Shuffle Magazine - Issue 12

Page 1

the read between hands

DREAM TEAM The story of our most successful players Plus: • APL Poker Tour – The launch of a new era • What’s Club APL? All the details revealed • Exclusive interview with James Akenhead

WIN: APL Poker Tour seat on page 4


ISSUE 12•$5.95



HE W OUL D BE 10 3 Y E A RS O L D.



LEARN, CHAT AND PLAY WITH THE PROS Enjoy the free games, and before playing in the real-money games, please check with your local jurisdiction regarding the legality of Internet poker. ©2010 Full Tilt Poker. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the World’s first online poker league

contents ISSUE 12 – AUTUMN 2010



Have your say on the big issues and all things APL

MILLION-DOLLAR DREAM TEAM Our six pillars of APL excellence, read their stories in this special Shuffle feature


Runcorn Tavern and CabraVale Diggers are just two of the great venues that regularly host APL games



Tread carefully if you spot any of these rising stars pulling up a chair at your table

It’s hard to think of a time when online poker didn’t exist but, as we discovered, it wasn’t so long ago





Knowthe Deal

Poker media identity Sean Callander tees-off about the standard of behaviour in poker

Landon Blackhall delivers a recipe that will have your tablemates gasping at your ability to deal the cards Poker’s mental conditioning guru discusses ways to get the most out of your APL experience


You raise; she re-raises, what now? Class is in at Shuffle Academy with tips to counter this aggressive strategy


He’s big but not so bad – Steve “The Big” Show Topakas chats about his short-stacked trek at the Aussie Millions

Autumn 2010

Poker princess Emma Grace reflects on her amazing ride from APL amateur to WSOP glory




You’re all invited to share in the excitement of our newest online product: Club APL


The latest news & happening in the APL and the world of poker; plus find out who won the 2010 Aussie Millions

Seats are filling fast for TeamAPL’s sojourn to the 2010 World Series of Poker



Wild Turkey Poker Classic 26 BENTON’S BLAST Reigning APPT Grand Final champion Aaron Benton pays tribute to the pub poker games that helped him climb to the top


The patron saint of bad beats, St Degen lays down the law when it comes to preparing for your next tournament

James Akenhead


It’s time to fuel the bus for our own poker tour – that’s right, the APL Poker Tour is a reality


Poker existed long before the WSOP, as we discover in this first intriguing instalment of Hand History

We chat exclusively to UK pro James Akenhead, fresh from his final table finishes at the WSOP & WSOPE


When it comes to fun times and friendly faces, it’s hard to go past the crew in the Tweed Heads region


Check out the upcoming events on the local, regional and international poker calendar




TODAY! WIN AN APL POKER TOUR SEAT Here’s your chance to book yourself a spot in the APL Poker Tour. Simply tell us in 25 words or less why you should be on the Tour. Send entries to by 30th April, 2010.

from the ceo Martin Martinez

Welcome to the new Shuffle

The launch of the new-look Shuffle Magazine is one of the many initiatives the APL is undertaking in 2010. As APL co-founder and CEO Martin Martinez discusses, also keep an eye out for the brand new APL Poker Tour and the League’s own online product, Club APL.


don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the issue of Shuffle Magazine you are holding in your hands has undergone a bit of a make over, to say the least! Over the past few months, we’ve been making lots of changes, creating new features and redesigning the layout in an effort to deliver more of everything. The end result is a bigger and brighter ‘read between hands’ increasing in both size and pagination. We hope you like the new publication and, as always, we love to know what you think so email your comments on But the changes don’t stop there. The APL itself has also undergone a huge transformation with the launch of the APL Poker Tour. The new league format focuses on offering a major APL tournament every 8-12 weeks around the country with a free shot at winning life-changing amounts of money and your ticket to Las Vegas with Team APL. Season one will deliver three exciting stops with Sydney in June, Gold Coast in September and Melbourne at the end of the year. Qualifying couldn’t be easier with APL leader boards, loads of regular satellites around the country and online. See page 16 for all the details or get a copy of the APL Poker Tour information booklet available from your local tournament director. Our annual pilgrimage to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this July is also coming around quickly with more than 30 new members joining the illustrious TeamAPL. The team as always will enjoy free flights and 14 days of accommodation in a five-star resort, entry into the WSOP Main Event worth USD $10,000 as well as participation in several team activities. You will be able to follow them online on Facebook and Twitter, so get connected. As if that wasn’t enough, APL is venturing into the exciting world of online poker with the launch of Club APL later in the year. It will be the world’s first online poker league and is aimed at complementing APL live events. Like all things APL, it is free to register and play, but upgrading your membership level will open up the doors to incredible prizes and benefits. To find out more on what Club APL is all about flick through to page 50. So what do you think? Is APL changing or what? I hope you are as excited as we are with the changes that have been designed with you in mind, the most loyal poker community in the world. Martin Martinez CEO & Co-founder Australian Poker League

Autumn 2010

We were thrilled to be able to welcome Blinq Photography’s Shawn Smith to Luxe Studios in Sydney to shoot the first cover shot for the new era of Shuffle Magazine. The Blinq team also filmed the photo shoot, with some of the highlights pictured here:

SHUFFLE: The Official Magazine of the APL Issue 12 – Autumn 2010

Published by: Australian Poker League CEO/Co-founder: Martin Martinez Content Manager: Chris Wheeler COPYRIGHT: Material in this magazine may not be reprinted without the written permission of APL PRODUCTION: Monarch Media (03) 9863 8223 Project manager: Stephen Doig Editorial manager: Sean Callander Art director: Mark Sidoti PRINT: Quality Print Group


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DealMEIN Big bucks for bad beat

Poker’s international man of mystery I spent the last few months of 2009 logging on to Full Tilt to watch Isildur1 take on durrrr and Patrik Antonius and pretty much every other major player in sight and win millions. I then watched him fritter it all away as quick, (in fact quicker), than he made it. First of all – who is this guy? Secondly, what makes the brand new kid on the block think that he can take on the best of the best and not lose five or six million in a couple of weeks? Jorja Thomson, Avalon, NSW Ed’s note: We have to admit, as longtime partners of Full Tilt, we spent a little bit of time wandering around the rail of the nosebleeds late last year too. Tony G revealed on his blog that the man of the moment was Swedish pro Viktor Blom, though Blom has since denied this. US card shark Frank Calo has asserted that it is indeed the hugely successful cash game player Robert Flink. There’s every chance Isildur1 is simply a new username for a well known big-time poker pro. We still have no idea who Isildur1 really is and, until he digs himself out of the $2 million hole he’s in right now, we probably never will.

Hey guys, I was in Las Vegas for the World Series last year – unfortunately I didn’t get to play the Main Event, but I did the best I could to satellite in! As luck had it, I ended up playing more cash games than tournament poker and thought I had hit the jackpot when I turned quad jacks after flopping a set against an aggressive opponent. We both ended up getting our money in then and there, and it turned out he was drawing to a straight flush, which he managed to hit on the river. To my delight, the poker room actually had a sizeable bad beat jackpot that allowed me to rake in more than was in the pot in the first place! It was almost $4000. It got me thinking – what is the largest bad beat jackpot on record? Greg Bawden, Melbourne, VIC Ed’s note: Wow, $4000 isn’t a bad poker payday, especially when you’ve lost the hand in question! The biggest live bad beat jackpot was awarded to US player Steve Gedney in January this year while he was playing at Caesar’s Atlantic City. Gedney managed to get all his chips into the centre holding quad fours. Just so happens Chris Dobrzanski, who was sitting across from him had made quad aces on the river. Gedney then received a $553,958 tap on the shoulder, notifying him that he had just laid claim to the largest bad beat jackpot payout in history. In this case, the jackpot was split with 50 per cent awarded to Gedney, 25 per cent going to Dobrzanski and the 25 per cent remaining divided among all others at the table.

Innovations galore planned for 2010 Might seem like a boring question, but just wanted to know the plan for 2010 – what’s new, what can we expect? I’ve been playing with you guys since the start and there have generally been a few changes at the start of every year so I figured I’d get ahead of the game so I can maximise my chances of winning something big. Andy Marsh, Killara, NSW Ed’s note: You’re right – we always look to start a New Year with improvements on the last. The first change, as you’ve probably noticed, is right in front of you. After an extremely successful two years we’ve evolved Shuffle magazine from a 48-page A5 magazine into a full-on, high-gloss A4 publication! We’ve also extended our reach from pubs and clubs into the online arena by launching ClubAPL – APL’s own online poker software. In addition to this, we’ve added a third APL Main Event to the calendar as part of our brand new APL Poker Tour which will see players battle it out across three world renowned poker venues for life-changing amounts of cash.

Shuffle is your magazine, and there’s no better way to make your mark by sending us your thoughts on the APL and poker in general to (250 words maximum).

Autumn 2010


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Aussie Millions title stays on home soil

Sydney youngster Tyron Krost has captured the 2010 Aussie Millions Main Event title, defeating a field of 746 players for a first prize of AUD $2 million. The South African-born 23-year-old graduated from university six months ago, and only qualified for the tournament after deciding at the last-minute to play an online mega satellite. Despite limited live experience, Krost brought maturity beyond his years and plenty of online hours to the final table, which started like this: Sorel Mizzi (Canada) 6,032,000 Tyron Krost (Australia) 1,869,000 Fred Jensen (Denmark) 1,754,000 Peter Jetten (Canada) 1,700,000 Annette Obrestad (Norway) 1,349,000 Steven Shelly (Australia) 991,000 Steve Friedlander (USA) 694,000 Kosta Varoxis (Australia) 635,000 Shelly was the first player eliminated – he moved all-in over the top of a raise by Krost holding pocket sevens on a board of 8-5-3. However, Krost made the call and showed pocket jacks, which held up. Shortly afterward, Annette Obrestad was ousted in seventh place after she open-shoved with A-J and received a call from Krost, who had a pair of sevens. The flop came K-Q-7, giving Obrestad a straight draw, and, as her rail chanted in earnest for one of her four outs to come, a


five and king instead struck, sending Obrestad out. The 2007 WSOP Europe Main Event winner equalled Kristy Gazes’ record for the highest placed female in Aussie Millions Main Event history. Steve Friedlander exited in sixth place. He committed his chips with pocket sevens pre-flop and was up against the A-K of Kosta Varoxis. Once again, pocket sevens held up on a board that ran out K-9-2-K-J. Peter Jetten was the next player to go. Jetten four-bet all-in pre-flop with K-5 and ran into Krost’s pocket 10s. The board fell A-J-2-7-5 and Jetten earned AUD $350,000 for his efforts. With Krost holding the chip lead, Varoxis hit the rails in fourth place. The Queenslander called all-in on a flop of Q-9-7 holding A-6. Dane Fred Jensen held a pair of deuces, which turned into a set on the river. The other big name pro at the final table, Sorel Mizzi, was bounced in third place. Mizzi called off his chips pre-flop with pocket sevens and was up against the A-K of Krost. The flop came king-high and Krost never looked back. Krost entered heads-up play as a 2:1 chip leader over Jensen. In the final hand, Jensen put his tournament life on the line with K-6 on a flop of K-3-2. However, Krost held K-9 and had his opponent out-kicked. The board ran out 7-2, and the Aussie Millions title was staying on home soil for the second successive year.

