In a "retirement" that made some of Michael Jordan or Jay-Z's retirement efforts look long term and legitimate, Jay "Seabeast" Kinkade has made a return to the online tournament poker scene after less than a month on the sidelines.
Seabeast's original retirement was spurred by a need for life balance, which is something that players aspiring to a high level of performance in the world online tournament rankings seldom achieve. However after some much needed time out Seabeast has decided that he can balance grinding online tournaments with other aspects of his life, and returned to online tournament play with a vengeance in February.
Picking up right where he left off, Seabeast returned as the top performing Australian online player for the month. Seabeast’s return to the online game saw four minor scores on the 4th of February, followed by his biggest score of the month for US$44,800 for a third place in Event #6: $500 Pot Limit Omaha of FTOPS XI, three days after returning from his self-imposed exile. Seabeast turned in a total of 35 cashes for the month of February, including seven final tables, earning a handsome US$93,818.
While the last few months have been dominated by major live poker events, February saw the focus shift back to online play with FTOPS XI taking centre stage, and online players returned to the virtual felt in droves. The big winner of the Aussies at FTOPS XI (and the biggest score by an Australian for the month) was Andrew "Adgee" Jeffreys in Event #12, a higher stakes, US$1,060 buy-in event. Jeffreys sold a fair percentage of his equity to backers on the popular ChipMeUp.com staking website and dually delivered on their faith taking sixth place for US$70,090. Not a bad return on investment for those that had purchase a share of the action.
Amongst the other Australians to reach FTOPS XI final tables were Seabeast’s aforementioned third place finish, and "Barcs69" from Adelaide who took down fourth place in Event #11: $216 Pot Limit Omaha/Pot Limit Hold'em event. Barcs69 adds to the mighty torrent of online players continually flowing out of Adelaide.
Daniel Kochan also had a strong February, in particular one day in the middle of the month when he earned more in a single day than most office workers earn in a year. It’s safe to say that the 15th February was a pretty good day for Kochan - first he finished fourth in the Sunday 500 on PokerStars for US$43,612 and followed that up with another US$31,284 for second place in the Titan Poker $250,000 guaranteed. He also intertwined those two massive results with several other minor scores and at the end of the day Kochan had amassed US$76,681, and ended February with an impressive US$91,038 in cashes.
In a Seabeast-like showing of epic volume play, Melbourne based player "zedveron" turned in a rather impressive 111 cashes during the month including his biggest win of US$13,200 when he won an $11 rebuy on PokerStars on the 25th of February. Zedveron will be one of the Aussies to watch in March as he now sits on the verge of the top ten ranked players in Australia.
Despite his main rival making a comeback this month, Jonathan "xMONSTERxDONGx" Karamalikis continued to hold the position of top ranked Australian player. Karamalikis’ was a month of near misses, putting together US$36,275 in cashes, that could have been so much more, had some luck gone his way. A ninth place finish in the PokerStars Sunday Millions highlighted that fact. Karamalikis’ world ranking slid seven spots this month to now see him sit 47th in the world.
Karamalikis is joined in the world top 100 by Seabeast (76th) and James "Andy McLEOD" Obst (82nd), while Kochan’s solid month should put him back on the fringe of the world top 100 next month.
March will likely see a serious challenge mounted on Karamalikis' status at the top of Australian online rankings. Both Andy McLEOD and Seabeast are in a position to be a serious threat to his crown. There is also the opportunity for more live success from these young guns with the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series due to take place at Crown Casino in Melbourne from March 8-23.
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