Thursday, March 26, 2015

Poker SA Classic at the Maylands Hotel

This past week, the team at Poker SA announced the schedule for their biggest tournament of the year - the four day Poker SA Classic Series, running April 15-19 at the Maylands Hotel, in May lands, South Australia.

This series is packed with action, offering a variety of tournaments over the four-day span that are sure to include something for every poker enthusiast.

The SA Classic kicks off on Wednesday, April 19 with a $250 6-handed Pot Limit Omaha event at 4pm, to start a thrilling five days of poker action. The 6-handed tournament offers a $25k starting stack for all players, a deep stack that is typical of SA Classic play, along with 25 minute blind levels. This deep stack format allows players plenty of time to manoeuvre, and guarantees that all players will see plenty of time on the felt.

Thursday's SA Classic slate offers a $300 8-handed Texas Hold 'Em event, with the same format as Wednesday's PLO event - $25k starting stack, and 25 minute blinds. Players will be allowed a maximum of one re-entry into the tournament, up until the first break, when late registration cuts off as well.

Friday is the SA Classic Terminator event, a thrilling No-Limit Hold 'Em poker contest with a twist. Entry to the 4pm tournament is $290. From that $290, each player will have a bounty on them of $80, and for every player you knock out of the tournament, you collect their $80 bounty, in addition to the main prize pool. Starting stacks are once again $25k, with 25 minute levels and one optional re-entry.

Saturday marks the start of headlining event of the Poker SA Classic - the $1,600 No-Limit Hold 'Em Main Event at 12:30pm. This two-day tournament draws a huge field annually, ensuring the winner will take home a big cash from this hefty prize pool. The Main Event is the deepest stack tournament of the series, offering $35k starting stack, 45 minute blind levels and no re-entries. The Main Event will surely test the skills of its entrants, with players chasing a big-time payday. 

The Poker SA Classic rounds out on Sunday with its No-Limit Hold 'Em High Roller Event starting at 3:30pm. The High Roller Event boasts a $2,400 buy-in for serious poker players, with $25k starting stacks, 25 minute blind levels, and no re-entries. 

If all of this great poker action wasn't enough, the Poker SA Classic Series is notorious for its stellar food and beverage services. Every tournament on the schedule comes with premium meals and drinks service, inclusive in the tournament entry fees. The Main Event and High Rollers Event go even beyond that, offering a full silver platter food service during breaks, which is also included in the tournament entry fee. Last year's silver platter even included such delicacies as prawns and lobster tails! 

Players come from across the world to compete in the Poker SA Classic Series, a testament to the fantastic hospitality and tournament action offered at the Maylands Hotel for this series. It is the first of two major events being held by Poker SA this year, with the popular Diamond Series scheduled to run in October.

This article is written by John Hawthorne who writes for When he's not writing about poker or horse racing he can be found at the race track applying his master knowledge about how to break even.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Adelaide Casinos and Other Poker Playing Options

Fortunately for us, we’re not in America and online poker in Australia is legal everywhere. That said, there’s always something appealing about the riffle of real chips and the social interaction you get at a live poker table.

Let’s face it, it can get a little lonely on the keyboard, so meeting some face-to-face poker players is nice. You can a little interaction and banter with your game and watch your opponent’s faces for tells. Something you don’t get to do often online unless you play with a webcam.

If you’re in Adelaide and you want to set down that mouse and take to the real, rather than virtual, felt then what are your best bets? There are some great spots to play poker, and we’ve looked at some of the best below.

SKYCITY Adelaide – Adelaide’s largest casino

The obvious port of call is SKYCITY Adelaide in the historic Railway Station building. South Australia’s premier casino destination is the city’s tenth largest employer and the main venue for live poker in a professional setting you’ll find in Adelaide.

In SKYCITY Adelaide you’ll find the appropriately-named Poker Zone. Located on the casino’s first floor next to the Grandstand Bar, this poker venue offers both cash games and tournaments all week. Their flagship tournament series, the Adelaide Casino Poker Championship, is a highlight of the casino’s tournament offering and features a $2,400 buy-in Main Event.

Other tournaments on offer range from $20 rebuys to a $125 deepstack freezeout and the monthly “Big $2,500 Tuesday”, guaranteeing a first place prize of $2,500 for a $125 buy-in. The tournament calendar keeps things varied, so phone ahead to find out what events are coming up when you plan to head down.