2010 Aussie Millions Main Event final table payouts 1 Tyron Krost (Australia) $2,000,000 2 Frederik Jensen (Denmark) $1,100,000 3 Sorel Mizzi (Canada) $715,000 4 Kosta Varoxis (Australia) $450,000 5 Peter Jetten (Canada) $350,000 6 Steve Friedlander (USA) $250,000 7 Annette Obrestad (Norway) $175,000 8 Stephen Shelly (Australia) $125,000

Nestorovic books ticket to Vegas with victory in Workers Sports WSOP Qualifier Kris Nestorovic collected a handsome $20,000 for two days’ work following his well-deserved victory in APL’s Workers Sports 2 Day WSOP Event. A field of 99 of Sydney’s best took to the felt late last year, with 47 surviving he opening day after almost eight hours of play. Five players were still in contention for the prestigious TeamAPL package a full 16 hours into the tournament. Exhausted from two full days of play, all five players agreed to return to Workers Sports the next day to decide the winner. Three hours into the third day of play, Kris Nestorovic found himself with a convincing chip lead over Joe Boustani with more than $20,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. In the final hand of the day, Nestorovic shoved all-in with 7c-8c. Figuring he was holding live cards, Boustani made the call only to find his 7h-3d dominated by the hand of the 21-year-old from the Sydney suburb of St Clair. Nestorovic strengthened his lead on a flop of 9s-8s-Ks, and found another eight on the turn to leave Boustani drawing dead. It was the biggest win of Nestorovic’s short poker career and ensures him a seat at the biggest event in poker – the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas. Learn more about TeamAPL’s youngest member in this issue of Shuffle.

Autumn 2010


The Kings ace Battle of the Regions II Anticipation was high for the APL’s second Battle of the Regions event after the incredible success of the inaugural event in 2009. This year’s instalment of this everpopular teams event lived up to the hype when 74 teams and 592 players took to the felt to battle it out for the highly coveted title. Campbelltown’s ‘The Cube’ was an appropriate venue for this prestigious event after hosting the 2008 Tournament of Champions where Paul Georges defeated the largest live freeroll field in poker history to claim $300,000. The event was opened with the introduction of reigning champions, the RPL Rounders from NIW Region. It’s interesting to note that a member of The Gunz, the team that finished third at the 2009 Battle of the Regions, went on to win the Wild Turkey Grand Slam: 19-year-old Shivane Abdine. With the top four from each table scoring points for their team, it was soon time to tally them up. After round one it was The Eagles from the Sydney’s Northern Beaches that led the pack with 47 points. The reigning champs weren’t doing so well – they were in 28th place. The big movers in the second round were the Inner West Isotopes, who added a whopping 49 points to their tally to climb into second position. But the team on top after the second round was The Kings from Albury/Wodonga. It was Team King of VAW that prevailed over Bacement Jacks from the NHD Region with Inner West Isotopes taking out third. These teams have all won seats into the Wild Turkey Poker Classic at Crown. The members of Team King also shared $4200 while the Bacement Jacks scored $2400 and the Inner West Isotopes took home $800. The Gunz, who finished fourth, walked away with $3200 but missed out on tickets into the Main Event.

Autumn 2010

Date: Sunday, June 20 Venue: Mulwala Water Ski Club (Melbourne St, Mulwala, NSW) Registration: 10.30am for noon start Website:

Get on your skis to Mulwala on the mighty Murray The Mulwala Water Ski Club (MWSC) is the Yarrawonga Mulwala region’s premier venue for sport, dining and generally just relaxing. It’s also about to become the region’s premier poker venue. This popular venue will host the Mulwala Water Ski Club Classic (MWSCC), Yarrawonga Mulwala’s brand new quarterly deep stack event boasting a minimum annual prize pool of $12,000. The next MWSCC will be held on Sunday, June 20 kicking off at noon with entry just $22 or $11 for club members. All money collected on the day will be added as bonus cash on top of the guaranteed $3000 prize pool including two seats into the next APL Main Event. Offering stunning views of Lake Mulwala, MWSC’s renowned restaurants, bar and coffee lounge are the perfect place to get together for a meal, enjoy a quiet drink, or catch up with friends over a coffee. Sit ‘n’ goes will be running throughout the day, and MWSC’s regular Sunday night freeroll event will be running as usual for those who exit the MWSCC early.

Tamworth on song for the Australian Country Music Poker Cup There were some bad beats, but plenty of good beats after the 2010 Australian Country Music Poker Cup at West Diggers in Tamworth, NSW. Players from all over the country, in Tamworth for the annual country music festival, took the opportunity to win a slice of the prizepool and an opportunity to compete on the APL’s biggest stage at the Wild Turkey Poker Classic (WTPC) in March. Players from Tamworth, Manilla, Gunnedah, Armidale, Newcastle and the Sunshine Coast reached the final table, with Queenslander Philip Bedford claiming victory, the $1000 first prize and entry into the WTPC. A special mention of Paul “The Regal” Hubbard who busted his 10,000 starting stack in the third hand of the tournament before using his spend card to re-enter the tournament only to bow out once and for all the very next hand. Sounds like a storyline for a country and western song.


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2010 WSOP schedule confirmed Anticipation for the members of TeamAPL stepped up a notch with the recent release of the schedule for the 2010 World Series of Poker (WSOP). The 41st edition of the world’s premier poker tournament series will kickoff on Thursday, May 27. There will be 57 gold bracelets up for grabs this year – equal to last year’s total. July 4 will be the tournaments only “off day”, and will be dedicated to Main Event satellites. On Friday, May 28, the first open bracelet event will be the $50,000 buyin Player’s Championship (formerly the $50k H.O.R.S.E.) – the most expensive buy-in event to ever open up the World Series of Poker. Playing for the bracelet and the prestigious Chip Reese Memorial Trophy, the event will follow an eight-game format made popular by the late poker legend, and those participating in the Bellagio’s “Big Game” around Las Vegas card rooms. Over the first four days, Limit Hold’em, Omaha Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, Seven Card Razz, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better, No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha and 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball will be played, with the Final Table being No Limit Hold’em, as was the case when Reese won the inaugural $50K buy-in event in 2006. The opening weekend (May 29-30), will feature a $1000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournament, which last year established a non-Main Event record of 6012 entrants. The four-day event includes two starting flights. In another first at the WSOP this year, the first five weekends of the series will feature $1000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em tournaments with two starting flights. These will be played on May 29-30, June 5-6, June 12-13, June 19-20 and June

26-27. A sixth event on July 1-2, will also offer the same event at the same buy-in level, just days before the Main Event commences. The 41st annual WSOP will conclude, as is customary, with the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship (AKA the Main Event) which begins on Monday, July 5 and should reach its final table (nine players) on Saturday, July 17, at which time play will be halted for the third consecutive year. The famed tournament’s culmination will be held with the “November Nine” from November 6-9, before a live audience. The entire convention centre of the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino will be exclusively dedicated to the 2010 World Series of Poker for the first time, with tournament tables in the 58,000 square foot Pavilion and the 38,000 square foot Amazon Room. This is the earliest registration has ever opened, as players now have more than five months to register for the first event, and more than six months to register for the Main Event. For the complete 2010 WSOP schedule, check out

Let the Carnevale begin Rennie Carnevale is $165,900 richer after outlasting 235 hopefuls to win the first Main Event in the year long PokerStars. net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour (ANZPT). Carnevale, a 21-year-old student from Wollongong, has been playing poker for only 12 months but is already a PokerStars Supernova and registered for the tournament using his frequent player points. He is also in training to become a powerlifter and recently qualified for the Australian Junior Powerlifting Championships. Rennie journeyed to Adelaide to join his best friend, the reigning APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton. The final table lasted six hours, and comprised a host of well known players including Tony Hachem (making this his fifth cash in ANZPT tournaments), Billy ‘The Croc’ Argyros, Aleks Brkovic and Daniel Neilson. The heads up battle started with Andrew Scarf and Carnevale almost even in chips. On the final hand both players showed an ace but Carnevale was a slight leader with his 3c, while Scarf’s kicker was a deuce. When a three appeared on the turn Rennie’s championship was assured. As part of the unique ANZPT tournament structure Carnevale will be rewarded 51.75 points towards becoming the ANZPT Player of Year. The ANZPT rewards players on a points based system for performing consistently throughout a year-long calendar of events. The ANZPT announced at the start of the tournament the addition of a seventh venue. Casino Canberra will play host to its ANZPT event on June 11-14.

Barry’s boss of the Sth West After a three-month battle at 15 venues throughout Sydney, Barry Garland has been named as captain of the South West region. A well respected player, Garland is a veteran of the 2008 TOC and the 2009 Wild Turkey Grand Slam. The captaincy was decided after the top 10 players from each event in the South West were invited to play in a special tournament on Australia Day. Prizes in the South West Bracelet Event included an impressive silver bracelet, Pro Open tickets for a six-month period, entry into the APL Wild Turkey Poker Classic, and the coveted position of “captain” of Team South West for the next six months. Garland’s experience and leadership will come in handy when the South West team journeys to Melbourne for the APL Wild Turkey Poker Classic in March.


Autumn 2010

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Tables to terminals The story of online poker Online poker is a multi-billion dollar industry that employs thousands of people around the world and hosts millions of poker players every day. But where did it all start? How better to start our new Virtual Felt section than a look back at the history of the online game.


he history of poker is well written, but it’s a different case for online poker. Indeed, the ‘birth’ of the online game is more of an evolution than a specific moment of conception. The first chip in the wall occurred in 1994 when Antigua-Bermuda passed a Free Trade and Processing Act that opened the door for online casinos and sportsbooks to operate under licences granted thanks to that legislation. Around the same time, Microgaming, a company sometimes described as the Microsoft of online gaming, was founded. This was followed several months later by the launch of Cryptologic, the company responsible for the development of software that allowed safe and secure financial transactions to be made over the Internet.


Then Boss Specialtidningar AB filled the missing piece of the puzzle when it developed the first casino-style software that allowed users to play on the Internet. By 1998, poker-specific software had been developed and regular games were being held at Planet Poker. Once the bugs were ironed out of the Planet site, it became hugely popular with almost 100,000 users at peak times (a figure that most online sites would salivate about today). The first of the big players entered the market a year later, with the launch of Paradise Poker (which remains one of the world’s leading online poker sites). By 2001, names like PartyPoker, PokerStars and Ultimate Bet were on the radar, but it wasn’t until 2003 (the combination of the World Poker Tour’s TV

coverage and Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP victory after qualifying in a $39 online satellite) that the online boom really took off. The figures involved are staggering. It’s estimated that at the absolute peak of the industry in early 2006, the world’s most then-popular online poker site Party Poker rakes more than $100,000 per hour in profit. Profits of this magnitude have quickly assured that poker has been dragged from the backrooms into the boardrooms. However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Online poker has also provided legislators around the world with a massive headache. Despite it’s massive popularity, online companies are typically based in one of a handful of countries where they can be licensed to operate.

