14/05/2015

Aussie Poker: A Decade after Joe Hachem Passed the Sugar

Michael '007' Lang

Aussie Poker: A Decade after Joe Hachem Passed the Sugar

Ever since Joe Hachem sparked a poker revolution in Australia back in 2005, the country's top tournament talent has been striving to replicate his victory and win a WSOP bracelet. Today, a decade after Hachem won his Main Event bracelet, Aussie grinders from all walks of life have found fame and fortune at the poker table. From bracelet winners to WPT and EPT heroes, Australian poker pros have shown that many a good bluff can be made in the land Down Under.

Sorting the good from the great isn't easy, but it's always fun to speculate which is why we've outlined some of the standout performers of the last ten years. Using a combination of empirical analysis, courtesy of the GPI and Hendon Mob rankings, as well as a player's overall profile, our list of leading Aussies should provide a good account of the country's top talent.

Jeffrey Rossiter

by Abeeeer Currently ranked within the GPI's Australian Top Three, Rossiter is a player with superb skills in the live arena. The young pro's big break came during the 2011 Aussie Millions where he managed to outlast the likes of Chris Moorman and Patrik Antonius to finish third in the Main Event. Despite being unable to overcome James Keys or the eventual winner, David Gorr, Rossiter claimed 4692,315 and the chance to compete on poker's main stage.

Since that breakout performance, Rossiter has gone on to become the top nationally ranked player in Australia thanks to wins on the European Poker Tour (EPT) and the Asia Championship of Poker. In total, Rossiter has banked over $3million and worldwide acclaim thanks to his listing on the GPI's global top 100 players.

James 'Andy McLEOD' Obst

It's impossible to talk about Australian poker, especially online poker, and not mention James Obst. A veritable prodigy when he hit the virtual scene almost ten years ago, Obst has since built up a formidable record both live and online. Hailing from Adelaide, Obst has almost $1million in tournament wins, but it's his online form that's helped him to become a legend in the game.

Playing on a string of sites, including PokerStars, 32Red and Full Tilt, Obst has won multiple high-profile events, including the coveted World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP), Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) and Turbo Championship of Online Poker (TCOOP) titles. During his time online, Obst has banked in excess of $2million in prize money as well as the admiration of players in both Australia and across the world.

Jonathan 'xMONSTERxDONGx' Karamalikis

by  waldo483 Another product of the online poker world, Karamalikis has successfully used his virtual skills to become a force in the live arena. Second only to Rossiter on the GPI's national rankings, Adelaide's Karamalikis scored his first Hendon Mob entry back in 2007, just two years after Hachem's win, but it wasn't until 2012 that he hit the big time. Continuing the trend of Aussies dominating tournaments in Asia, Karamalikis raked in $478,292 after beating Mr. Rossiter in the Main Event of the APPT Asia Championship of Poker.

Online, Karamalikis has been just as dominant over the last five years with multiple final table appearances in the leading events. Thanks to multiple wins, including a Pocket Fives Triple Crown, Karamalikis is one of the biggest winners of all time with over $7.5million in virtual earnings.

Jeff Lisandro

To compile a list of top Australian poker players and not mention Mr. Lisandro would be a crime. Although Lisandro's accolades pre-date Joe Hachem, the veteran pro is still mixing it up with the new crop of talent grinding out results. As well as being one of the leading bracelet holders in Aussie history, Lisandro is known as one of the greatest WSOP players of all time.

Known as much for his fiery temper in years gone by as his ability to read the souls of his opponents, Lisandro has earned $5 million-plus in his career. That makes him one of the leading money winners of all time. Although he has banked a huge amount of money playing Hold'em, Lisandro's best performances have come in the world of mixed games and stud.

Aaron Lim

Using his mathematical prowess to own players at the felt, Lim may be a complete stylistic contrast to a player like Joe Hachem, but he is on his way to becoming just as successful. From his base in Perth, Lim has cashed in tournaments across the Asia-Pacific region but that's just the tip of tournament iceberg. Not afraid to clock up some air miles, Lim has carved out a niche on the European circuit with multiple deep runs in countries such as Italy, France and Germany. Through a combination of domestic and international success, Lim has backed $1.5 million and counting and currently sits among the GPI's top ranked players. Although he doesn't currently have as many high-profile results as Rossiter or Karamalikis, Lim is a hot tip to be a leading light in the Australian grinder over the coming decade.

In the ten years since Joe Hachem put Australian poker on the map, a lot has changed. Although some things haven't been particularly positive, Aussie poker has come into its own over the last ten years and the country's players have certainly established themselves on a world stage. In fact, thanks to the GPI and Hendon Mob, it's now easy to see which players are putting in strong performances and why they are the best in the business.