Cash game players will find Hold ’em, Omaha, and Crazy Pineapple on offer. Typically these are $2/$2 blind games with a minimum buy-in of $40 and a cap of $200. You’ll also find a refreshing “Express Table” option with a 20-second shot clock on all decisions – no more twenty-somethings taking six minutes to check back the river! These tables are $2/$3 or $5/$5 for Hold ’em, or $1/$2 for Omaha games. High rollers can find bigger games on occasion, with $4/$8 up to $5/$10 No Limit and $10/$20 Limit running on an irregular basis. Occasionally, $10/$20 No Limit games will run.

Note that the Poker Zone is closed on Sunday and Monday (so you can get your Sunday tournament fix online without missing any live action) and open from 18:00 – 03:30 on weekdays, 18:00 – 05:30 on Friday and Saturday.

Other Adelaide poker games

Fancy something a bit more cheap and cheerful, perhaps away from the bustle of a big casino?

Rivered Poker Thursdays at the Verve Bar & Kitchen, run by the Rivered Poker League, take place at 17:30 each week with a $25 buy-in. Alternatively, 888 Poker Thursdays for $20 at Watermark Glenelg kick off at 19:30, while on Wednesdays the Seaford Hotel runs a $10 game, as does the Emu Hotel.

It’s well worth looking for local poker groups on Facebook – you’ll find many smaller tournaments such as the above running throughout the week.

If your penchant is cash games rather than tournaments then you may not be out of luck, as many cash games tend to spring up around the tournaments above as the early bust-outs get together for more poker fun.

Start your own home game!

Your last recourse is obviously to take matters into your own hands – why not add to the poker games going on around Adelaide?

All you need is a deck of cards, a set of chips, and a table – it doesn’t even need to be a specialised table, though if you want to add to the atmosphere and professionalism of the game it wouldn’t hurt to lay down some green felt, or even buy a poker table if you can.

A few home game tips – if you’re hosting a tournament, make sure to use a sensible blind structure; that is to say, one that doesn’t accelerate too quickly but also won’t take all night to reach the ante stages. It’s helpful to look at the WSOP or similar tournament structures and take inspiration from there.

Also, remember when it comes to chips that less is more – there’s no sense having chips worth $1 and $2, so try to go up in increments of four or five: $1, $5, $25 chips should cover any low stakes game. The less is more mantra also applies to the quantity of chips. It might look cool to have hundreds of chips in each stack but it fast becomes a nightmare to count and stack pots.

Any deck of cards will serve, though ones with large indexes (big numbers) will help. Make sure everyone is familiar with dealing, and remember to have the player to the dealer’s left cut the deck before each round – it’s traditional and safe.

After that you of course need people – again, Facebook is a great resource for finding likeminded players if you don’t have a group of friends interested in playing.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Top 5 Australian Pro Poker Players

Some of the world’s top poker pros call Australia home, and the title of the best is always up for grabs. To help interested players like you, we went through all of the contenders to put together the definitive listing of the top five poker players from Australia. The players that appear on this list are either currently living in Australia or grew up there and moved away later. They are also all current players, so there’s no reason to go and dust off those history books!

We’re sure there will be some people that disagree, but this list is for the Aussie player. We tracked down tournament stats, player reports, and took a good hard look at player potential to make a list that will stand the test of time. Some of these players really obviously fit into this list, but there may be a name or two that you’re not familiar with. Ready to see for yourself? Read on to see who the best poker players in Australia are!

#1 Joe Hachem

The number one spot on this list has to, without a doubt, be awarded to Joe Hachem. His disciplined play style and unwavering poker face led him to become the first Aussie to ever win the WSOP main event (2005). One year later, he followed this up by pulling down another 2.2 million when he took the World Poker Tour title and, in process, he quieted any doubters.

With over $11 million in lifetime tournament winnings, no other player from down under can claim as much prize money. Even when compared internationally, his poker tournament winnings are the 10th highest on the planet! Impressively, he runs a mortgage company when he’s not cleaning up in Las Vegas, and he’s got a happy family with four children.

#2 Mel Judah

Mel Judah has won two separate WSOP bracelets in Seven Card Stud events (1989 in the $1,500 event AND 1997 in the $5,000). In 1997, he sat at the main event table and came in third place, winning $371,000. With over $3 million in tournament winnings spread out over the course of his long career, the Silver Fox is probably the most consistently successful long term player in Australia - and his 36 cashes at the WSOP support that. Interestingly, Judah credits some of his success to the psychological insights he gained in his previous profession as a hairdresser.

