The emergence of big buy-in poker tournaments around the world on a regular basis has given us a chance to evaluate meticulously the global talent at the top of the game. Elite players of the current era donât just come from North America and Europe, and among the impressive international performers, one nation appears time and again. Are we approaching an era when Australia might reach the top echelons of poker as it does cricket and rugby?
Natural talent from pokies to poker
It could be said that a penchant for gaming is embedded within the psyche of many Australians. When it comes to gambling, Australia has a huge passion for pokies â an abbreviation for poker machines, and a pursuit that in fact has nothing to do with traditional poker. Pokies are what the rest of the world calls slot machines, and Australians wager more money on them per person per year than any other nationality â about $500 per capita on average.
These days, they are as likely to play online as in real casinos, and the review site CasinoAus shows the array of online casino sites that are available to Australians. The popularity of wagering online has inspired many Australians to explore a world beyond the pokies and to explore games of skill. Poker has always been a popular card game in Australia, but relatively few players make the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas to take on the worldâs best at the WSOP. Online poker has made the game accessible to many who couldnât access brick and mortar casinos, and over the past several years, several Aussie players have proved they can beat anyone.
Michael Adammo snatched advantage from adversity
Most of us hunkered down with a bunker mentality during the pandemic years of 2020/21. Not Michael Adammo. The poker hotshot from Melbourne had already flown out to Vegas in 2018 and picked up two WSOP bracelets at the first time of asking. When the biggest challenge in poker went online, he doubled down with two more when he secured the $50k and the $100k bracelet events for over $3m in prize money.
In the same year, he also won two events at the Poker Masters on PokerGo, and in 2022 he secured double victory for the 5th time when he won â¬20k and â¬75k buy-in events at the Triton Series in Madrid. For Addammo, good things seem to come in pairs!
Yita Choong has been on a hot streak
Western Australian Yita has been a consistent presence at final tables over the past five or so years, without securing any big wins. In 2022 he suddenly scooped two major results with a fourth in the WSOP Millionaire Maker in Vegas for $395,000 then coming in runner up in the Sydney Championships for a further AU$270,000 a few days later. Some achievement given the proximity of the two tournaments!
There is a sense within the poker world that his moment is only just arriving, and right now, Yita is one of Australiaâs top earner on the international pro circuit.
Jackie scored her first WSOP cash in 2010 series, scooping $30,000 for a 427th place finish at the Main Event for $30,000. Two years later, she was back and she scored the biggest tournament money finish of her career when she came in second to Greg Ostrander in the $3k No Limit Holdâem event for just shy of $500,000.
While she might not have secured the elusive WSOP bracelet, her confidence and calm demeanor in the male-dominated environment of WSOP, along with her fame from appearing in Survivor have made her an inspiration for many of the girls who are taking up the game.