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Australian Jeff Rossiter on Breaking into Global High-Stakes Scene
Joe Hachem might be the most famous Aussie poker player but over the last few years Jeff Rossiter has certainly been the most prolific.
In 2013 alone Rossiter posted almost $4 million in tournaments results, most of which came when he claimed over $3 million for winning the GDAM High Roller in Macau.
Rossiter is up to over $5.5 million in tournament results. That’s enough to have surpassed five-time bracelet winner Jeff Lisandro and Tony G to sit second on Australia’s all-time tournament money list.
Poker fans know there are a lot of Germans and North Americans playing the High Roller and Super High Roller events around the world, but interestingly Rossiter is essentially the only Australian who regularly plays these tournaments.
Jeff Rossiter talked to us about this at the 2014 WSOP APAC, along with delving into why he thinks that’s the case and his overall mindset in finding himself in the world of poker high rollers.
PokerListings.com: You haven’t been playing all the tournaments here at WSOP APAC so far. Is there a reason for that?
Jeff Rossiter: There has just been some really good 25/50/100 PLO games running at the moment.
With a game like that is running it’s just going to be easy to choose that over the small tournaments. Especially when the swings of the cash game are in the vicinity of third place money.
PL: Even the allure of a bracelet doesn’t get you away from a good cash game?
I would like to play these events I suppose, but there isn’t a huge motivating factor to get me to play them. I haven’t always chosen better cash games over a tournament. Like as an example this week I am probably going to play the $5K PLO bracelet event and there will probably be better cash games to play.
PL: You will also obviously play the $25K High Roller. There will probably be lots of locals in that one, but really you are pretty much the only Aussie that regularly plays the bigger High Roller and Super High Rollers overseas.
Yeah that’s probably true.
PL: Are you mindful of that? Do you think there is a reason there aren’t more Aussies in these tournaments?
Well maybe it’s just that we are a long way away from where most of them are hold. There’s just aren't that many Aussies even playing EPTs. I think on average there are four to six Aussies at each stop.
PL: But you travel to the stops and play them. Was it a conscious goal or decision to move into that High Roller territory of poker?
I didn’t really make any big decisions. I went to Macau at the end of the year I had that first big score at the Aussie Millions. There was some good games there, so I decided to stay there for the next couple of years.
Then I started playing EPTs and became friends with some of the better tournament players, the euros and all the North Americans.
PL: Is having these relationships with those kind of players a motivating factor that has you playing these events? Because there are probably some Aussies who are rolled or could get staked to play the tournaments, but just don’t have those relationships.
I don’t think that’s necessarily true. I just think there are two basic steps. Firstly, being friends with these players means I have learned a lot and gotten a lot better at poker.
But then it’s a huge amount of action to sell if you want to play a $100K, so then you need to have friends willing to take those big pieces and stuff like that.
PL: So do you think that there are some Aussies who could play these events if they just went out and basically networked a little more?
Maybe. It’s definitely plausible. I don’t think I’m leaps and bounds better than all the Aussies who play poker or anything.
PL: Before that Aussie Millions result you alluded to, did you set a goal to one day play in the biggest games and the biggest tournaments?
Of course you have small dreams that everyone involved in the poker community probably has, but that score was very early in my poker career, so I hadn’t like set any fixed goals. I was just like, this is something I’m doing for now to make money.
PL: In previous interviews you have been very honest with selling pieces of your action and being open about the fact that you haven’t won as much money as the results suggest. Do you wish everyone was more open about this?
I don’t think it’s a big deal. It’s not a poker specific thing. Lots of people don’t discuss their income in all kinds of jobs, which is a very normal thing I think. It’s just not something that personally concerns me, but I am happy to be open and honest about my results.
PL: The Aussie Millions result wasn’t that long ago and before then you had barely posted any results. Do you ever step back and think it’s surreal to playing these giant buy-in events?
There certainly have been a few times where I’m like, “Oh wow!”
My group of friends have all been playing poker for like eight to ten years and stuff and they often discuss the old days stuff. I didn’t even know the rules of the game in the times they are talking about.
So it is interesting that I’ve managed to fall into this group of very experienced and very, very good poker players.