The History of Poker in Australia
Australia is another country that has a strong tradition of poker, and can also lay claim to one of the longest-standing poker tournaments in the world the Aussie Millions –which began as a Limit Holdem tournament back in 1998. The Aussie Millions is the second longest standing tournament series, trailing only the World Series of Poker for longevity.
Even though poker has always been a fairly popular endeavor on Australia, the country had its own poker boom in 2005 after Joe Hachem won the World Series of Poker Main Event to the excited chants of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie… Oy, Oy, Oy!”
In 2011, Australia has a thriving poker community with a solid mix of older players and up and coming pros from the online poker generation, leading a powerful contingent of Australian poker pros.
Australia has also seen a number of their poker pros make it REALLY big in the poker world, with old school players like the 2005 WSOP Champion Joe Hachem, and the infamous Tony G –who is originally from Lithuania but is now an Australian citizen.
Famous Australian Poker Players
It’s hard to find a stronger contingent of poker players from any country outside of the United States. With the aforementioned Tony G and Joe Hachem leading the way, Australia can also boast a slew of big names in the poker world including Mel Judah, Billy “The Croc” Arygos, Tyrone Krost, Stewart Scott, Van Marcus, Tony Hachem, James Obst and Mark Vos rounding out my all-Australian team.
Here is a look at some of the most well known poker players from Australia and their career accomplishments:
[sws_grey_box box_size=”490″] Joe Hachem
- Member of Team PokerStars Pro
- 2005 World Series of Poker Champion
- 2006 WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Poker Championship winner
- Over $11.3 million in career tournament earnings
- One of the poker world’s top ambassadors and spokesmen
[sws_grey_box box_size=”490″] Antanas “Tony G” Gouga
- Original Bad Boy of poker
- Owns PokerNews, one of the largest poker affiliates
in the world
- Party Poker Spokesman
- Plays highest stakes cash games in the world
- Over $3 million in career tournament earnings
- 2005 European Poker Championship winner
- Runner-up in the 2004 WPT Grand Prix de Paris
[sws_grey_box box_size=”490″] Mark Vos
- Over $1.3 million in career tournament earnings
- Won WSOP Bracelet in 2006
- known online as “Pokerbok”
- Over $1 million in WSOP earnings
- Full Tilt Red Pro
[sws_grey_box box_size=”490″] Mel Judah
- Long time tournament player in Australia and worldwide
- Over $3.2 million in career tournament earnings
- 2003 WPT Legends of Poker champion
- Two-time WSOP bracelet winner
- Nine 5th place or better finishes at the WSOP
- A former hairdresser, Judah is nicknamed the Silver Fox
[sws_grey_box box_size=”490″] Tony Hachem
- Brother of 2005 WSOP Main Event winner Joe Hachem
- 2009 ANZPT Player of the Year
- 2010 ANZPT Player of the Year
- Finished 37th in the 2011 WSOP Main Event
- Over $540k in career tournament earnings
Online Poker in Australia
Australian online poker is very similar to the way the US online poker market prior to the UIGEA legislation going into effect. Basically the Australian government does not support online poker, and a large faction of Australian lawmakers would like to ban online poker. However, Australia sees banning online poker as an unenforceable law, and instead just frowns upon online poker.
The only official law in respect to online gaming in Australia is the Interactive Gambling Act (IGA) from 2001. According to the IGA, it is unlawful to provide interactive gambling to any Australian resident. However, but it does not cite playing online poker a crime and no Australian resident has ever been arrested or prosecuted for playing online poker.
So for all intents and purposes it is completely legal to play online poker in Australia, and virtually every major online poker room is accessible to the Australian market.
Here is a look at the Top 3 online poker sites in Australia:
[sws_green_box box_size=”520″] PokerStars
- Over 50,000 players online at any given time
- Team PokerStars Australia: Joe Hachem
- Sponsors the PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT)
- THE most respected poker site around the globe
- Over 10,000 players online at any given time
- Australian Tony G is a primary spokesman for Party Poker
- Long-standing poker room with an excellent reputation
- Peak cash-game traffic 1,800
- Accepts a number of Australian deposit and withdrawal options
- €1,000 Euro deposit bonus for Australian players
Where to play poker in Australia
Australia has a number of major casinos, and most of these casinos offer poker. Perhaps the best known is the Crown Casino in Melbourne which hosts a number of major tournaments throughout the year, most notably the Aussie Millions which takes place every January.
Poker laws in Australia
Australia has some very interesting gaming laws: While I detailed how Australia disallows operators to offer online gaming to Australian players –a completely unenforceable law—they do allow online sports-betting and even license a number of online sports-books! Most Aussies are hopeful that online poker and gaming will soon follow suit, and also be legalized and regulated by the Australian Government.
As far as live poker laws, Australia has similar laws to most countries: It’s ok to play poker in your home, or possibly –under the right circumstances—in a bar, so long as the house is not taking a cut of the action, and no single person is benefitting by running the game.
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