Gambling represents one of the favorite pastimes in Australia. From land-based casino entertainment to online pokies, it’s no secret that Aussies like to test their luck.
Therefore, it is not surprising that poker quickly gained popularity in the nation after it took off in the mid-2000s. It didn’t take long for the game to amass a sizable fan base, with participants playing it both in real life and online.
In the process, Australia has developed a sizable number of skilled players whose accomplishments place them in the elite, limited circle of poker players. In this essay, I’ll examine the top five Australian poker players who have achieved fame both domestically and internationally.
You might not be able to. Sincerely, I don’t see the appeal in that. For instance, you might be curious as to why the individuals on my list of the top Australian poker players merit their positions. Even if you are only somewhat familiar with some of the names, just throwing them at you will not work. If you arrived here by mistake, consider staying and exploring the top poker sites. You might pick up a new skill. After all, knowledge is power.
➢ Joe Hachem
Joe Hachem, a former chiropractor from Melbourne, made headlines in the poker industry when he captured the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event for US$7.5 million. Hachem proved he wasn’t a one-hit wonder by winning the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, one of the biggest tournaments on the World Poker Tour, the following year, earning a first-place prize of more than $2.2 million.
Now 48 years old, The Lebanese-Australian professional has several six-figure wins to his credit and is ranked 14th all-time in money won by poker players with approximately $12 million in lifetime victories. Both Tony, Hachem’s brother, and Anthony, his nephew, are skilled poker players who have each claimed victories on the coveted Australia and New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT).
Hachem defeated some of the world’s top poker players, including buddy and 2004 WSOP main event champion Greg Raymer, to win the 2007 Poker Stars Asia Pacific Poker Tour Tournament of Championships.
Hachem gained more notoriety by participating in season five of High Stakes Poker, which had a $200,000 minimum buy-in and was broadcast on the Game Show Network. In the same year, he also created the Australian reality program The Poker Star, which focused on discovering the next great poker player.
Although he is ranked first in Australia for live tournament earnings, he is only ranked 16th overall, which makes him a potential contender for the title of best poker player in the world. He also holds the 24th spot globally in terms of popularity.
➢ Jeffrey Rossiter
Despite being in his early 20s, Jeffrey Rossiter has earned more money than the majority of Australian poker players. His earnings from live tournaments total $5,631,092.
At the 2011 Aussie Millions tournament, where Australian poker player David Gorr (who won the $2,000,000 first prize) and British poker player James Keys defeated Rossiter, many people first heard of him. He did receive $700,000 for third place, though.
In 2013, When Rossiter won $3.2 million for finishing second in the Guandong Asia Millions, a competition hosted in Macau, he hit the jackpot in terms of monetary gains. It’s extremely impressive to be so young and land directly behind Joe Hachem on our list.
The most amazing thing is that Rossiter only began playing at the age of 18, or about six to seven years ago, and he has already amassed millions of dollars. He claims he began to pick up the game when buddies began bringing home poker sets with low buy-ins to play for amusement.
Even though he is the 302nd most popular person in the world, this may be due to his young age and short lifespan.
➢ Gary Benson
Gary Benson, who is regarded as one of the best Australian poker players of all time, has been playing since the inaugural casino event in Tasmania in 1981. He was known as “OzGary” and won the Seven Card Stud tournament in 1996, earning a cash prize of $148,200. He was the first Australian to win the famous gold bracelet.
He participated in the 1987 first Australian Poker Championship and took home the title 10 years later, in 1997. He also won the Australian National Champion in Canberra in 2000, bringing his lifetime prize money from tournaments to over 1.9 million dollars.
➢ Robert Campbell
We absolutely had to include the current – reinstated – WSOP Player of the Year, Robert Campbell, on our list of well-known and prosperous poker players from Australia. Campbell had the POY lead after winning two WSOP bracelets in Las Vegas, but he was aware that the only way to maintain it was to travel to Rozvadov and fend off challenges from Shaun Deeb and Daniel Negreanu.
Even though there was a brief glitch that resulted in the WSOP initially awarding the championship to “DNegs,” Campbell handled the commotion of Negreanu vs. Deeb superbly, maintaining his composure and building up the points he needed to stay ahead at the end.
➢ Michael Addamo
The #1 spot on the Australia All-Time Money list is claimed by Hachem and. The young gun has plenty of time to become the new fans’ favorite even though he doesn’t have the same notoriety as the Main Event champion.
Addamo already has three WSOP bracelets, the most recent of which he won in this year’s WSOP by winning the $50,000 High Roller event and earning more than $1.1 million in the process. His total tournament winnings currently total more over $15.7 million, and that sum is only going to rise.
The young Australian sensation is still largely unknown. In his teen years, he was a competitive chess player who later converted to poker. It’s unclear whether he enjoys playing Australia online pokies or what his other interests are, but his followers will likely learn more about them as Addamo isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
➢ Jeff Lisandro
Jeff Lisandro, another outstanding poker player from Australia, is well-known both within and outside of the country. Despite having “just” $5.7 million in live poker tournament winnings, Lisandro is the proud owner of six WSOP bracelets and one WSOP Player of the Year award.
He excels at other poker variants like PLO and 7 card stud, showing that his abilities go well beyond Texas Hold’em.
