A few weeks ago one of our highlight stories was on the Australian poker legends who spent years grinding it out in live tournaments. While these featured players have certainly earned every bit of their fame in the ITM department, a much different breed of players is claiming its own section, the 2017 GPI ranking for Australia.
Currently, the top five players of the ranking are players who have not only excelled in the live poker setting but have also done extremely well, if not better, in the online platform. It seems that these players transitioned from an online background to the live circuit and are now taking charge.
Top 5 GPI Australia in 2017
#1 – James Obst: 2,260.40 pts
#2 – Stevan Chew: 1,869.20 pts
#3 – Alexander Lynskey: 1,856.58 pts
#4 – Martin Kozlov: 1,839.32 pts
#5 – Matthew Wakeman: 1,704.43 pts
James Obst or Andy McLEOD – ranked #1
Currently sitting at the #1 spot in the ranking is James Obst. Back in 2009, Obst attacked the live tournament scene and since then has piled on the numbers with 16 five-digit scores and 7 six-digit scores. Last year, he banked his highest live tournament payout of US$427,930 at the WSOP 2016 Main Event for his 13th place finish.
However, Obst also dedicates time to maintain his online game. According to a write up, “He was introduced to poker at age 14 and started playing online at 2 cent/4 cent LHE with as little as 20 cent loans from friends, often waking up in the middle of the night to play to avoid getting caught by his parents.”
Those small time online games are now a thing of the past with several online titles under his belt, including four SCOOP awards. In addition, Obst is one of the coaches for poker training website Run It Once.
Stevan “random_chu” Chew – ranked #2
Stevan Chew is currently 2nd in the ranking with his highest live earnings won last year in Las Vegas. Chew took down the US$1,000 Deep Stack Extravaganza and shipped in US$241,455.
For the past two years, Chew has become very active in the live tournament scene however he is still most recognized for his online prowess – destroying online tournaments and cash games under the nickname “random_chu”. Until today, Chew continues to play high volumes of MTTs and Heads Up Sit-n-Gos side by side his live games. He also coaches for some MTT players.
Alexander Lynskey – lynskey99 – ranked #3
Another prominent online figure in the top tier of the Australian GPI rankings is Alexander Lynskey who recorded 19 live tournament ITMs last year. Lynskey has already crossed over a million dollars in live tournament profits and according to Sharkscope, he also has over US$500k profit in PokerStars online tourneys.
One of Lynskey’s more interesting online victories was at the Sunday 500 having to play the final table at a Hong Kong hotel lobby after being forced to check out. Despite the hectic adjustment, Lynksey reached the final heads up round and eventually chopped for US$67,000.
Martin Kozlov or nizmo jiz – ranked #4
Last year was full of exhilarating moments for Martin Kozlov who ranks fourth in the current GPI list for Australia. He cashed in 13 events with over half of them at the 47th WSOP in Las Vegas. He also won his first WSOP bracelet in one the hardest field of the series – the 10,000 6-Handed Championship Event for his largest live score of US$665,709. Short-handed must be one of Kozlov’s fortes as he finished 5th at the WSOP US$3,000 NLH 6-Handed event just ten days prior.
Under his online nickname “nizmo jiz”, Kozlov also boasts of a profit with nearly 3,000 online cashes (per Sharkscope) and close to a US$400K gain in PokerStars.
Matthew Wakeman – mjw006 – ranked #5
Ranked 5th is Matthew Wakeman who recently bagged his best live cash in Macau for $ 55,537 after finishing 7th at the High Rollers event. To-date, his total live earnings have reached over US$385K however they pale in comparison to what he has accomplished online under the nickname “mjw006” per Sharkscope.
Under mjv006, Wakeman has raked in US$811,051 in profits just on PokerStars alone. He has also had several major wins including a WCOOP title.
That completes the top 5 players of the current Australia GPI rankings. In a time when online poker seem to be in jeopardy in Australia – looking at the GPI 2017 rankings is the best reminder of how the online and live circuit are complementary to each other.
Now, who said that online poker players cannot understand live games?
Article by Triccia David