Ask most poker fans to name the best Australian players and the list likely starts and ends with former world champ Joe Hachem.
For better or worse Hachem is by far the most famous of all Australian pros.
What the average poker fan might not know, however, is that there is an incredibly talented community of poker players who come from the land Down Under.
The isolation of their native land makes it difficult for Aussies to make much noise in the live tournament world but check the online leaderboards and you’ll see the country boosts some good players. Damn good.
Those players will be front-and-center as the World Series of Poker makes its way to Melbourne for the first-ever WSOP APAC. To recognize that historic event we've compiled a list of five Australian players who are poised for breakout performances.
James “Andy McLEOD” Obst
James Obst, known by his ubiquitous nickname Andy McLEOD, has been tearing up the online tournament scene for nearly a decade.
One of the best Australian online players, or maybe even THE best, Obst has done almost everything you could possibly think of online including wins in FTOPS, SCOOP, WCOOP, back-to-back Full Tilt $1k victories, Sunday Million final tables and more.
Obst has also been known to dabble in nosebleed stakes cash games so he won’t shy away from anyone.
Recently Obst went on a very deep run in the Aussie Millions Main Event before finally finishing in 19th place. Well-liked by his peers, there were plenty of Australians rooting for Obst during his run.
Despite winning an APPT high roller event and finishing fifth in the 2011 Aussie Millions $100k Challenge, Obst has yet to take down a major live title.
Obst has been dominating online poker for so many years that he spoke to PokerListings recently about maybe trying something beyond poker.
Don’t be surprised if he impresses at the inaugural WSOP APAC first.
Jonathan “MONSTER_DONG” Karamalikis
Yes Jonathan “MONSTER_DONG” Karamalikis has one of the most ridiculous online names in the history of poker but his poker game is no joke.
He’s one of the few players who’s managed to rack up over $4.3 million in lifetime online tournament cashes according to PocketFives.com.
Some of his online accolades include winning the PokerStars $100 Rebuy, two runner-up finishes in the Sunday 500 and a fourth place finish in the Full Tilt Sunday Brawl.
In the last few years Karamalikis has broken through in the live world too. He won APPT Syndey in 2010 for $454,304 and even more recently, in November to be precise, he won a $240k High Roller event at the Asia Championships of Poker for $478,292.
Karamalikis now has nearly $2 million in live tournament earnings.
There’s no doubt that Karamalikis could make some noise at the 2013 WSOP APAC. Just don’t ask him to change his screen name.
Out of all the players on this list, Andrew Hinrichsen is the only one that’s actually been there before.
Indeed the Melbourne native won his first WSOP bracelet 16,000 kilometers from Australia in Cannes at the World Series of Poker Europe in 2011.
Hinrichsen outlasted 771 entries in the €1,000 opening No-Limit Hold’em event to win $197,748 and the bracelet.
No stranger to WSOP success, Hinrichsen also posted an epic run in the 2011 Main Event in Vegas that saw him finish 23rd to cash for $302,005.
Hinrichsen also has a ton of cashes in Australia so he certainly performs well in his homeland. A former cash game player, Hinrichsen has made the transition to live tournaments look easy.
Now that the WSOP is in his backyard, there’s no telling what Hinrichsen is capable of.
Tom Grigg is yet another talented Australian poker player who has racked up millions playing online.
Known online as Tollgate, Grigg has been extremely hot lately and won the Full Tilt $350k for $71k in March. Winning the FTP $350k was just one of many huge scores the Sydney-native has accumulated with a runner-up finishes in the Sunday Million and Party Poker Monthly Million.
Grigg’s live success isn’t as prevalent but he did come in third in the ANZPT IV Grand Final in Melbourne for $199,542.
Like many poker players Grigg attended university seeking his masters but eventually deferred to try and give poker a shot for a couple years.
It worked out as he’s currently ranked fifth in all of Australia according to the PocketFives leaderboards.
Grigg is also one of the rare players who has amassed over $2.5 million online.
Jackie Glazier stole headlines at the WSOP this summer when she came within one player of becoming the first woman since Vanessa Selbst to win an open-bracelet event in years.
Glazier outlasted 1,392 players only to give up a large heads-up chip lead to Greg Ostrander and fall in second place (On the bright side Selbst would later break her own record later in the series).
Despite the pain of finishing second, Glazier did earn a massive $458,996 score for her efforts.
Although she came to the game late, Glazier is no one-hit wonder and has been racking up live cashes since 2008.
Glazer won the 2012 Melbourne Poker Championships for $98,107. She’s also had some notable runs in the WSOP Main Event with the most recent being a 284th finish in 2012.
Glazier nearly became a professional tennis player when she was younger but found an outlet for her competitive nature in poker.
The Melbourne native’s results have not gone unnoticed. She was signed by the rapidly expanding IveyPoker as one of the company's first team pros.
Beloved by the Melbourne poker playing community, Glazier would bring a massive crowd if she made a final table at WSOP APAC.
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