Autumn 2010

news Therein lies the problem. The ‘borderless’ nature of the Internet means players can log-on almost anywhere, anytime. But governments fond of their slice of the gambling pie are missing their cut via taxes. The past three years, several countries have elected to licence and fully regulate online poker sites to ensure their lucrative cut, while others have established mostlyunenforceable laws to ban the pastime. Then there’s the USA, which legislated against US-based financial institutions processing payments in and out of online poker sites. Regardless of the legislative issues, online poker provides regular access to the game we love for millions of players around the world, and it’s here to stay.

Why play online One of the hardest poker skills to learn is the ability to read your opponent. Experienced players in a ‘brick and mortar’ venue will see a ‘fish’ coming from a mile away. But in the faceless world of the online casino, there are no physical tells. Feel free to make an absolute clown of yourself as you take down another pot with that one-outer on the river. Conversely, playing online removes an important piece of the experienced player’s arsenal: the ability to read your physical reaction and tells. The most obvious advantage in playing online is the convenience. Despite the proximity of APL games around the country, it’s hard to beat ease of logging on to an online poker room, you can find a game 24 hours, seven days a week – no airfares, no hotel bills, no hassles. Most sites offer free-play tables, which are perfect for absolute beginners. Although there are limitations on how much strategy you can pick up in play money games, they are perfect for learning the basics. If you play some hours on a play money table you will get to know the software, the ranking of hands, the betting structures and which format of game you prefer. You will also make those inevitable early mistakes for free. Online poker is also a great environment to learn because many of the players you’ll encounter in low-limit games, small buy-in tournaments and in play money games will also be beginners or relatively inexperienced players. However, once you’ve started to win in the lower limit games, the opportunity exists to try your luck and skill at a higherlevel, where you can test yourself against tougher opposition.

Autumn 2010

Making the best of your online experience Play for free, but not for long Free-to-play or play money games online are great for newcomers to learn the fundamentals of poker. But don’t stay their too long – play money games or freeroll tournaments are loose and fast, and you’ll quickly notice the propensity for a swag of players to go all-in on the first hand. That’s because there’s no real punishment for making a bad decision. But if it’s your money, you’ll think twice before going all-in with that 8-4 offsuit!

Action aplenty Even once you start playing ‘real money’ games online, you’ll find the game looser than the equivalent casino game. There are two reasons – players behave differently when they are not ‘face-toface’ with their opponents and when you are sitting at a computer terminal hour after hour, there’s a greater temptation to play hands you wouldn’t normally play in a ‘live’ game.

Treat the game seriously If you were seated in a casino cardroom, you wouldn’t be eating dinner while sending emails, chatting on the phone, watching TV and working on your computer. So don’t do it while you’re playing online. If you intend to play online – and win – try to reduce the number of distractions and focus on your game. And until you start winning at one game, don’t think about playing more than one game at a time.

Manage your ‘tilt’ Credit 2006 WSOP bracelet winner and Full Tilt Pro Mark Vos for the following advice: “Going on tilt can be devastating to part-time players and professionals alike. It’s something that everyone (almost) faces repeatedly. If you feel like you’re on tilt, get up, turn off you’re computer as quickly as you can and do something else for at least 30 minutes. Tilting for even just a few minutes can mean the difference between winning and losing.”

It’s a fast game Things happen much faster in an online game. You’ll be able to build experience much quicker than in a casino game,

but it will also feel like you suffer more bad beats than normal. But remember, bad beats often come after you’ve committed your chips as a favourite, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In the long term, skills (and odds) will prevail.

Watch the clock Flexibility is one of the great things about online play – you can sit down for a few minutes or a few hours. But don’t throw away your entry fee on a tournament with several hundred runners if you don’t have a few spare hours up your sleeve. Think about playing a sit ‘n’ go instead, which might only take an hour or 90 minutes.

Watch for tells Sure, it’s not as easy as spotting the player with the shaking hand or twitching foot, but online players occasionally give away a signal of the strength or weakness of their hand. Some players preset their options to check or check/ fold, which may indicate they’ve yet to hit their hand. You’ll be able to judge this if they react instantly on the flop and turn.

Watch and learn The best tell in online poker is habit, especially when play is short-handed. Things move so quickly that players often act on impulse before considering their table image. Take note. One of the massive advantages of online poker is that you can take actual notes on your opponents. These are the equivalent of a ‘read’ in a live game.

Chat box Just as in your local cardroom, a ‘loudmouth’ who all of a sudden shuts up may have been distracted, more than likely by a good hand. Conversely, a player who suddenly sparks up after a prolonged period of silence may be trying to throw other players off their game could well be bluffing. And keep a close eye out for players ‘on tilt’, as there is a good chance they will chase a hand they would not normally play.


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Filling FAST Nick Filippopoulos

Steve McHugh

(2009 August Pro Champion)

(2009 Bluff Magazine TeamAPL Satellite Champion)

There is no denying that Nick “The Professor” Filippopoulos played a fantastic tournament when he claimed victory in the 2009 August Pro Open, but it’s fair to say he had more than his fair share of luck. Filippopoulos found himself heads up against NCN Region’s Tom Alexander before Alexander moved all-in preflop for more than the Nick could afford. He called the allin holding J-4 off-suit against Alexander’s pocket sevens. Neither hand improved until a jack sailed down the river to give Filippopoulos the pot. He hit a straight on the next hand to send Alexander to the rail.

Aaron Peterson (2009 WTGS runner-up)

John Rollason (2009 July Pro Champion) At 78, John is the oldest player to ever earn a spot on TeamAPL. Hailing from the Illawarra South Region in NSW, Rollason scored his ticket to the WSOP when he took out the 2009 July Pro Open. Rollason plays the majority of his cards at North Nowra Tavern and Kangaroo Valley Bowls, and was originally taught by his Aunty who just turned 100! “She doesn’t bluff as well as she used to,” John quipped.


This 27-year-old hails from Victoria’s VGW Region – he finished runner-up to Shavin Abdine in one of the longest heads-up battles in Australian poker history, at the 2009 Wild Turkey Grand Slam. Although falling short of victory, Peterson bagged a cool $60,000 in cash and prizes including flights, accommodation and entry into the 2010 WSOP Main Event as part of TeamAPL. “I need to improve on everything. You never stop learning in this game. As for specific strategies, I kept to one strategy for the Grand Slam; didn’t want to get into any 5050 bets. It worked well, so I’ll probably stick to it in the bigger tournaments,” he said.

This 34-year-old sales manager from Ellenbrook becomes only the second West Australian to earn a spot on TeamAPL (following 2009 representative Regan Lake) after he took out the Bluff Magazine TeamAPL Satellite at the Wild Turkey Grand Slam Four Day Festival of Poker last August. McHugh is constantly looking for ways to sharpen his game – he reads every poker book he can gets his hands on and prides himself on his ability to switch gears at the poker table. “You can’t pigeon hole me as a tight player or a loose player. I can be one, the other or both on any given day,” he said. A keen sports enthusiast, McHugh demonstrated his respect for the WSOP by likening it to other major sporting events. “This is it. This is our Olympics, our Wimbledon – our US Open.”

Autumn 2010

team APL

In July 2009, APL sent 24 of the league’s most accomplished poker players to compete in the biggest event in poker – the World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino. Over 15 days, the team mingled with and met some of the biggest names in the game, relaxed in the comfort of the Full Tilt Poker Pro Lounge, explored fabulous Las Vegas and joined almost 6500 other players in the battle for the most coveted prize in poker – the WSOP No Limit Hold’em World Championship bracelet and a multi-million dollar first prize. With flights, accommodation and tournament entry all provided free of charge, TeamAPL returned with more than USD $300,000 in prize money and boasted the highest placed Australian male (Charlie Elias) and highest placed Australian female (Emma Grace). In 2010, TeamAPL will be bigger and, we hope, more successful. And the line-up is quickly taking shape.

Raymond Eid (2009 WTGS sixth place) The 43-year-old hairdresser from Moonee Ponds in Victoria claimed his TeamAPL spot with a sixth-place finish in the WTGS after qualifying through the Brimbank Regional Final at Taylors Lakes. Not bad for someone who has only been playing poker for eight months. “It was a big achievement from my end. I sort of just played the game from my gut. I haven’t studied it or anything. I still don’t know much poker terminology. I just played my and felt as if I was the most consistent over the whole tournament - I was chip leader for extended periods too,” he said. After doing well at a big event like this I almost feel an expectation to do well in Vegas,” he said “If I won I’d thank God and look to provide my family with security as well as putting some of the money towards deserving charities.”

Autumn 2010

Michael Mifsud

Robert Sylvester

(2009 WTGS eighth place)

(2009 WTGS seventh place)

This 21-year-old dominated the 2008 Tournament of Champions for the majority of the final day of play, but wasn’t able to hold on long enough to make the final table. In 2009, he made amends by claiming eighth at the WTGS. The youngster has already set the bar high for his first start in the WSOP Main Event – he’s already got the prize money spent! “I’d help my parents out, buy new house, go on holiday around the world, buy my ticket into the next WSOP, play a few major tournaments … and after all of that I guess I’d better go back to work on the Monday,” he said.

Sydney Outer West Region’s Robert Sylvester is no stranger to the APL as his son is an APL TD. After finishing 66th in the Wild Turkey Poker Classic, Sylvester upped the ante at the Wild Turkey Grand Slam to finish seventh and claim his seat in Australian poker’s most exclusive team. His son started playing poker three years ago and convinced his dad to try it out. Poker isn’t the only thing father and son share in common, they both like overseas holidays and fishing. We think Robert’s fishing skills might just come in handy on his next overseas holiday!

Mona Isaac (2009 WTGS fifth place) Barely 18 months into her poker career, Mona Isaac became the first female player to make an APL Main Event final table when she finished fifth at the Wild Turkey Grand Slam; “It was my dream, and it was my dream to go to Vegas!” she said. The Sydneysider will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of 2009 TeamAPLer, Emma Grace who was the highest placed Australian female at the 2009 WSOP. She’s got the right strategy too: “I just like to play, and I play with my heart.”


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Michael Doumani (2009 October Pro Champion) Like most poker players who have somehow managed to make it to the bright lights of Las Vegas, it all started out as a pipe dream for this 65-yearold Sydney quarantine inspector. Doumani used to spend his Friday nights at home watching the latest episode of ESPN’s WSOP coverage until a work colleague suggested he take up pub poker with the APL. “I used to dream of one day making it to the WSOP, but my kids would say ‘yeah, OK Dad, sure. For now, why don’t you just head down to Kensington and play some APL. Then I went and won a seat into TeamAPL, which caught them by surprise I think. They realised, hey – the old man can play!’ he said. Michael admitted he shares the desire to win the Main Event but is realistic about his approach. “I just want to make day two. If I can make it past the opening flights, that’s a start, then I can worry about the money and things like that.”


Justin Tall

Allan Teves

(2009 December Pro Champion)

(APL/Saints 2010 WSOP 2 Day Challenge Champion)

Tall is an appropriate name for this 43-year-old who has scaled impressive heights in recent times. In the past two years, Tall has finished third and sixth in APL Player of the Month promotions. Tall currently sits in 13th position on APL’s lucrative Player of the Year leaderboard in which, should he finish third or better, will award him a seat into the 2011 WSOP. A harness racing trainer, Justin first came across poker at Bankstown Trotting Club. “They were playing poker there, so I figured I’d give it a look. The first week I watched, and it interested me enough to make sure I was playing the second week,” he said. Despite his success in the league’s leaderboard competitions, Tall has not been so lucky at APL Main Events – he was the first player eliminated in the 2007 Tournament of Champions. He will look to make amends when he lets loose in Las Vegas. “I have an ability to work out people’s thought processes, to work out betting patterns and hand ranges. I think that could really help me when it comes to succeeding in Vegas.”

