January for online players was about taking up the mantle, in more ways then one. Just as most live events in Australia have done over the past 18 months, the 2009 Aussie Millions was the “coming out party” for at least one previously low profile online player. Stewart “juzlearnin” Scott flew the flag, not only for online players, but the Australian poker community as a whole, when he took down the Aussie Millions Main event and the $2 million in prize money. He was also the first Australian player to win the Aussie Millions under its current branding; Scott won a piece of poker history for himself and the pride of a nation.
The other impressive results achieved by online poker players at the 2009 Aussie Millions are too numerous to list, without the risk of omitting several notable achievements. Suffice to say online players were prominent in each and every field of the Championship, with the possible exclusion of the Two Card Manila.
Scott wasn’t the only player taking up the mantle in January. After fighting a fierce battle in the latter part of 2008, Jonathan “xMONSTERxDONGx” Karamalikis finally assumed the number one spot in the Australian Online Tournament rankings with the “retirement” of Jay “Seabeast” Kinkade as he returns to the relative obscurity of his preferred cash game play. Ever modest, he leaves behind a lofty string of results, that other Australian tournament players will be aspiring to achieve.
In his first month at the top of Australian Online Poker Jonathan Karamalikis played a greatly reduced online tournament schedule, due to playing most days of the Aussie Millions at Crown Casino. Despite the reduced schedule Karamalikis still managed to haul in US$64,838.72 in cashes during January and also climbed nine spots in the world rankings to his current ranking of 40th in the world.
Karamalikis can seldom afford to breathe easy though with former top ranked Australian James “Andy McLEOD” Obst hot on his heels. Since returning to the game in August, Obst has been busily re-establishing his online world ranking and building a live tournament profile. Obst moved into the top 100 players in the world during January, charging up to 58th in the world.
The biggest score for an Australian online during January was that of Melbourne based player “EnTapie” who won the $350 buy-in “Champion Chip Final” on the bwin poker network on January 11th for US$112,500. “EnTapie” eclipsed his previous career best cash of US$21,000 set in November of 2008. Amazingly in the same tournament there was more Australian glory, with the 3rd place finisher, Gold Coast based “Rondor”, picking up $40,000 for his efforts.
All told at the end of January, Australia had three players ranked in the world top 100, with Karamalikis ranked 40th, Obst 58th, and Steve “StevoL” Leonard ranked 88th in the world. With limited live events taking place locally in February online players will be getting back into the pattern of the daily grind and playing a high volume of tournaments.
There is still the “small matter” of the PokerStars ANZPT Adelaide which has just wrapped up at SKYCITY Casino in Adelaide. Some of the best local online and live poker players came together with Karl Krautschneiderz capturing the title after satelliting his way to Adelaide via an $11 rebuy tournament on PokerStars!
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