The inaugural PGT Mixed Games series is officially in the books, and by all accounts, the festival was a marked success. Dan Zack, a professional poker player from Michigan, recently earned the Player of the Series honors in the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, with the kickoff event setting the record for a PokerGO owned-and-operated tournament with 70 unique players. In the end, it was New Jersey poker pro Dan Zack who was crowned the PGT Mixed Games champion. The 30-year-old cashed in five of the eight tournaments held, the most in-the-money finishes of any player. His total earnings of $524,700 were also the highest tally of any competitor. With 352 PGT points secured along the way, Zack was awarded the series champion’s trophy and $25,000 in added prize money as the player of the series.
“It’s incredible. It is so nice to have this,” Zack told PokerGO reporters when asked about this mixed-game-focused festival. “There are no mixed game tournaments outside of the WSOP before this at reasonable stakes. It’s incredible to have another chance a year to play these events, given how fun mixed game tournaments are, and how much demand there is for them in the high-stakes mixed community.”
“I think it’s already becoming more popular each year at the series,” Zack said about the current popularity of mixed-game events. “The numbers have been going up, and the turnout here beat everyone’s expectations. I was trying to get over bets down on all these events before the series started. I think the momentum that is already existing is just going to continue toward mixed games.”
In addition to securing this player of the series award, Zack is also the reigning WSOP Player of the Year, having won two bracelets and cashed for more than $1.4 million across 16 in-the-money finishes last summer. With the more than half a million dollars he secured at this series included, Zack now has lifetime earnings in excess of $3.5 million.
“Unlike the WSOP, there is so little control you have over it because it’s only eight events,” Zack said on if winning Player of the Series was his goal. “At the WSOP, you can play so much volume that you give yourself a really good chance to win. But here everyone can play the same volume, so you really have to run hot. I was very happy to do that. Happy to win it.”
Below is a look at Zack’s five cashes made during the PGT Mixed Games series:
|Event #3: $10,300 Triple Stud Mix||3rd||$84,000||84|
|Event #4: $10,300 Big Bet Mix||8th||$27,600||28|
|Event #5: $10,300 Triple Draw Mix||7th||$34,500||35|
|Event #6: $10,300 Dealer’s Choice||6th||$33,600||34|
|Event #7: $25,500 10-Game Championship||2nd||$345,000||171|
Zack ended up cashing in five consecutive events, missing out on only the first two and the final tournament on the schedule. He recorded his first cash of the series in event no. 3, the $10,300 triple stud tournament. He placed third from a field of 60 entries for $84,000 and 84 points. In the very next event, he added another $27,600 and 28 points with an eighth-place showing in the $10,300 buy-in big bet mix, which drew 69 entries.
The back half of the schedule began with Zack recording another deep run, this time placing seventh in the triple draw mix event from another 69-entry turnout. Zack earned $34,500 when his seven draw was unable to improve enough to beat the jack-six low of eventual runner-up Alex Livingston. Zack also hit the rail in the next event, the dealer’s choice tournament, while playing a lowball draw game. He ran into a 9-8-6-5-4 ion a round of no-limit deuce-to-seven single draw and was knocked out in sixth place ($33,600).
Zack saved his largest payday for last. He finished second from a field of 57 entries in the $25,000 buy-in 10-game championship event, earning $345,000 after striking a heads-up deal with eventual winner Jason Mercier that redistributed the remaining prize money. Zack made it down to the final two with a slight lead, and the final two agreed to flip until a winner was decided. Mercier won the key first pot-limit Omaha flip to gain a commanding chip advantage. Zack doubled up his short stack twice, but ran into a wheel for Mercier on the next all-in and was knocked out in second place.
By making the top two, Zack had officially locked up the win in the points race. Here is a look at the final top ten in the PGT Mixed Games standings:
|5||David ‘ODB’ Baker||268||0||2||$347,400|
Photos provided by PokerGO. Credit to Antonio Abrego.