It was only fitting that the APL/ Saints WSOP event, hosted by APL’s Sydney South Region, should have been won by a local: 34-year-old Allan Teves. Teves, who works in public service, first discovered poker while watching a 60 Minutes segment on 2005 WSOP Champion Joe Hachem – the same report that first inspired Emma Grace to pick up the deck. “The Hachem story got me interested. From there it started slowly with home games and things like that until eventually we figured, well, why not play this APL thing and actually give ourselves a chance at winning some prizes or something,” he said. Teves took to the felt like a duck takes to water, and he’ll be looking to make a splash come July. “I want to go deep. Some people want to focus day to day, some people want to focus on winning. I want to focus on the money. Make the money first.

Hartley Hon Ling (2010 January Pro Champion) Hartley’s poker career certainly started with a bang. “It was back in December 2008 and my mates were desperate to head down to an APL game at Burwood RSL. I couldn’t have been less keen. I really didn’t want to go, but I ended up being dragged along anyway,” he said. “Long story short, I started to get into it pretty quickly and even though I had absolutely no idea what I was doing I somehow ended up winning the whole thing. It was hilarious. From there I was just hooked.” The 23-year-old Sydney University student is currently working towards a degree in Psychology that will come in handy when he takes on the best of the best at the Rio AllSuite Hotel and Casino in July. “It’s going to be different, that’s for sure. I’ve been playing for just over a year now but I’ve never played a deep stack event and I’ve certainly never played in any event with a field anywhere near the size of a typical WSOP field. I’m just going to do the best I can, I’m looking to make an impact like everyone else.”

Autumn 2010

team APL

Keith Christian

Toby Hart

(2009 WTGS fourth place)

(2009 WTGS fifth place)

The Queenslander started day two of Wild Turkey Grand Slam with 9900 in chips, (100 less than his original starting stack), and defied the odds to reach the final table and finish fourth for a $20,000 payday and a ticket to Las Vegas. “The idea of going to Vegas is like a dream come true. I’ve been watching the World Series on TV for the last couple of years. It should be an unbelievable experience. It will be ridiculous,” he said.

After finishing fifth in the 2009 WTGS, Hart won himself respect and bragging rights throughout the Latrobe Valley region. He showed that the result was far from a fluke when the 21-year-old cashed in 56th at the 2009 Melbourne Championships. In 2010, Hart will look to follow in the footsteps of poker idol Joe Hachem and take the next step in his poker career. He’ll be eager to take his seat in the Amazon Ballroom after waiting an extra 12 months as he was too young to play in the 2009 WSOP.

David Chambers (2009 WTPC fourth place)

Alex Sandys (2009 WTGS third place) Sandys finished third in last year’s Wild Turkey Grand Slam, leaving his NCS Regional Team mate Shivan Abdine to take top spot on the podium. On top of his $20,000 TeamAPL package, Sandys also scored $25,000 in cash. “I’ll probably just keep it and save up but I might take a little bit out and go punt,” he said. Rumour has it Alex’s mum has requested a new car. He might need that WSOP cash after all.

At 20 years of age, Chambers was too young to compete in the 2009 WSOP Main Event despite winning his way onto TeamAPL in last year’s Wild Turkey Poker Classic. Now 21, he’ll be a welcome addition to the TeamAPL line-up for this year’s jaunt to Vegas. With Joe Cada’s recent efforts, 21 just might prove to be Dave’s lucky number. “The WSOP is a massive opportunity, it’s every poker player’s dream and the fact that I get to play in the biggest poker event in the world so young is just incredible.” The Sydney youngster is in the fourth year of his poker career and is hoping to make it a memorable one. “There’s not much else I’m into. It’s really just poker, poker, poker for me.”

• Note: 2009 WTGS Champion Shivan Abdine will compete in the 2011 WSOP as players must be aged at least 21 to take their seats in the WSOP. TeamAPL 2010 currently comprises 19 players, with more to come. We’ll profile the latest inductees Wayne Bell, Jimmy Aschner and Kris Nestorovic in the next edition of Shuffle!

Autumn 2010


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PERFECT – dealing like the experts



f you’re reading this, you’ve probably played your fair share of poker. You’ve already discovered that poker is about finding the right mix of science and art, but have you ever wondered about what it takes to deal the game? The first thing I’m going to teach is how to “pitch”. If you’ve been to the casino you’ve probably watched the dealers expertly flick the cards in the air to the players – looks awesome, right? It’s not that hard to do, but it takes a lot of practice. First, grab a deck of cards. Use plastic decks, as paper wears out and bends, which adversely affects the flight. Don’t worry about shuffling (we’ll go over that next time). Now place the deck in your off-hand. If you’re right-handed, take the deck in your left hand, and vice-versa. Make sure you’ve got a good grip on the cards, with your thumb free to push out the cards towards your strong hand. Your index finger should also be hooked a little over the top edge of the deck to stop the cards falling out of your hand (see the photo in Step 1). Now, push the top card with your thumb out into your strong hand. With that hand, pinch the top inside corner of the card with your thumb on top and your index finger underneath (Step 2). If your hands are positioned correctly, you should feel your middle finger (or ring finger, either or both is okay) pressing onto the inside edge of the card (Step 3). And it is with these fingers with which you flick the cards out (Step 4). Don’t slot the card between your index and middle fingers – you won’t have enough control over the flight. Don’t use your wrist to “throw” the cards out either, as this leads to injury. Focus on generating as much spin as you can; the more spin, the greater your control and accuracy. Practise at a slow and steady pace to begin with, to ensure that you master the technique. You’ll find at the start that some of the cards will turn face-up as you flick them out – just keep practicing! Keep your flight low (Step 5) and if you can’t generate enough spin, change the angle of the cards with your off-hand. A good way to practise your pitch is to put a bowl in the middle of a table, then pitch into it. Start a prop bet with your mates – get a deck of cards each, pitch into the bowl and whoever has the most cards in there at the end wins! Practise long enough, and you’ll find that your cards will effortlessly spin in the air and land where you want them to go. Then pitching in a poker game to your mates will be easy!

Autumn 2010

Landon Blackhall

Well known poker reporter and former croupier Landon Blackhall has joined the Shuffle team. He’ll be combing the rulebook and dealer’s guide for tips to ensure you’re well equipped when you take your seat in an APL event.



Did you know? • Like so many aspects of poker, no one is really sure where playing cards first originated. Some say the first playing cards emerged in China, where it is thought the cards represented not only part of the game, but the actual currency being played for as part of the game.

5. 3.

• By the late-1300s, a deck of cards resembling what is used today first appeared in Mameluke Egypt. It comprised 52 cards, four suits (admittedly sticks, coins, swords and cups) and 10 ‘spot’ cards. Around the same time, a similar style of cards emerged in India featuring rounded corners and hand-painted designs. It is not certain whether the Chinese concept was first exported to Egypt, then to India, or vice-versa. • The four suits that are used in most of the world first appeared in France in the latter part of the 15th century, and soon after court cards were devised in the publishing hub of Rouen although they cover a wide range of royalty (the King of Diamonds is said to be Caesar, while the Queen of Hearts is believed to be Rachel, the biblical mother of Joseph of Arimathea). • Today’s playing cards come in two types – plastic and plastic-coated. The latter are fine for the occasional game, but for the serious home game aficionado, stock up on the better quality plastic cards. They will not tear or crease, they are easier to shuffle and easier to deal. Best of all, they can wiped if stained by food or drink. Sure, they cost a little more but are well worth the extra expense.

4. Step 1:

Ensure the index finger supports the top edge of the deck

Step 2:

Pinch the top corner of the card with thumb on top and index finger underneath

Step 3:

Note how the middle finger rests against the inside edge of the card

Step 4:

Flick the card out with your middle finger – generate as much spin as you can

Step 5:

Keep your flight path low – more spin means more accuracy

Autumn 2010


Way to go, Tyron! From qualifier to Aussie Millions champ. We’d like to congratulate the new Aussie Millions champion, Tyron Krost. The 23-year-old wunderkind won his seat at the tournament in one of our online qualifiers, so we’re thrilled that he kept the trophy in Australia for the second year running – and won a staggering AU$2 million. If you want to join Tyron at the world’s biggest tournaments, make sure you play at From the Aussie Millions to the WPT, we’ve got a seat in the action waiting for you. Check out our full range of tournament qualifiers today. is a Play for Free website which does not offer any real money gaming. Min age 18 years + (or the legal age of majority in your home country, state or province). is a trade and service mark of Interskill Games Ltd. © Interskill Games Ltd 2009. All rights reserved. 04181

Jamie Glazier

Just like Fonzie How to stay cool at the poker table

When it comes to the application of mental conditioning to poker, there’s only one man in the game: Dare2Dream’s Jamie Glazier. Another welcome addition to the Shuffle stable, he discusses the importance of establishing your priorities before taking a seat in your next APL game.


o you finally get to your local APL game after a long day at work, ready to try and make that elusive final table. But for some reason there always seems to be a time during the night that just make it impossible for you to negotiate your way through the minefield, with other players making crazy decisions and acting like they are the venue’s own Phil Ivey. There is one word that will help you to control your own focus and play the best quality of poker you can, without wanting to throw a chip directly at your opponent’s vocal cords: acceptance! Acceptance is the most important mindset to bring to any and every APL game you will ever play, as the reason for each and every player to enter a free game of poker, will be completely different to why you have decided to give up your night to mix it with the local “legends”. The beauty of APL is that it gives everyone an opportunity to experience the rush of poker, but players tend to come in two categories – those who never confess to being great or take the game seriously, and those who think they are great players and take APL very seriously. The combination of these two forces can be the spark for fireworks at the table. One of the best strategies to help you stay in control during that run to the final table is to become aware of the reasons why you have chosen APL as your entertainment for the night. If you can make a list of up to five reasons why you play APL, this will help you clarify specifically what aspects of free poker on which you need to stay

the tables will have a different reason and their actions at times, will make no sense to you what so ever, but that’s fine. You will be focused completely on why you have decided to play APL and that will help you leave at the end of the night with smile, whether you have taken down the event or been busted by the drunk guy who shoved with rubbish in the first level.

