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).