ANZPT Sydney: WSOP Champs Everywhere

There have been twelve WSOP gold bracelets awarded to Australians over the last three decades. Eight of those twelve belong to poker players currently at the tables of ANZPT Sydney here at The Star. That's a whole lot of gold, a whole lot of cash and a whole lot of worries for the opponents of the three players we are referring to.

The first player in our showcase of WSOP Gold bracelet champions is Jeff Lisandro. Seated as far away from the media desk as possible, Lisandro is extremely easy to notice at his table. Not only because he is quite simply Australian poker royalty, but also because he's not a shy fellow. We recently overheard Lisandro and another player discussing politics across the table. We aren't sure if the rules about politics and the poker table are the same as at the dinner table, but we will certainly keep an out to spot any fireworks.


Born in Perth, Lisandro is one of Australia's most decorated players

For those not familiar with Lisandro, we will make it easy for you - he is a five-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. Three of these bracelets were famously won at the 2009 World Series of Poker where he took down the $1,500 Seven Card Stud, the $10,000 Stud Hi/Lo and the $2,500 Seven Card Razz during the same series. Lisandro also won a bracelet back in 2007 and then again in 2010 in an omaha event at World Series of Poker Europe. All in all, Lisandro has more than $5 million in tournament earnings on his poker resume, which is enough to see him sit second on Australia's All Time Money List (the Hendon Mob may have Lisandro listed as Italian, but he is an Aussie through and through.)

So that's five of the eight bracelets in the room accounted for. Another two of these bracelets are owned by Mel Judah. Winning his gold back in 1989 and then again in 1997, Judah has decades of experience in the poker world and has proven he deserves his place in the Australian Poker Hall of Fame.


Mel Judah looking to add an ANZPT Sydney title to his resume

Considering Judah's WSOP victories came in a time before the WSOP was the glamorous televised affair that it is these days, it is no surprise that most people will recognise Judah from his appearances on the World Poker Tour. Judah won a WPT event back in 2003 and then finished 6th in another WPT during the same year. In saying that though, many will also recognise Judah as finishing 3rd to the great legend that was Stu Ungar in the 1997 WSOP Main Event. These results, along with his WSOP bracelets and dozens of other results all around the world, mean that Judah has amassed one of the most impressive poker resumes in all of poker.

With one bracelet left to account for we can tell you that the last remaining WSOP bracelet winner in tonight's field is Gary Benson. It was back in 1996 that Benson won a $1,500 Stud event to claim his first and only WSOP gold bracelet. Since then Benson has continued to be a staple of the Australian poker scene, even managing to win an Aussie Millions event this past January. Another well-deserved member of the Australian Poker Hall of Fame.


Can Benson win another tournament in 2013?

The majority of the players on the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour may be a new breed of online poker pros, pub poker heroes and live tournament grinders, but we must not forget that among the tables lurk the old school WSOP champions.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Sydney