While poker is his primary focus, Lisandro is no stranger to other forms of gambling, and it’s safe to assume he’s had his ups and downs playing pokies (like most Aussies).
It’s important to say that his tournament results don’t paint the full picture. Lisandro has always been a cash game specialist, playing tournaments on the side. With that fact in mind, his performance over the years has been nothing short of impressive.
➢ Mel Judah
Nobody warned Mel that professional poker is reportedly now a young man’s game. The first Australian to win a WSOP bracelet was “The Silver Fox,” who triumphed in the Seven Card Stud competition in 1989.
In 1997, when he also placed third in the No Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship, he replicated that accomplishment. But Judah has produced some of his best work since the year 2000, including victories in the H.O.R.S.E. tournament at Aussie Millions 2013 and a career-high US $579,375 triumph at the 2003 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event.
But what truly puts him on our list of being one of the best poker players in Australia is that he won the $1100 Omaha Hi-Lo tournament in 2009 at the Aussie Millions event which is held at Crown Casino in Melbourne. There is nothing quite like a win at your local.
Globally, Judah is ranked 516th in terms of popularity out of all the poker players in the world.
➢ Jeff Lisandro
The Perth-born professional is the most successful Australian in World Series of Poker history. He has five bracelets, including three that he racked up in less than two weeks in 2009, which helped him win Player of the Year honors for that year. However, Lisandro’s best performance ever occurred in the 2006 Main Event, where he finished in 17th place and earned more than $650,000.
Lisandro is a well-known cash game player who presently resides in Salerno, Italy. He still plays poker, though, and travels frequently to Australia and the US for the World Series of Poker and Aussie Millions.
➢ Kahle Burns
Kahle Burns is one of the most notable recent Australian winners. Burns burst into the high roller scene two years ago and has won a ton of events since then, including the $25,000 Super High Roller at the WSOP Online in August of this year.
Burns’ largest cash was $1.3 million, which he won in the Triton Macau Main Event in 2017. Burns continues to produce very reliable online and live results and in the future, he may possibly hold the #1 spot on this list. He’s unquestionably getting closer to the man in second place.
➢ Jackie Glazier
Jackie Glazier was a late bloomer on the international poker scene; she only started playing professionally in the late 2010s or early 2011. Amazingly, she didn’t start playing poker until 2008, when she and several pals participated in a $20 home knockout event.
Since then, she has advanced her abilities quickly. She participated in the 2012 Melbourne Poker Championships, placing second in the No Limit Hold’em Joe Hachem Deepstack ($35,000 in prize money) and taking home the $95,000 first-place prize in the No Limit Hold’em Main Event.
Jackie competed in the 2012 World Series of Poker, earning more than $450,000 in a $3,000 bracelet event, and finished 31st in the 2013 WSOP main event (she was the last woman standing). She took home her first gold bracelet in the WSOP Europe Ladies’ Event that same year. Over 1.3 million dollars in prize money from tournaments have been collected by her.
➢ David Steicke
Steicke’s professional poker career took off in 2007, when he finished third in the No Limit Hold’em High Roller Event in Macau and earned six figures. He won the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event two years later, taking home a payoff of AUD $1.2 million, a career high.
Since then, he has participated in Crown Casino’s high-profile tournament three times and made it to the final table in 2011 and 2014. More than 3.4 million dollars have been awarded to him in live tournament prizes during the course of his career.
➢ Jonathan Karamalikis
Jonathan Karamalikis, an Adelaide native, has earned over $6.5 million in online poker earnings and over $4.3 million in live tournament winnings. His biggest cash was a second-place finish in the Bellagio Cup two years ago, where he earned over $500,000, which was more than Patrick Leonard, the event’s victor.
Karamalikis has a big personality, and less than a month ago, he won the main event of the 2019 Victorian Poker Championships for $136,604.
➢ Antanas Guoga
Antanas Guoga, who was born in Lithuania and grew up in Melbourne, Australia, is frequently referred to as the “Mouth from Down Under.” Tony G, a controversial person known for speaking his mind, has had a successful career in both politics and poker.
His best poker performances include placings in the money in Seven Card Stud and Pot Limit Texas Hold’em at the 2004 World Series of Poker, finishing second at the 2004 World Poker Tour Grand Prix de Paris (cash prize: $414,478), taking first place at the 2005 No Limit Hold’em Main Event of the European Poker Championships (cash prize: $456,822), and winning the 2006 Singapore Betfair Asian Poker Tour Championship Event.
Antanas Guoga owns numerous popular poker information websites, has won over 4.8 million dollars in live poker events over the course of his career, and has given the majority of his winnings to charitable organizations. Since then, he has given up playing professional poker in order to concentrate on Lithuanian politics and exercise influence throughout Europe.
Are These the Best Australian Poker Players of All Time?
I fail to understand why the men mentioned above don’t merit that praise. Few people can compete with them due to their accomplishments and professional incomes. Of course, you may argue that a new generation of Australian poker heroes will emerge and influence the game. But at this moment, it’s just speculation.
You better start working if you think you have what it takes to surpass people like Hachem and Addamo. Every journey begins with a single step, but you can always put your knowledge to the test by selecting the top Australian online casino from our list and starting the process.