#3 Jeffrey Lisandro

Lisandro is a familiar face at the World Series of poker. He’s won over $1 million just from the five WSOP bracelets that he’s received and he’s sat at a dozen of the main event final tables. Perhaps his most notable achievement of all is the fact that he was the first person to win a bracelet in all three 7-card varieties in the same WSOP series (Stud High, Stud High-Low, and Razz). Today, after $4.4 million in career winnings, he has moved to Italy and continues to play professionally - both online and off.

#4 Tony G

Tony G was born in Lithuania and moved to Australia at the age of 11. As a child, he won the Rubik’s Cube championship in Lithuania, but he didn’t really put that big brain to use until he started playing poker at age 18. His $1.5 million in prize money can largely be credited to his loud-mouthed, trash talking play style - and with fifteen money finished in the WSOP, it must be working! Apart from his poker success, Tony G has also held a number of positions in the Lithuanian national basketball team, including manager and vice-president.

#5 Mark Vos

With over $1 million in winnings, this South African born Aussie player is one of the names that simply had to end up on this list. He started playing online in 2004 and then, just two years later, he jumped into the spotlight when he took down the WSOP $2,000 NLH event. Vos is often known as Pokerbok and, at the age of 30, he still has a lot of promise for future success. At this point, he splits his time between living in South Africa and Australia (where he has spent much of his life).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Where to Play in Adelaide (updated 2013)

The great thing about poker is that it can be played in a variety of different settings
depending on how much money you are willing to risk and whether you prefer a casual game or a serious one.

If you're looking for a live local game in Adelaide then it’ll be worth your time to consider some of the pub poker leagues that operate in your area. For example, the Australian Poker League, the National Pub Poker League, and the 888 Poker League all host weekly poker games in South Australia. The best aspects of these games include that they have a casual atmosphere, that games are held often, and that you can often win prizes (even in the free games). Unlike trying to organise a tournament at home, you won’t have to worry about finding enough people to play – some pub poker games routinely attract 100+ players each night. You will also experience the benefits of a professionally run tournament and high quality equipment without the cost that comes with playing at a casino. When you’re ready you can also play in some of the games that require you to buy your way in so that you can play for some serious cash.

Check out the poker league websites below – they have large lists of games, so you should be able to find a nearby tournament.

Australian Poker League -

National Pub Poker League -

888 Poker League -

Home Games

Running a game at home is a great option if you have a group of friends who like to play poker or who are willing to learn. You are in control - you can determine the strictness of the rules and you can also decide how much money you are going to play for. Hosting a game can be cheaper than leaving the house when costs for food, drinks, and travel are considered. However you’ll need your own equipment – and if you don't have good quality poker gear (including table, chips, and cards) then you will notice a significant difference between playing at home and playing at a pub or the casino.

The Casino

SkyCity is Adelaide's casino and is the best place to go if you are confident in your abilities. Drawbacks include a less casual atmosphere than you would find at home or at the pub, however, this is the best quality live poker experience you will find and is also the place where you can win the most money.

Online Poker

Just a few years ago you could only play poker at a casino or at home. Thanks to modern advancements you can now play poker online from wherever you are. The great thing about being able to play online is the large number of tournaments that are offered and that you won’t find a shortage of players to play against.  Most sites offer some games that you can play for free as well as multiple price levels for you to advance through as your skills develop.

You also get the benefit of being able to play multiple tables at once, which means that you won't have to keep waiting for the next hand to begin. However, when playing online you miss out on the personalised nature of live poker and the physical reactions that can help you to read your opponents.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Jeffrey "Iceman" Lisandro

If you sit down at a seven-card stud table and you hear an strange accent coming off of a man others are referring to as “Iceman,” I’d be sure of what I’m doing before dropping my chips on the table, cause chances are they will all end up with him.

Jeffrey “Iceman” Lisandro was born in Perth, Australia and his mother taught him the game of poker when he was just five years old. Since then he has used that knowledge to put some serious skins on the wall, having won multiple World Series of Poker Championship bracelets, earning an impressive bankroll, and having beaten some of the very best in the world including Daniel Negranu, Nick Frangos, Phil Ivey, and Howard Lederer.

Now living mostly in Italy and occasionally in Santa Barbara, California, Lisandro, who is known primarily as a cash game specialist, has become a well known face on the touring poker tournament circuit and is well regarded as one of the best at seven card stud. During the 2009 World Series of Poker he was the first person to ever pull off a trifecta, winning all three seven-stud tournaments Stud High, Stud High-low, and Razz. That nifty feat also earned him the title of Player of the Year. He has also won a bracelet playing Pot Limit Omaha.

