10 best current Australian poker players
10 best current Australian poker players
Estimated reading time 4 minutes
For a nation that loves gambling, Australia is a relative late bloomer on the world poker scene. Since the turn of the millennium, however, Aussie poker has started to make its mark on the global stage in a big way. We take a look at Australia’s best poker players in 2019.
Everyone knows about Joe Hachem and his breakthrough win at the 2005 WSOP Main Event, but he isn’t the only one making waves in the world’s most prestigious live poker tournaments. These are the top 10 active Australian poker pros on the all-time money list.
1. Joe Hachem
A former chiropractor from Melbourne’s northern suburbs, Hachem stunned the poker world when he took out the US $7.5 million Main Event at the 2005 World Series of Poker. He dispelled any notions that he was mere flash in the pan a year later at the 2006 Five Diamond World Poker Classic, banking another $2.2 million. ‘Diamond Joe’ has churned out numerous six-figure finishes over the last decade, including at the 2008 EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo and the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Challenge at the 2012 Aussie Millions. With over $12 million in career earnings to date, he regularly ranks in the top 20 on the all-time poker money list.
2. Jeff Rossiter
Despite his youth and something of a limelight allergy, Rossiter is now widely regarded as Australia’s best live poker player. At 22 he announced his talent with a third-place finish in the 2011 Aussie Million Main Event, and by 24 he was one of the nation’s most successful poker pros after pocketing some US $3.2 million at the 2013 GuangDong Asia Millions. He is a prolific deep runner on the Asian and European poker circuits, so much so that he has already cracked into the all-time top 100 for career poker earnings.
3. Jeff Lisandro
While he may not have a seven-figure payday to his name, the one they call ‘Iceman’ is as consistent a performer as they come. No Australian has collected more World Series bracelets than Lisandro’s five, two of which came at WSOP 2009 in the Seven Card Razz and Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo events. A versatile player who continues to record final-table finishes across several disciplines, the West Australian highlighted the quality of his all-round game by winning the Aussie Millions H.O.R.S.E. title in 2014.
4. Mel Judah
Some say professional poker is now a young man’s game, but nobody told Mel. ‘The Silver Fox’ was the first Aussie to win a WSOP bracelet, taking out the Seven Card Stud event in 1989. He repeated that feat in 1997, when he also finished third in the No Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship. But Judah has produced some of his best work after the turn of the millennium, including a career-high US $579,375 win at the 2003 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event and victory in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament at Aussie Millions 2013.
5. David Steicke
Steicke’s pro poker career got off to a flying start in 2007, when he banked six figures with a third-place finish in the No Limit Hold’em High Roller Event in Macau. Two years later he won the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event, which earned him a career-best AUD $1.2 million pay packet. He has finished in the money at Crown Casino’s top-drawer tourney three times since, reaching the final table in 2011 and 2014. Steicke’s career earnings at the time of writing exceed US $3.4 million.
6. Jonathan Karamilikis
Perhaps better known by the handle ‘MONSTER_DONG’ and variants thereof, Karamilikis is Australia’s most prominent online poker pro. While live poker earnings of over US $2.5 million are nothing to sneer at, his haul of more than $5.9 million in Web-based tourneys puts him among the country’s all-time best earners. The South Australian has claimed top-three finishes in more than 250 real money poker events online, with over 100 outright wins. His best live hold’em result to date came in 2012, when he scored a US $478k return at the ACOP High Rollers Event.
7. David Gorr
The overwhelming majority of Gorr’s career earnings were made at the 2011 Aussie Millions NLH Main Event, where he stunned a talent-packed final table to claim first place and AUD $2,000,000. It’s been slim pickings since then for the stalwart Victorian, whose only cash of 2015 was a 23rd-place finish at the Star Summer Poker Series in Sydney.
8. Grant Levy
Levy burst onto the scene by winning AUD $1 million at the 2007 APPT Main Event in Sydney – just the second cash of his then-fledgling career. He also won top prize at the 2011 ANZPT Main Event and has reached the final table in the main events at both the Aussie Millions in Melbourne and the EPT Grand Final in Monaco. Consistent strong runs in minor tournaments and recurring midweek events have taken his career earnings to well over US $2.2 million.
9. Tyron Krost
Like Mr. Gorr, Krost made the bulk of his US $2.1 million live poker winnings with a victory in the top card at the Aussie Millions. His came a year earlier, in 2010, when he outlasted the likes of Denmark’s Frederik Jensen and Canada’s Sorel Mizzi. Two years later he put in another big performance at the 2012 Tournament of Champions to claim top honours in a field containing stars such as Gus Hansen.
10. Daniel Neilson
One of the few top-line Australian poker pros who has spent most of his career to date on home shores, Neilson is a top prospect with plenty of runs on the board already. He won three live tournaments in 2015, two of which paid six figures, and enjoyed a strong start to 2016 with victory in the $5k No Limit Hold’em at the Australian Poker Challenge in Sydney. Along with Rossiter and Hachem, he currently ranks among the top 500 players in the Global Poker Index.
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