If you thought Australian poker was just about the annual Aussie Millions in Melbourne and not much else - think again. Aussie pros have been taking down pots and storming the tourneys for decades!
So, who fills the top five in our all-time greatest pros from Down Under, and who is pushing (kind of) for a place in Australian poker history?
- Joe Hachem
- Career Earnings: $11,828,080
- Major Results: 2005 WSOP Main Event (1st - $7,500,000); 2006 WPT Doyle Brunson North American Championship (1st - $2,207,575)
Australian pro, Joe Hachem, shot to the top of the all-time poker money-winners' list – as well as the Aussie top spot – by taking down the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event title. Hachem beat 5,618 other players en route to the final, surviving a tough final table that also included Steve Dannenmann, Mike Matusow and Andy Black. The Melbourne man showed the win was no fluke just a year later when he won his first World Poker Tour title for a $2,207,575 haul. Hachem continues to cash regularly in tournaments around the world, despite his long-term sponsorship by PokerStars recently coming to an end.
- Tony G
- Career Earnings: $4,862,340
- Major Results: 2005 European Poker Championships (1st - $456,822)
This outrageous Lithuanian-born Aussie may not have the raft of WSOP and WPT titles that some of his generation do, but there's no doubt that Antanas Guoga is a legend in the poker community. Tony has fingers in many pies – most notably his involvement with Pokernews.com and his mentoring of the Lithuanian national basketball team, but it's his showmanship at the poker felt that grabs headlines. Tony's performance at the 2004 WPT Grand Prix de Paris – where he finished runner-up to Surinder Sunar – is still infamous for the trash talking masterclass on show. Make sure you check out his psychological pummelling of Frank Perry at the 2006 InterContinental Poker Cup by imploring the show organizers to "bring more Russians on."
- Mel "Silver Fox" Judah
- Career Earnings: $3,543,759
- Major Results: 1989 WSOP $1,500 Seven Card Stud (1st - $130,800); 1997 WSOP $5,000 Seven-Card Stud (1st – $176,000); 1997 WSOP Main Event (3rd - $371,000); 2003 WPT Legends of Poker (1st - $579,375)
The Calcutta-born "Silver Fox" is one of the true legends of Aussie poker, who first took up the game as a teenager, and has been cashing on the circuit since the 1980s. WSOP and WPT bracelets litter Mel's tourney achievements, but it's his third place in the 1997 WSOP Main Event that is most notable – not for the third place, but that it came in the same year Stu Ungar went on to take down the tournament. Despite his advancing years, Judah continues to make big scores around the world.
- Jeffrey Rossiter
- Career Earnings: $5,332,049
- Major Results: 2013 GuangDong Asia Millions (2nd - $3,155,887)
Aussies have found fertile ground in the big-money tournaments popping up across Asia over the past few years, and Jeffrey Rossiter is no different. Having only been about on the live circuit for four years, he's already shot up to second in the Aussie all-time money list. Rossiter's $5 million career haul has been padded out somewhat by a second place in this year's GuangDong Millions in Macau, but he's also cashed on the European Poker Tour and WSOP. An aggressive young pro, Rossiter is certainly the future of Australian poker.
- Billy "The Croc" Argyros
- Career Earnings: $1,177,512
- Major Results: 2008 WSOP $10k Pot Limit Omaha Championship (4th - $268,605)
Love him or hate him, the outgoing Aussie is as much a presence at the table as his compatriot, Tony G. A mainstay of Aussie poker – particularly the Aussie Millions where he's cashed numerous times – "The Croc" continues to make cashes Down Under and abroad.
And one for the future...?
- Shane Warne
- Career Earnings: $46,101
- Major Titles: none
Arguably Australia's greatest ever spin bowler, the retired cricket legend has turned to his new passion – poker – with the same enthusiasm that saw him take over 1,300 wickets during his career. Warne has some decent results to his name – third place in a $10,000 Hold'em tournament in Oz recently, but it's his new link-up with leading online poker site, 888, that has seen his poker stock rise.