If you are a fan of the World Series of Poker, you may remember one incident involving Lisandro from back in 2006. Prahlad Friedman accused Lisandro of not putting in his ante during a hand and started to berate him, calling him a thief. The dealer noted that it was not Lisandro, but another player who had mistakenly forgot to add his ante in with his blind, but Friedman continued his assault, leading to a lot of friction between the two players and Lisandro threatening to “take his head off” at one point in the debate. Cooler tempers eventually prevailed and Lisandro placed 17th in that World Series, while Friedman placed 20th.

So the next time you settle in to your seat in Vegas or Atlantic City, belly up to the felt and call for chips, make sure to take a good look around at those sitting with you. Lisandro commonly wears a black fedora and chews gum at the table to help reduce the number of tells he gives away, and as his nickname of “Iceman” implies, he is not known for being very talkative at the table, and seeming quite cold and calculating. Don’t come back with empty pockets saying you weren’t warned.

This has been a guest post from Australia's latest betting news source. Check it out if you want to stay up to date on the latest poker news.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Adelaide Player Profile

Adelaide isn’t exactly known as the nexus of poker, but it has bred some top players. Let’s have a look at one of the best to have come out of the SA capital, James Obst.

Starting out as a teenage chess champion, Obst began playing at the (illegal) age of 14 online. Because he had no access to a credit card at the time, he got other players to transfer him small amounts to get his bankroll going. By grinding it out and building his bankroll gradually.

He eventually made a name for himself by winning a $10 rebuy tournament, taking out the first prize of $17, 000. From there on it was on to bigger and better things, making 5th place at last year's $100, 000 challenge at the Aussie Millions. His career winning to date exceed $2.4 million.

One interesting fact about his career is that another online player snitched on him when he was 17 years old (due to his underage status) and Obst was banned from online play for a year. Keeping his cool until he could play again, Obst used this time offline to focus on his studies, health and his other obligations. This left him free to get back into poker full time by the time he was 18.

James was invited to join Team Victory at the popular site Victory Poker in 2010, a testament to his skill level. His contemporaries in the Victory Poker stable include Antonio Esfandiari and Danny Wong.

A true Adelaide Crows supporter, James’s online handle is “Andy McLeod” after Andrew McLeod, one of the greatest indigenous players of all time and also considered by some to be the best Crows player of all time.

Being a hometown boy at heart, James still resides in Adelaide to this day.

Archie Raweed is a content writer at, where he tries his best to cover the latest in the Australian pokies scene. In between articles, he likes to fit in a few hands of poker both online and offline.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Internet Poker Is Less Aggressive Than Casino Gambling [Guest Post]

One of the great things about gambling online is how much more relaxed it can be. The feeling of winning some money in the comfort of your own home is something that can tempt a lot of people, and because of the large amount of competition between internet gambling sites there are large numbers of relatively cheap places to play anything from bingo to poker. Many sites offer large bonuses when people first sign up to play; quite often this can extend to free bets, and games free of charge if you're browsing through poker and bingo sites. Because of this it really does feel like the ball is in your court to a much greater extent than if you walk into your local bookmakers or bingo hall.

In fact, due to the large amounts of online providers, you can quite easily find a social site which is regularly used by many like-minded people. There are so many different niches; often filled by the same operators in order to gain as many customers as possible; you're bound to find a place to make some friends.

Another advantage of internet gambling is that it's convenient. Though you can lose your money in an instant if you don't place sensible bets online or in traditional brick and mortar bookies, the journey there and back can be so long that it leaves a black cloud over your day, and the opening hours can be difficult to work with depending on your job. It's quick and easy to find a good online bingo room, or a fast poker iGame, and as other people can't see you the pressure to lose your money quickly just isn't there.

Online gambling can be relaxed and social, and a few pence can easily last you an entire evening if you're less bothered about winning big and more bothered about having a chat and passing the time doing something fun.

Attitudes to online gambling are changing; even countries that are traditionally harsh with gambling, like the United States, are coming around to the idea of online poker and betting. In some States gambling is still illegal, but that looks to be changing soon in places like Illinois, and the United Kingdom is one of the few places where gambling in various forms really is part of our cultural heritage, so you really have nothing at all to worry about when you are visiting online poker and bingo rooms.

Stephen has played poker with friends from being a teenager, but is new to the world of online poker. He joined iGame last month and is enjoying the experience.