and potentially a demand for) games that would otherwise languish.

Is Playing Mixed Games Profitable?

That obviously depends on a great degree on your skill and the abilities of those in the game.  With that said, mixed games do represent a potential avenue to profit for any serious poker player.  Because mixed games often include a selection of very familiar and very exotic games, you'll inevitably find people in the lineup of a typical mixed game that are good at one or two games, but not at the entire spectrum.  These players - who may even be considered very skilled at their primary game - become potential targets in the context of a mixed game, an opportunity you simply wouldn't find at standard tables.

Best Online Poker Sites for Mixed Game Selection

Mixed games players have what amounts to a handful (or less) of choices, and PokerStars is indisputably at the peak of that list.  The site is one of the only to offer dedicated tables for HORSE and HOSE games, along with tables for the increasingly popular 8 game mix.  On top of those cash tables, PokerStars hosts the overwhelming majority of mixed game tournaments found online - including multiple mixed game events during the WCOOP and SCOOP.

The reality of the situation is that it takes a large player base to support even one mixed games format, let alone several at once.  At this point in time, only PokerStars has the traffic required to provide a robust suite of mixed game options.

Top Online Poker Room for US Mixed Games Players

US players find themselves in an unenviable position: No rooms available to players from the United States have the traffic required to support an active mixed games lobby.  Of the major rooms available to US players, Carbon Poker is the only to offer dedicated HORSE tables,  provides the most non-holdem action and the greatest selection of tournaments that involve mixed game play, but the level of mixed game activity at the room is still tepid at best.

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