Coac commh’s ents

focused while ducking and weaving the bullets that inevitably will be shot from a distance across the table. Write your list of reasons for playing APL on a sheet of notepad; then make sure you read your list five times before ✔ K you take your seat, as you need these ey wo reasons to be at the forefront of your & cla rd: accept ri a mind for the whole night’s play. tonig fy why you nce ­cut th ht On each break, re-read your list, r are p laying ough as when situations arise that chalAPL ✔ Y our re lenge you, your strength of focus as d i fferen ons for pl on the all important reasons why a t to o thers ying will b you are there will fade into the e ✔ M at the background and allow you to ake a table l i s to become emotional or personal why y ou pl f up to five ay AP about playing APL, which is a reaso L ns ✔ R great way to sabotage your ead t his lis night. on ea t ch br before yo Once you understand the eak u play and reasons why you are playing ✔ L eave APL, you then need to have the p u on yo complete acceptance that ur fac b or club with a e ! everyone else seated at sm


Ed’s note: Jamie Glazier operates Dare2Dream Peak Performance and Mental Conditioning. Check out his website or drop him an email at

Autumn 2010


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Shuffle Academy




Welcome to Shuffle Academy, the home of astute, considered poker that will give you an arsenal of weapons to crush your next APL game! In this first column, we look at the numbers required to make habitual re-raisers think twice.


ne of the more common questions posed by APL players is: “What do I do when I have an aggressive player to my left who is constantly re-raising me?” There really isn’t a simple and straightforward answer to the question, but there are considerations and adjustments you can make. One immediate reaction players have is that they should be re-reraising as a bluff more often. This will work, and it is a valid part of an overall strategy of attacking habitual re-raisers, but in a tournament where you cannot replenish your chip stack it is often a high risk/low reward play. Another reaction is that you should be calling more often. Again, this isn’t necessarily a bad strategy, but it has holes. If you are going to be in position post-flop it can be a very valid strategy, but out of position if you start calling the re-raises too light you will get yourself into many trouble spots. Much like the re-reraising counter, if the stacks are right that you can call and then either shove or check-raise all-in on the flop, this is a viable counter to someone who is re-raising too often, although the better ones don’t continuation bet every flop. Again though, if you’re deep stacked, it’s often just spewing chips to put up this type of fight.


Here are some simple numbers to show why the re-raise is so effective, especially in today’s game where people are fairly aggressive. If the blinds are 100/200 with a 25 ante and we have 10,000 chips ninehanded, there is 525 in the initial pot. If we open up around 20 per cent of hands from the cut-off (one to the right of the button) but only willing to call or rereraise with the top 20 per cent of those hands if called, then by raising to 600 we will be making the pot 1125, and if the button player re-raises to 2100 then we will be folding 80 per cent of the time (since we are only calling with 20 per cent of the hands we’re opening with). That play for him shows an immediate profit since 80 per cent of the time he will immediately win 1125. Even if he never wins when we call or re-reraise him, he will show a profit with any two cards because we’re opening too wide and folding too much. Everything up to this point has dealt with the side of the equation that deals with how often we fold/call. The second side to the equation is the number of hands we open with. If instead of opening with 20 per cent of hands we narrow that to 15 per cent we will automatically be increasing the number of hands we’re calling/re-reraising with about 27%. We get to that number because if we’re opening 20

hands out of 100 and calling/re-reraising with 20 per cent of that, then we’re calling with four hands out of every 100. If we lessen that to 15 out of 100 and still call/ re-reraise with four out of every 100 that is approximately 27 per cent. Now, even by doing this our villain can re-raise us and show an immediate profit, as we’re still folding 73 per cent of the time. However, if we narrow our raising range to 15 per cent (15 out of 100) and simply raise our calling/re-reraising range to five out of 100 (instead of four out of 100 from the previous example) then we are opening 15 per cent of the time and calling/re-re-raising 33 per cent of the time. When we do this the villain is getting about break-even odds on his re-raise play, and is making a much higher risk versus reward play. If we either tighten our opening standards or loosen our calling/rere-raising standards just a tiny bit, it can make a huge difference in the profitability habitual re-raisers show against us. It’s a lot of numbers to follow, but the bottom line is that habitual re-raisers profit because our calling/re-reraising range is too narrow. So we must adjust both sides of the equation: opening fewer hands AND calling/re-reraising with greater frequency.

Autumn 2010

The Big Show

Never say die Steering the short stack to glory Steve “The Big Show” Topakas is one of the great characters of Aussie poker. And over the past 12 months, few players in Australia can match his three six-figure cashes in live tournaments. Welcome aboard, Big Show!


t’s great to be part of the Shuffle team, and I looked forward to sharing my poker experiences with APL players around the country in this column. Unlike many of you, my first poker experience came in a casino poker room – it was at Conrad Jupiters on the Gold Coast back in early 2006 when I took a seat in a $1/$2 Limit Hold’em game; hardly the most enthralling stuff. Soon after, I had my first taste of tournament poker in a satellite for the 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event. It was a $240 buy-in tournament with $100 rebuys, with two seats up for grabs. I left the Crown poker room with one of them in my back pocket. I suppose my approach from day one was different from most: I wanted to be the best. Although I love playing poker, I didn’t want to invest a lot of time if I wasn’t aiming to be number one. People may snigger, but I was once a pretty handy football in the Victorian Football Association (now Victorian Football League) so I knew what it took to work hard to get to the top. I used the same mentality to build a successful business, and poker offered another opportunity to climb to the top. Of course, that’s a big ask so I set about reading as many books as I could lay my hands on such as Super/System and Kill Phil and then practised when I could. The acquired knowledge of playing in as many different situations as possible never goes to waste and would come in handy as my tournament career started to take off. In that 2007 Aussie Millions Main Event, I cashed in 75th for $15,000 and before the end of the year won my first title in am $80 Seven-Card Stud event at the PokerNews Cup (hey, you have to start somewhere), final-tabled the Adelaide Championships Main Event and was runner-up in the Semi-Shootout tournament at APPT Sydney. My first year as a tournament player ended with more than $65,000 in earnings; not a bad start, but I wanted more. I picked up three final tables at major events in 2008, but my breakthrough reAutumn 2010

sult came in the 2009 Aussie Millions with a second-place finish in the $1100 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Opening Event to German Christian Heich for more than $110,000. Suddenly, people started to sit up and take notice of me. I’ve always had a big personality, which I use to my advantage at the table. Sometimes other players think I’m their best friend, sometimes I like chatting to people but you have to be prepared to get under the skin of others. I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting at a table for 10 hours without saying a word. I suppose you could call it being unpredictable, which comes naturally! I collected another title in the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series PLH/O event before collecting another six-figure score in the 2009 Melbourne Poker Championships Main Event, finishing second to Todor Kondevski. Shortly after, I had my first taste of Las Vegas and the World Series of Poker where despite a lean run in the bracelet events I played, it was good to know that my game was strong enough to compete with the big

names, as Victor Ramdin and Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi will attest! Almost three years to the day after my first tournament cash, I reached the final two tables in the Aussie Millions Main event and collected my third $100,000plus score with 12th. I learned a valuable lesson in both the Melbourne Champs and Aussie Millions – I was extremely short-stacked at numerous points of those tournaments but never panicked. This is something to take with you to your next APL game – if you’ve got chips, you’re alive. Everything around you is taking care of itself, players are being constantly eliminated so you only need to focus on your game and situation. Stay calm, wait for hands, pick your spots and never give up. • Steve Topakas is an ambassador for; the number one source for upcoming live, online and pub/ club poker events and tournaments


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Aaron Benton


Poker dreams can come true APL players have achieved some remarkable results in the pro ranks over the past four years, but Aaron Benton’s win in the 2009 APPT Grand Final stands as a beacon for all other APLers to aspire. He’s thrilled to join Shuffle as part of our expert team.


’m stoked to be writing in Shuffle magazine and sharing my experiences in the poker world. For all of you who’ve ever dreamed of taking the next step from your pub game to the biggest events in poker, I am living, breathing proof that it can be done. Like many of you, my first experience of poker came in APL games around the Wollongong region about three years ago. I started playing with friends and got more serious when I started winning. Every night I would go to a different venue with mates. At the time, I was working with a major international recruitment company as a consultant but in poker terms, I was just an everyday punter – trying to squeeze in the odd APL game or online tourny in the evening. But I’ve always been highly competitive and love to play all kinds of sports. My passion for poker grew from there because I found the game challenged me on some many levels. In mid-2009, I decided to take a “leap of faith” and commit myself to a schedule of poker tournaments using some of the money I won after finishing runner-up in the FTOPS XII Main Event in May last year. My poker journey began in Las Vegas where I satellited into both the Caesars Mega Stack and Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza main events (coming up short in both). I then managed to satellite into the ANZPT event in Queenstown, New Zealand, and then managed to satellite into all four APPT tournaments. I didn’t cash in any of these events but felt that my game was strong enough to compete against the better players throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia, but not even I was prepared for what came next. I’d never made I beyond day two in any of the tournaments I’d played in the previous six months but heading into day three of the APPT Grand Final at Star City, I found myself with plenty of chips and


a fierce determination to make my mark on this event. As you all know, luck plays its part in winning any tournament and I’m the first to admit that the planets were aligned for me when this hand played out on day three, as my mate Sean Callander reported: “Benton and David Hibbott limped in before a flop of 2c-7h-9h, Hibbott led out for 15,000 and Benton called, going to the turn of the [7d]. Hibbott led out for 30,000, Benton raised to 80,000 but Hibbott snapshoved and after several minutes in the tank, Benton called, tabling [10h] [8h] but was in strife against the [2s] [2d] of Hibbott for a turned full house. Snap – the [6h] spiked on the river and Benton was ecstatic, having rivered a straight flush! Hibbott was catatonic as Benton scooped in his chips, taking him to more than 520,000.”

Did you know? Aaron Benton appeared in series two of Big Brother – the former Naval officer was third evicted from the house.

Not bad!! I reached my first major final table in second chip position but lost a crucial hand early on to lose a big slab of chips to Tommy Grigg. I’m sure you’ve all been in a similar spot. I went for a walk, had a beer (which turned into a few more) and after a chat with my mates, I retook my seat – my mission was to enjoy this experience and see how things played out.

I slowly clawed my way back into the tournament and by the time only four players remained, I held about half the chips in play. It came down to a battle between Ernst Hermans and myself for the title. I started heads-up in front but he fought back and at one stage was more than one-million ahead. So I decided to get very aggressive, betting the flop hard and betting my draws. If he bet the flop, I’d re-raise and keep the pressure on. The end came when my pocket kings held up against Ernst’s flopped pair of nines. Aaron Benton, 2009 PokerStars. net APPT Grand Final winner! Who’d have thought it! Three months later and I’m still on top of the world. And I started where you are – in a local APL game, enjoying a night of poker with my mates. Don’t be afraid to take the next step and test yourself against players at the next level – APL provides a great grounding for the fundamentals of tournament poker, so you’ve already taken an important first step. And never forget: dreams do come true.

