What would you do if you’d just won your first Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title at 3AM? If the answer isn’t to go and wake up everyone in the house to celebrate, you might be doing it wrong.
“I don’t think my parents realised the magnitude of what I had just done,” says Mason Pye, the 24-year-old Twitch streamer (pyefacepoker) and Team PokerStars Pro (“Pye_Face21”) who took down a $109 buy-in Stud event for $6,729 and his maiden major title on Monday (April 19).
“They just saw that I was very happy and immediately they were happy. The fact I was able to share that moment on stream was awesome as many poker players know that getting their parents approval for being a poker player is not something that they can accept straight away. However, my parents have always been supportive of what I do and I explained after the stream what SCOOP was and how it’s such a prestigious series for poker players.”
Pye is a cool customer, but taking down a SCOOP live on stream will warm even the iciest competitors. It was clear from the moment the table said ‘WINNER’ in gold lights that winning this title means the world to him.
“I’ve had many near misses in the past where I’ve fallen just short of a SCOOP final table, including this year in Event 12-M ($109 5-card Draw),” he says. “It was becoming a meme where I would just bottle all of these big spots, so just getting to the final table was a huge relief. However, the fact that I went on to win the whole event was very special to me and a moment that I will not be forgetting for a long time.”
Interestingly, Pye doesn’t even consider stud to be one of his strongest games. “I actually never play stud tournaments,” he says. “The only time I get to play it is in the 8-Game and HORSE rotation. However, funnily enough, I play many Omaha8 tournaments and it is still one of my worst games. Stud will now always have a special place in my heart. I have finally joined the Stud Club!”
Pye began taking poker seriously when he was studying Computer Science at the University of Exeter. He’d even say he focused more on poker and streaming than he did his degree–not something he recommends (“Education comes first, kids”). Like most of us, he began playing No Limit Texas Hold’em, but as time went on he began playing more and more mixed games, ultimately to the point where he barely plays hold’em at all.
“Mixed games are so much fun, I highly recommend people try them out,” he says.
The event he won was full of mixed game crushers, with the likes of Joao “Naza114” Vieira, Patrick “pads1161” Leonard, and Talal “raidalot” Shakerchi–all multiple SCOOP winners in varying poker formats–running deep. But Pye was able to weather the storm and finish on top of the 351-strong field.
“The Mixed Games fields are always tough,” he says. “Even high stakes hold’em players get involved as they want to accumulate leaderboard points. As for the event itself, I dusted off my first bullet in the space of 15 minutes at which point I decided it was best to end the stream for the evening.
“I then re-entered off-stream and was building a nice stack up to the Final 20 of which then I decided to fire up the stream again. It was sweaty on the final table bubble and the final table itself was very tough with previous SCOOP winners and mixed games crushers. We persevered and the cards fell in my favour.”
Now he has a shiny new SCOOP Prestige Badge next to his name, Mixed Game Movement avatar, and red spade. “Ever since these Prestige Badges have rolled out on Stars, I’ve always wanted a SCOOP or WCOOP to show on the tables,” he says.
Pye isn’t planning on stopping at one SCOOP title though. He’ll be going to battle for the rest of SCOOP and all of the big series this year, seeking more badges for his collection. But unlike hold’em, mixed games don’t have the study material so openly available to players. So how does a mixed game specialist master their craft?
“Studying mixed games is pretty tough since there are few resources out there,” says Pye. “However, with so many SCOOP and WCOOP final table replays on YouTube, all you have to do is watch one of those and you will learn so much. If anyone out there is looking for free material, that would be the best place to begin.
“In addition, the PokerStars channel has been broadcasting some of the mixed games final table replays from this year and have been commentated over by Maria Ho, plus Benny “RunGodlike” Glaser [who won his sixth SCOOP title last night] and Calvin “cal42688” Anderson [The greatest SCOOP player of all time] who are fantastic mixed games players with multiple ‘COOP titles.”
Pye’s Mixed Game Movement is moving in the right direction. The next stop? More titles.