It was 6:01 am when Mason “pyefacepoker” Pye went to bed last night, outrageously late for someone who had a three-handed final table to play out later that same day.
But Pye hadn’t been out partying. He went to bed so late because the €550 HORSE event he was running deep in had played well into the early morning hours. It was, after all, supposed to be a one-day affair, and many players had flights booked for today. They needed it done and dusted and refused to call it a night.
But when action got three-handed, the remaining finalists–Pye, Viljami Rapinoja and Robert Kaggerud–came to an agreement. None of them had commitments today, so they decided to pause and come back rested.
Pye bagged the overnight chip lead with more than half of the chips in play. And just 40 minutes after play resumed this afternoon, he was the champion, winning €17,290.
“It’s just incredible, mate,” Pye tells us, clearly over the moon. “To win a mixed game event really means a lot to me. I’m really, really happy.”
Pye is best known for streaming mixed games on his Twitch channel, and he’s enjoyed great success doing so. In 2021, he won a Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title for $6,729, and in this year’s edition of SCOOP he made two big final tables. The PokerStars Team Pro takes pride in introducing people to mixed games and broadening their poker horizons.
But alas, there just aren’t many live mixed games spread in Europe, let alone England where Pye lives. Incredibly, this is only Pye’s second live cash, his first coming a few weeks ago at UKIPT Nottingham where he min-cashed the Main Event (much to tablemate Spraggy’s chagrin).
“This is also the first EPT festival that I’ve played at,” Pye says. “I played the €1K 8-Game at the start of the series and dusted two bullets, then I had to wait 10 days for this event because I don’t really play hold’em. Now here we are!
“This whole event was so much fun. There was so much table chatter, so many people coming from a hold’em background with no idea how to play, which is good, but it’s also nice to teach them and show them the ropes. I think everyone enjoyed it. Hopefully, we see more of them at EPT London.”
Play returned to an Omaha orbit in which Pye extended his chip lead. Things went the other way for Finland’s Rapinoja and he dropped down to less than half a big bet. He was eliminated in third in a razz hand not long after, picking up €7,720.
That took it heads-up and Pye maintained a dominant chip lead. Kaggerud managed to double up in the first of hand of heads-up play but could never gain enough momentum to even the scores. Then it all came to an end in a stud hand.
Mason Pye – [X][X] / 9♦ 3♠ 2♣ K♥ / [X]
Robert Kaggerud – [X][X] / 4♠ Q♥ 7♠ A♣ / [X]
Pye brought in with a four and Kaggerud bet with the nine. Pye called and both players checked fourth street. Pye then check-called a bet on fifth street before setting Kaggerud all in on sixth street, which was called. Seventh was dealt and Pye showed the 8♠ 8♥ 3♥ for two pair (eights and threes), while Kaggerud showed A♦ 3♣ 5♣ for a pair of aces. He’d have to settle for the €10,810 runner-up prize.
When Pye realised he was the champ, his eyes filled up and the crowd cheered. There to celebrate with him was a rail featuring many familiar faces, including his fellow PokerStars Team Pros Nick Walsh and Sebastian “peace&loove” Huber. But also present were two of the best mixed game players in the world: Tobias “Senkel92” Leknes and Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser.
“They’re big inspirations of mine,” Pye says. “They’re some of the most decorated COOP champions of all time. I look up to them.”
It turns out that Leknes had skin in the game on both sides of the heads-up match. Pye is obviously a friend and Leknes has made appearances on his Twitch stream, but the runner-up–Norway’s Kaggerud–is also his roommate on this trip. (“He’s a fantastic player,” Pye adds. “A real struggle to have heads-up.”)
During our interview, Benny Glaser arrives to give his congratulations to Pye. It turns out that Glaser–who has four World Series of Poker bracelets–has been encouraging Pye to head out to Las Vegas for a while. After all, the WSOP is the Graceland of mixed game players.
“People have been banging on at me and telling me to go and play the $1,500 events,” Pye says. “Benny’s been telling me you’ve gotta go, gotta go, gotta go. I’ve pushed it back and pushed it back but maybe now this has given me the confidence.
“Maybe it’s beginner’s luck, but I definitely think I’ll have to go out and try to win a bracelet next year.”
And the Mixed Games Movement keeps moving forward.
EPT Barcelona €550 HORSE (#42)
Dates: August 18-19
Prize pool: €69,600
1. Mason “pyefacepoker” Pye (UK) – €17,290
2. Robert Kaggerud (Norway) – €10,810
3. Viljami Rapinoja (Finland) – €7,720
4. Luis Pinho (Poland) – €5,940
5. Andreas Samuelsson (Sweden) – €4,570
6. Frederic Vacher (France) – €3,520