Autumn 2010


DAYS Shuffle has sourced some of the biggest names in the game as part of our new look, but not all of them are happy to be identified. Compromise? We welcome St. Degen, the patron saint of bad beats, to our list of contributors. His unique outlook on the game compensates what his moniker lacks in class.


he best way to improve your game is through experience. Get yourself in as many different situations as possible and see how every hand plays out. Sometimes you’ll win, other times you’ll lose, but in either case, you’ll always learn a valuable lesson. But what happens when you become complacent? Even worse, you’re complacent with the leaks in your game and haven’t put forth the effort into sealing them up. Fixing these problems doesn’t occur instantaneously, but as with any other sport, training can help you reach a desired resolution. Well, here’s another exercise to try: never call. Many people make the mistake of calling too often. With strong hands they’ll raise and weaker hands they’ll fold. Hands in the middle? You guessed it, a call. The truth is that there are lots of situations pre-flop and post-flop where calling is the worst decision out of all the options available. Of course, calling is sometimes the right play but many players make the mistake of calling too often. When is it right? Firstly, it’s cheap when you’re playing a hand that can hit something big. The other reason to call is when you think you have your opponent beat. So here’s how to treat the exercise – sit down at a cash game or tournament

Stat fact: The probability of being dealt pocket aces is 0.00452 (or about one hand in every 220) – that’s a long wait for all you nits out there! with a small amount of money that won’t affect your bankroll. A very cheap buy-in tournament if you’re playing online ($1 to $10) or the cheapest live tournament you can find. Make sure that whatever you’re playing, your opponents are actively aware of your table image. If they aren’t paying attention, this will not be as successful an exercise as it should be. Now, when you are faced with any decision your only options are check, fold, or raise. The only time you are allowed to call is when it is for all your chips. You can call an all-in for your tournament life (or the other player’s all-in), but that is the only time. Get out of your comfort zone and be aggressive. It will be amazing to see how often your opponents will fold to your raises and re-raises. You’ll start to see which hands are strong enough to play and which hands that you initially believed were played no longer fit that category. Your starting hand requirements will have to adjust. If not, your chip stack will dwindle considerably during this exercise. As an example, let’s look at a situation where you’ve been relatively card dead for

a while. Your opponent in early position raises and you have A-10 off-suit on the button. Many people would call with this hand in position. It’s a better hand than anything you’ve seen in while and you want to see if you can hit the flop. Do we think that if an ace flops, we’re good? What about a 10-high flop? Do we know if our opponent has pocket jacks or queens? It’s a situation where if either card hits, we really don’t know where we stand. You know that if you re-raise here and he re-reraises, you’ll have to fold. Using all this logic put together, if you were practicing this exercise, you would realise you have to fold. The hand simply isn’t good enough for this situation. In a second situation you have A-J, you have raised pre-flop, and the board comes K-J-3. Your opponent bets, should you fold or raise? If you raise and he re-raises, he can probably beat your second pair. At that point, you could let the hand go and won’t lose anything else. Don’t put money in on every street calling him down, as many of you will reluctantly admit you’ve done. By re-raising, you’ll force him to define his hand before the pot has gotten huge.

Training exercises are not designed to produce winning results today. They’ll help you improve as you grow more comfortable with a specific playing style, but immediate positive results aren’t guaranteed, and, in fact, should not be expected at all.

Autumn 2010





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Pack your bags for the inaugural…


The evolution of the APL continues in 2010 with the announcement of the APL Poker Tour – the world’s first free-to-play poker tour with entry only possible through qualification.


here are no shortage of pub poker providers. Chances are you’ve at least seen an advertisement for, or maybe even played with, another poker league. But while the free poker landscape might have changed, APL’s place at the top of the poker tree has remained constant and is as strong as ever. Poker players have come to realise that, if it’s a game of poker you’re seeking, you can find that almost anywhere. If you’re looking for a poker event – you can’t go past APL. From the regular freeroll at your local RSL to our major events, APL offers something for everyone. In 2006, APL’s first major final took place at Blacktown Workers Club, where the most successful of APL’s player base gathered to see Sydney’s Mark Sarkis crowned champion and earn himself a seat into a World Poker Tour event. In 2007, a total of 220 players, each having qualified for free, gathered at Luna Park’s big top for the inaugural APL Tournament of Champions (TOC) to contest a prize pool of $1 million. They did so under the watchful eyes of 2005 WSOP Main Event champion Joe Hachem and Team Full Tilt’s Gus Hansen, with Bega’s Rodney Davidson claiming first prize and $300,000 in cash for his efforts. In 2008, APL stepped things up again by hosting the world’s largest and richest


live freeroll event in history. More than 1000 players gathered at The Cube in Campbelltown to take part in the second instalment of the TOC. This time, the field played across an entire weekend before Paul Georges from Sydney’s inner-west cleaned up the first prize of $250,000 in cash, a $20,000 TeamAPL package as well as a brand new Jeep Wrangler valued at $45,000. Jay Hook, Geoff Menz and Charlie Elias would walk away with a combined $215,000 in cash as well as each winning a seat on TeamAPL’s maiden voyage. APL Main Events evolved further in 2009, with the league’s annual major tournament replaced by two brand new events; the Wild Turkey Poker Classic and Wild Turkey Grand Slam. Contested in the world famous Crown Poker Room in Melbourne, players battled for an annual prize pool of $1.1 million with an opportunity to share in the cash and prizes once every six months. A field of more than 1200 players took part across the two events – a 20 per cent increase on the league’s annual Main Event participation. Nowra’s Danny Taylor and Sydney’s Shivan Abdine claimed victory in the 2009 WTPC and WTGS respectively, but this time around the events would see 13 players qualify through to the World Series with

Autumn 2010

apl tour

Did you know? The Australasian poker champion was decided at Adelaide Casino from 1987-2001 before the introduction of the Aussie Millions by Crown Casino in 2003. Canberra Casino also held its own version of national poker titles from 1996-2001.

TeamAPL, 9 more than the 2008 TOC. In 2010, with membership of more than 600,000 – more than 10 times more than when the league hosted it’s first Main Event, the world’s biggest free poker provider aims to take the experience of playing in an APL Main Event to unprecedented heights. APL will welcome the New Year with the 2010 Wild Turkey Poker Classic in March, which will also signal the beginning of a qualification phase into a more versatile, dynamic and frequent event offering. Welcome to the APL Poker Tour. In a format that will offer more prizes to more people, more often, across more venues and in more locations than ever before, APL’s premier tournament series has never been more accessible and the dream of becoming the next APL Champion has never been more realistic. As its name suggests, the APL Poker Tour (APLPT) will feature APL Main Events at major resorts across the country, with an event set to take place every 8-12 weeks. While this format may seem similar to other poker tours on offer, the APLPT is the world’s first free-to-play poker tour and entry is only possible through qualification.

Autumn 2010

The APLPT will also allow qualifiers to choose which stop on the poker tour they want to play on. This means players will have the opportunity to wait until the tour arrives in their home city, or give themselves time to save for a poker tour event away from home. Season one will feature three APLPT events, with the first slated to take place in Sydney this June (venue to be confirmed). In September, the tour will move to Queensland’s beautiful Gold Coast before APL’s Main Event returns to Melbourne in late November. APL will still be contributing $1000 per player, with the annual prize pool for 2010 expected to top $1.3 million with more tournaments to be added to the APLPT schedule in season two. As has been the case at previous major tournaments, APL will still be giving away seats to the elusive TeamAPL, which will make its return to the bright lights of Las Vegas this July for the World Series of Poker. The winner of each APLPT event will be inducted into TeamAPL, which means that once you reach the heads-up contest, the pressure is hardly off – you’ve got cash, an APLPT title and a shot at a WSOP

Bracelet to play for. As previous Main Event participants have come to expect, the APL Poker Tour experience promises more than a just a poker tournament. This will be a multi-dimensional poker event, with range of exciting peripheral events and complementary entertainment scheduled for each tournament. In looking to bring its’ highly anticipated major event property to the masses and revolutionize pub poker as we know it, APL has undoubtedly created a poker experience unlike any other to come before it. With so much to play for in 2010, the only question left to answer is: where will you be when the APL Poker Tour comes to your city?



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The final edition of the Wild Turkey Poker Classic will again showcase the APL’s best poker exponents, who’ll once again be chasing be chasing a slice of a massive prizepool and a spot on TeamAPL.


ongratulations to our 2010 Wild Turkey Poker Classic (WTPC) qualifiers, who’ve had their hard work and dedication at the felt over the past six months rewarded with a seat in the APL’s final WTPC event at Crown Poker Room from March 5. The WTPC prize pool is tipped to reach $600,000 and will see up to six players inducted into TeamAPL, the league’s national representative squad that will compete in the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas. The event’s unique four-day structure follows the overwhelming success of the Wild Turkey Grand Slam in August, for which unprecedented numbers made the pilgrimage to Crown to compete in preliminary TeamAPL and Main Event qualifiers as well as cash games and tournaments offered at Crown. The 2010 WTPC will see even more action packed into four days with seven preliminary events specifically designed for APL members including two Last Chance Qualifier Events as well as an APL Ladies Event.


APL Wild Turkey Poker Classic schedule Friday, March 5 (12.10pm): $25 WTPC Last Chance Event 1 w/ $25 rebuys (tournament open to APL members only; winners earn seats into flight 1 of the WTPC Main Event) Friday, March 5 (7.10pm): $200 TeamAPL Satellite (open to APL members and staff) Saturday, March 6 (10am): Wild Turkey Poker Classic (day 1, flight 1; qualifiers only) Saturday, March 6 (12.10pm): $25 WTPC Last Chance Event 2 w/ $25 rebuys (tournament open to APL members only; winners earn seats into flight 2 of the WTPC Main Event) Saturday, March 6 (4.30pm): $120 APL Cash Bonanza ($5k guaranteed to winner; open to APL members and staff)

Saturday, March 6 (8pm): APL Players Party (open to APL members, staff, franchisees and guests) Sunday, March 7 (10am): Wild Turkey Poker Classic (day 1, flight 2; qualifiers only) Sunday, March 7 (4.10pm): $50 Wild Turkey Grand Slam Satellite w/ $25 rebuys (open to APL members and staff) Sunday, March 7 (8.10pm): $50 APL Ladies Event (open to APL members and staff) Monday, March 8 (2.10pm): $200 APL Teams Event (open to APL members and staff) Monday, March 8 (10am): Wild Turkey Poker Classic (final day)

Autumn 2010

apl main event news

Wild Turkey Poker Classic qualifiers Shivan Mautohi Michael Adam John Ben Thomas Shane George Joel Michael Michael Richard Son Nick Adam John Jacky Peter Steven Jeremy Chris Martin Shane Mike Kim Shane Richard Brendan Marcus Ross Tamara Warren Mark Gabor Keith Jill Martin Wim Gordon Raymond Nick Justine Daniel Derek Greg Jonie Laurie John Barry Stewart Chris James John Mandy Paul James Simon Matthew Mitch Mevlut Beth Carmine Chris James Ehsan Chris Cyrus Mohammad Michael Joe Ashley Don Celena

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Autumn 2010

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Greg Eugene Jeremy Roger Jennifer Anna Joe Mathew Geoff Michael Theresa Daniel David Romeo Kelly John Blake Troy Aaron Aaron Carmine Tim Cheryl Chris Andrew Trung Arthur Anthony Chris Garry Aaron Anthony Judy Ivan Lynn Matt Phill Jamie Joel Dov Jeff Gary Vas Anthony Bowan Geoffrey Nick Dane David Charles Avi Madison Trevor Steve William Jamie Russell Chris Steve Linda Basil Simon Mick Kaye John Peter Joel Joseph Ron Majed Matt Lyndsie Bernard Daniel

