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By far the only true goal for any poker player is to make money, to make a profit.
Consistently reaching the money in numerous events throughout the year shows incredible game ethic and is an achievement deserving of high praise.
With the stats provided in Hendon Mob, we have compiled the top 5 Australian players with the most number of ITMs throughout their live tournament career. Some of these players have been a constant presence in the international circuit for more than three decades, and have been inducted in the Australian Poker Hall of Fame.
Mel Judah – 207 cashes
Mel Judah aka the Silver Fox, holds the highest record of 207 cashes throughout his live tournament career and it may be a while before anyone catches up to him. His earliest posting was nearly 30 years back at the 1988 WSOP. Since then, he has claimed two bracelets, one in 1989 and another in 1997, both for Seven Card Stud. He had a big year in 2003, earning a few six-digit scores, which included his largest-ever payout of US$579,375 for winning the 2003 WPT Legends of Poker Main Event. His total live earnings exceed US$3.6M and ranks 5th overall in the Australia All Time Money List.
Billy Argyros – 119 cashes
Billy Argyros aka the Croc, has 119 cashes under his belt but interestingly, he has never cashed more than 12 times in a given year. Between 1989-2000 he averaged 4.7 cashes per year, and from 2001-2016, he bumped it up to 5.8 cashes per year.
In his early years, he frequented the Las Vegas scene then later cashed in numerous events all over Australia. Within the past few years, he added Macau and Noumea to his destinations. In 2013, he won the APPT 7 Melbourne Main Event and came close to another title in 2014 at the APPT 8 Macau Main Event, finishing in 3rd place. The Croc’s single largest score was a 15th place finish at the 2008 WSOP $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha for a US$268,605 payout.
Jeff Lisandro – 112 cashes
With stats dating back to 1995, Jeff Lisandro, aka Iceman, is 3rd with 112 cashes, and 3rd in the Australia All Time Money List. He has over US$5.4M in live earnings. Lisandro is recognized as one of the masters of Seven Card Stud, and famous for his triple bracelet achievement at the 2009 WSOP winning the Seven Card Stud High, Seven Card Stud High/Low, and Seven Card Razz events. Those three victories earned him over US$700K and the WSOP Player of the Year title.
One of his greatest crowning moments was at the 2005 WSOP Circuit Championship Event in Lake Tahoe, overcoming an all American final two tables, and defeating Phil Ivey at the heads up round. He won the US$542,360 first prize. However his largest payout to date was US$659,730 for his 17th place finish at the 2006 WSOP Main Event.
Peter Aristidou – 105 cashes
Out of the top five cashers, Peter Arisitidou is the only player not inducted into the Australian Poker Hall of Fame. His live tournament career began in 2006, which is about a decade or two after the others in our list. Impressively, he ranks 4th with 105 cashes.
Playing mostly in Australia, he consistently racks up an extensive list of ITM’s every year but mainly for recurring tournaments. He earned three 5-digit payouts in 2007 and claimed his biggest cash of US$92,862 after winning the 2008 Victorian Poker Championship $100,000 Challenge. Arisitidou is already on the board for 2017 with a deep run at the opening event of the Aussie Millions Poker Championship.
Gary Benson – 100 cashes
Gary Benson jumpstarted his live tournament career with a bracelet at the 1996 WSOP Seven Card Stud event. This made him the first Australian to ever win a bracelet. This was also his first WSOP appearance and his first six-digit win for US$148,200.
Hardly venturing out of his home country other than to play the WSOP, Benson tasted his second six-digit score nearly 20 years after at the 2007 Aussie Millions for US$118,083. However, these payouts would pale in comparison to his 2nd place finish cash of US$672,685 at the WPT Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event. Non stop poker continues for Benson, posting two cashes already this January. He has a total of 100 cashes to his name.
Article by Triccia David