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Tiffanie Amber Mark Daniel Leslie Steve Himzo Simi Adam Dylan Michael Ross Allan Danial Jon Todd Pat Derick Debbie Jeff Bek Andrew Daniel Shane Brett Kathy Drew Roger Mehmet Magdaleno Toni Craig Cathy Elie Daniel Tracy Mervyn Sam Steven Aleks Marcolina Roger John Lorinda Belinda Ruth Stephan Guy Kayne David Michael James Louise Natasha Phil Mitch Suzy Philip Ron Paul Darren Hazel Rodney Wayne Robert Nicole Jim Matt Arabella

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apl main event news

Wild Turkey Poker Classic qualifiers Su Daniel Andrew Damir Ashleigh Penny Sean Sarah Michelle Declan Wayne Daniel David Van Billy Andrew David Seamus Ian Luke Abaseen Harry Gary Murphy Erin Rhys Leon Scott Bill Brett William Chris Paul Chris Paul Michael Mark Joseph Peter Scott Rebecca Sonney Alex David Suliman Bruce Michael Sean John Shane Salim Matt Prospero Anthony Simon Logan Kris Ngoc Da Lam Tin John Chris Alex Chris Anthony Peter David Cameron Lisa Shae-Lee Tyran Dean

Le Leahy Lee Lekic Lewandowski Lewis Liu Loft Lofthouse Lui Luke Lukic Luxton Ly Ly Mabarrack Maclean Mac-Suibhne Major Malik Mangal Manikas Marsden Marurai Matheson Mathewson Maughan Mccoombes McDermid McFarlane McLean McLeod McVarthy McVicar Meendering Menagh Merchant Mifsud Mikhail Milgate Miller Miller Mojzes Moloney Momand Morris Morton Morvan Mouawad Mount Moutasallem Muir Mumkin Muscat Mutton Myers Nestorovic Nguyen Nguyen Nguyen Nguyen Nikalou Nikolaou Noble Nugent Nunn Oakes O’Brien O’Brien O’Connell Omaye Orchard Osbourne

Autumn 2010

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Lana Daryl Guy Garry Garry Lesley Cheryl Shane Micheal Amanda Shaun Ben Ron Laurie William Katherine Mark Jason Joan Brad Simon Chris David Michael Robert Adam Lynette Aaron Arthur Michael Gavin Buddy Paul Lorna Andrew Jen Belinda David George Domenic Gary David Claire Erin Nick Chehade Robert Darrell Alex Brian James Michael Denise Dan Paul Vasilli Jnr Bryan Cameron Kara Jeff Ben Glenn Richard John Robin Mitch Wayne Terence Stephen Dino Donna Gavin

Owens Paget Parker Parker Parker Parrinder Paull Peart Peckham Pendergast Perkins Phillips Phrakhoungheaung Piddock Pike Pike Poole Power Primorac Prior Pyne Raffaele Ragg Rawlins Regan Reid Richards Richardson Richardson Richardson Rider Riley Robinson Rock Roemer Rogers Rogers Rogers Roker Romeo Ross Rowland Russel Russell Sabo Sakr Salerno Sands Sandys Savic Sawyer Scarfone Scott Secomb Seletkoff Seletkoff Shanks Shepherd Shepherd Shute Simmons Sims Singer Skaf Smith Smith Smith Smith Smith Spagnoli Stanford Stokes

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John Geoff Michael Scott Paul Tanya Kristijan Jeffrey Zolton Matt Justin Frank Ross Danny Craig Greg Rhonda Sue Dave Noel Robert Steve Matt Leveni Fred Tung Ken Kwun Michael Matthew David Theresa Troy Jeffery Khoa Rino Joseph Frank Jamie Andrew Danny Keith Mat Kerry William Justin Alex Alfred Andrew Stephen Paul Anthony Gerald Mark Kristie Maureen Justine Glen Ron Rhona Kassandra Pauline John Michael Michael Wilson Solaimon Raymond

Strudwick Strudwick Stuart Sullivan Sullivan Sumner Sutinoski Szeto Szucs Tabe Tall Tapalaga Taylor Taylor Taylor Taylor Taylor Telford Thomme Thompson Thompson Tolios Tomlin Tonga Toofohe Tran Tran Tsang Turkiw Turnbull Unasa Vailima Valentini Vallance Van Verrusio Verrusio Violi Vo Walker Walker Walker Waller Walton Wang Watson Wayne Weeks Weldon Whibley White Wilcomes Wilkinson Williams Williams Williams Williams Williams Wilson Wilson Winkelman Wooden Yianni Yofchevich Young Young Zareey Zerafa

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Benny’s brainchild – the story of the World Series of Poker Welcome to Hand History, where we’ll look back at some of the greatest moments in poker history. Where better to start than the “big daddy” – the World Series of Poker, and the story of how Benny Binion turned a gamblers’ reunion into the world’s premier poker brand.

WSOP creator Benny Binion


Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston

Johnny Moss

“Texas Dolly” Doyle Brunson

During the course of the marathon, Arriving in Las Vegas, he took an interest he World Series of Poker is unique among the greatest in the Las Vegas Club before buying the which lasted five months with breaks only sporting contests. Forget the four Eldorado Club, which he duly renamed the for sleep, the two men played every form days of the Masters at Augusta, Horseshoe. To the dismay of many other of poker imaginable. Moss ultimately won the two weeks of Wimbledon, or the 22 casino owners in town, Binion promptly “the biggest game in town” and an amount slashed the house edge and raised the that may have been as high as $4 million. days of the Tour de France. When the Greek lost his last pot, he The WSOP cranks up in late-June betting limits. Together with his sons Jack and continues through the teeth of the and Ted, and wife Teddy Jane, Binion’s arose from his chair, bowed slightly, and blistering hot Nevada until the second Horseshoe quickly built a reputation as the uttered the now-famous words, “Mr. Moss, I have to let you go.” Dandolos then went place to find the highest stakes in town. week of August. In the summer of 1949, an inveterate upstairs to bed. While the WSOP is undoubtedly a Though significant in its own way as a sporting event, combining the best aspects gambler Nicholas “Nick the Greek” of the ‘game’ with the roller coaster ride Dandolos approached Binion with an chapter in poker history, the five-month that is the tournament format of poker, the unusual request – to challenge the best marathon took on added importance roots of this remarkable event lie at the in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion to Binion. He noted that the public had agreed to set up a match between gathered outside the casino each day feet of one man, and the empire he built. Lester “Benny” Binion was born just Dandolos and the legendary Johnny Moss, to watch the game with the fervour of after the turn of the century in Pilot Grove, with the stipulation that the game would dedicated sports fans, and he was amazed at the attention the event attracted. Texas. Horse trading, bootlegging and be played in public view. Binion had time to plan how to exploit Binion bankrolled Moss, who arrived illegal craps games were just some of his early ‘business’ interests, before he was in Vegas reluctant and exhausted, having this popularity after he was jailed in 1953 run out of Dallas just after the end of World been playing for five days straight before for four years on tax charges, and with >>> Turbo fact – James Akenhead a member of summons. a poker posse known as the Hitthe Squad, along with brothers inherit licensing headaches, it took a heisreceived the War II.

Sunny and Chaz Chattha, WSOP bracelet winner Praz Bansi, Jim Kerrigan and Karl Mahrenholz >>>


Autumn 2010

hand history number of years before Binion regained the reigns of the Horseshoe. Two decades after his first night in jail, Binion conducted an expansive interview with historian Mary Ellen Glass. Sadly, much of the early history of the WSOP has been lost, but Glass’ tapes unearthed the true story behind the birth of the World Series of Poker. The conception actually occurred several hundred miles to the north of Las Vegas in Reno, and the home was the Holiday Hotel, not the Horseshoe. “Well, there was a fellow by the name of Tom Moore started it in Reno, invited us all up there one year. Holiday Hotel. So we enjoyed it very much, everybody enjoyed it so; good get together too, you know,” Binion said. “So Tom Moore sold out, so I says, “Well, we’ll just put it on.” Arid Jack took ahold of it (my oldest son), went to puttin’ it on. So we’ve really improved it over what it did – we improve it every year. And this was the most thrilling game – I’ve seen lot of poker games; this one this time was the most thrilling game I’ve ever seen,” Binion told Glass. Deciphering the transcript that brought Binion’s Texan twang to life, Tom Moore invited a group of his former road gambling pals to a ‘Texas Gambler’s Reunion’ at his new Reno hotel, the Holiday, in 1969. Intended as a publicity stunt, players like “Texas Dolly” Doyle Brunson, “Amarillo Slim” Preston and Jack “Treetop” Strauss indeed drew a crowd to the Holiday Hotel (Crandell Addington eventually emerged the victor). Binion had already seen the public’s interest in poker during the MossDandolos showdown 20 years earlier, and immediately realised the potential of the game even then played in many American homes every week, although it was hardly a staple in the Vegas’ casinos. The biggest obstacle he had to overcome was inside the Horseshoe, where his family wanted more slot machines and table games rather than poker tables, which were nowhere near as profitable. But Binion was convinced that poker would be a loss leader that would draw more people to the Horseshoe, and in mid-1970, invitations were distributed to the six men that would contest the first World Series of Poker. The field comprised Brunson, ‘Slim’, their former road gambling partner Brian ‘Sailor’ Roberts, Crandell Addington, Carl Cannon and a sole Tennessean, Puggy Pearson. The six men played five different forms of poker, including the then-rare game of No Limit Texas Hold’em. Johnny Moss,

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who’d prevailed over “Nick the Greek” more than 20 years earlier, was declared the winner and received a trophy for his unanimous election as the 1970 world champion. (Each player had been asked to vote for the best player and each voted for themselves. They were then asked to vote for the second-best player, and Moss got the nod). There’s no doubt that the true ‘champion’ of the inaugural WSOP was Jimmy ‘The Greek’ Snyder. ‘Loaned’ to Binion by then-Vegas heavy-hitter Howard Hughes, Snyder ensured poker appeared for the first time in scores of US newspapers. “I think he’s getting’ to be about as good a man as there is around. He’s got that column, he’s got a lot of personality, he’s a good speaker, and he’s goin’ around all over the country,” Binion told Mary Ellen Glass in 1973. “And he knows all-he’s got that column in a lot of papers and knows a lot of newspapermen, you know. And I think he can just get about as good a coverage as anybody. And we use him some. Fact of business we use him exclusive for the poker game.” The inaugural event was a reasonable success, but it lacked that killer ingredient. Ever the wordsmith, ‘Amarillo Slim’ hit the nail on the head. “How many people would watch the Kentucky Derby if a bunch of horses ran around the track and then all the jockeys voted on the winner?” To add a slice of that gunslinger’s mentality, where players would actually be fighting for each other’s money, it was decided that the 1971 event would use a ‘freezeout’ format (many took credit for the idea, but it was Puggy Pearson’s suggestion). Just to show that the players had voted correctly 12 months earlier, Moss pocketed the $5000 entry fee of his five rivals to make it two in a row. Over the next four decades, the WSOP would grow from a novelty casino PR exercise to one of the leading sports properties in the world and the cornerstone of the aspirations of poker players the world over. Thousands of players (that now include our own members of TeamAPL), untold millions in prizemoney and hundreds of hours of TV time – who’d have thought the WSOP would grow to such incerdible heights after such humble beginnings. Prior to the final table of the 2006 main event, then-WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said the event was merely reaching “the end of the beginning”. What a beginning it has been.

WSOP Main Event winners Year Winner

# of entrants prize

1970 Johnny Moss 7 Silver Cup 1971 Johnny Moss 6 $30,000 1972 Thomas 8 $80,000 “Amarillo Slim” Preston 1973 Walter “Puggy” Pearson 13 $130,000 1974 Johnny Moss 16 $160,000 1975 Brian “Sailor” Roberts 21 $210,000 1976 Doyle Brunson 22 $220,000 1977 Doyle Brunson 34 $340,000 1978 Bobby Baldwin 42 $210,000 1979 Hal Fowler 54 $270,000 1980 Stu Ungar 73 $385,000 1981 Stu Ungar 75 $375,000 1982 Jack “Treetop” Strauss 104 $520,000 1983 Tom McEvoy 108 $540,000 1984 Jack Keller 132 $660,000 1985 Bill Smith 140 $700,000 1986 Berry Johnston 141 $570,000 1987 Johnny Chan 152 $625,000 1988 Johnny Chan 167 $700,000 1989 Phil Hellmuth 178 $755,000 1990 Mansour Matloubi 194 $895,000 1991 Brad Dougherty 215 $1,000,000 1992 Hamid Datsmalchi 201 $1,000,000 1993 Jim Bechtel 220 $1,000,000 1994 Russ Hamilton 268 $1,000,000 1995 Dan Harrington 273 $1,000,000 1996 Huck Seed 295 $1,000,000 1997 Stu Ungar 312 $1,000,000 1998 Scotty Nguyen 350 $1,000,000 1999 Noel Furlong 393 $1,000,000 2000 Chris “Jesus” Ferguson 512 $1,500,000 2001 Carlos Mortensen 613 $1,500,000 2002 Robert Varkonyi 631 $2,000,000 2003 Chris Moneymaker 839 $2,500,000 2004 Grey Raymer 2576 $5,000,000 2005 Joe Hachem 5619 $7,500,000 2006 Jamie Gold 8773 $12,000,000 2007 Jerry Yang 6358 $8,250,000 2008 Peter Eastgate 6844 $9,152,416 2009 Joe Cada 494 $8,546,435


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Autumn 2010

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It’s every player’s dream to scale the poker pyramid – from your local pub or club to the final table of a major event, ensuring a life-changing payout. Or climbing your venue leaderboard to eventually earn a shot at glory on the world’s biggest poker stage – to rub shoulders with the game’s finest players for a shot at ultimate glory. Since the foundation of the APL in late-2005, six players have truly lived the dream. Each of them started with a dream, a passion for poker and an ambition to reach the top of the game. Though their individual journeys differ greatly, each started at the same place – their local APL game. So how did Charlie Elias, Emma Grace, Paul Georges, Rodney Davidson, Danny Taylor and Shivane Abdine – six players who’ve won a combined $1 million thanks to the APL – make the step from pub poker play to APL icon? Their stories are highlighted in this special Shuffle feature. Autumn 2010


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Charlie Elias Lives: Riverwood, NSW Highest-placed Australian in the 2009 WSOP Main Event APL Earnings: Over $210,000 AUD


Autumn 2010

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f ever there were a poster boy for pub poker and the opportunities it offers, it has to be Charlie Elias. A tiler by trade, Charlie is a dedicated family man, a hard-working business owner and a humble champion. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. On any given day, you can find Charlie sweating it out over tiles and grout for an honest day’s pay. You’d never guess he had earned more than $215,000 thanks to the APL. You wouldn’t guess that this guy had taken on some of the biggest names in poker – or imagine the rollercoaster ride he embarked on last July, when he finished 53rd out of 6494 runners in the 2009 WSOP Main Event. “I’m a tiler by trade. I have been for 10 years. I’ve been working in the building game ever since I got out of school. I run my own business, Tilerific Tiling, and my work is my main focus. But I remember watching poker on TV one day, and my mother-in-law had mentioned that she knew how to play it. So there we were, in front of the TV, playing poker – her teaching me what meant what and me trying to soak it all up,” he said. Elias has absolutely no doubts that his journey was far from a chance happening: “I’m very superstitious, and it felt like it was all meant to be. I won a nightly APL pub game, and that got me into the Pro Series. Then I won that Pro Series event and scored a ticket into the 2008 Tournament of Champions. There were more than a thousand runners in that tournament – it was the biggest live tournament in APL history so the chances of winning it weren’t great, but I just had this feeling about it. I kept telling myself; ‘I’m going to finish at least fourth’, and that’s exactly what happened. I came fourth, and won a ticket into TeamAPL.” Along with his ticket to Las Vegas, Charlie also took home $60,000 for his efforts – a taste of things to come after the flight across the Pacific on V-Australia Flight V001 for Los Angeles. “I had to wait a long time between the TOC and the WSOP – basically a year, really, which was a little nerve-wracking but I was more excited than nervous. I’d never been to Vegas before and I’d seen the WSOP on TV so I was excited about soaking up the atmosphere, being a part of it,” he said. Once at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino, Charlie made a solid start and would establish himself among the tournament leaders by the end of day two. He was rarely out of the top 10 per cent of

stacks for the next five days. And for a few glorious moments on days five and six, he was the outright chip leader. One hand in particular, that has made its way to YouTube and spread like wildfire through the APL community was a hand in which Charlie showcased his skills against 1995 WSOP Main Event winner Dan Harrington on day five. “I had pocket queens in the big blind and raised it up pretty heavily and there were four limpers who all called my raise. The flop had come out A-K-K, and after three days over there you knew that anyone with an ace was either raising or trying to make a stand,” Elias said. “Everyone checked the flop so I bet out 70,000 and everyone folded except Dan Harrington. He just flat called. At this stage I was thinking about all the possibilities and working things out and I was positive he didn’t have an ace. So when the turn came a rag and he checked, I was thinking that maybe he has King-something so I checked too. Then the river fell a rag so I decided to see where I was and I bet 40,000. All of a sudden he raises it up to almost half a million. I just remember thinking, ‘that’s a ridiculous overbet’. The more I thought about what I was going to do, the more I was certain he didn’t have the ace or the king – so I called and it turned out he had nothing. ESPN made it look like a snapcall but I actually took at least seven or eight minutes to make that call.” That wasn’t the only brush with fame Charlie would have at the tables, though he wasn’t to know it at the time. “I sat right next to this guy named Joe Cada for almost two full days. It’s crazy to think that this guy, someone I sat next to and chatted with for two days actually went on to win the WSOP. I sat next to Eric Buchman for a while. He ended up on the final table too – it’s a surreal feeling to know that you had such a direct impact on the outcome of the entire tournament,” he said. Eventually, Charlie’s run would come to an end. After losing one million in chips when he flopped two-pair against a straight, Charlie opted to push all-in with A-K only to go up against pocket queens, which would hold to eliminate the kid from Riverwood. Charlie would scoop up USD $138,000 in return for his efforts. “Sooner or later you have to make your move, and by that stage you are so tired, so depleted. I was behind but if my ace or my king


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hit I would have doubled up and been a monster stack with 50 people left in the WSOP Main Event. It’s just how the game of poker goes – I didn’t hit and that’s the way it was. I don’t regret it or wish I’d played it differently or anything. You make a call based on the information you have at the time and the way you’re feeling at the time,” he said. It seems only fitting that his brother-inlaw Danny, who had introduced Charlie to APL Poker would be by his side in Vegas for the duration of the Main Event, mentoring and supporting him whenever needed and even cancelling flights and rearranging schedules to stay by his mate’s side as Charlie progressed further into the tournament. “The WSOP isn’t like any other event you’ll ever play. It’s long, it’s a tough slog and if you make it through to day five or six, it’s going to take its toll on you. Sure, it’s just poker. But its 12 hours of poker per day, every day without rest, and you are trying so focus so much while you’re at the table. On top of all that, if you’re an amateur player, and you find yourself chip leader on day four, you’re kidding yourself if you think you’re going to get any sleep,” he recalled. “I spent the breaks early on in the

tournament walking up to the pros. Then at the breaks towards the end of the tournament I had people coming up to me – agents and reporters, and by the time you’d done a couple of interviews or had someone pitch an idea at you it was time to sit back down for a few more hours of play, so it’s tough. “When I got knocked out, I was happy with what I had achieved – I was happy with 53rd and I was happy with USD $138,000 but it only hit me when I saw it on TV. On the day, we were playing down to the top 27, and they were predicting that play was going to go until 3am because there was so many chips in play compared to previous years, I was thinking we had hours and hours to go, so I wanted to get myself a nice big stack and then relax and coast through. In reality, once I was out they got down to the final 27 in no time. “At the time I made the move I was having hot flushes, sweating, with an incredible headache. If I had won that hand with my A-K, I would have doubled up and left the table for a while to refocus on what I needed to do in that last stage of the tournament, but unfortunately it didn’t happen that way.” Charlie has since become a household name in the APL community, and has

carved his name in Australian poker history. During his time in Las Vegas, Charlie made headlines both at home and abroad, including the front page of the Sydney Morning Herald. “When I got back I had so many people coming up to me and congratulating me and even now I still have people shaking my hand and telling me how much fun they had following it all. It’s surreal. I’ve never really had an opportunity to thank absolutely everybody who supported me, but all of their messages of encouragement and support, they were all heard and I am so grateful for each of them – even if the first thing all of them ask about is that damn Harrington hand!” he said. “All of this has had a huge impact on my life. I mean, $138,000, you’re not going to retire or anything like that but it’s still a big deal – that’s a huge chunk off my mortgage. Poker-wise, it’s made me a stronger player. “I’ve played with the world’s best. That doesn’t mean I think I’m among the world’s best, not by any means. I just feel like I’m more confident at the table after having had the experience of playing against the 1995 world champion, against the 2009 world champion and against some of the biggest names in poker.”

The many faces of Charlie Elias from the 2009 WSOP


Autumn 2010

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Paul Georges Lives: Sydney, NSW Winner, 2008 Tournament of Champions APL Earnings: Over $300,000 AUD


f you’ve played more than one game of poker in your life, you will have heard the expression “running good”. In late 2008, Paul Georges was a walking definition of that phrase. From winning the last ticket on offer to the APL’s 2008 Main Event, to winning the event itself for a payday of $300,000, to APL CEO Martin Martinez’s surprise WSOP seat giveaway to the top four. And Paul won the APL’s random draw to win a $45,000 car on conclusion of the Main Event. Since the time that this happily married Sydneysider first watched poker on TV, he was hooked. It was around about the time Joe Hachem had won the 2005 WSOP Main Event that Paul’s poker career first made the leap from the living room couch to the poker table. “When Joe won, the game just exploded and everybody wanted to be a part of it. I was the same. I had mates who played poker so I decided to get myself involved and it just went from there. I started playing APL in Sydney’s Inner West region soon after that and just got hooked,” he said. “I was really keen to qualify for this

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Tournament of Champions event. I had heard about Rodney winning it the year before and the idea of a million dollar freeroll just blew me away. I actually ended up winning the very last ticket on offer at the Inner West Regional Final.” Building is what Paul does best – he’s been in the building game since he left school. But the 27-year-old wasn’t always given the tools he would have liked for the TOC. “In the three days I played I was dealt aces just once, but I managed to get dealt jacks eight times and I lost every single time with them. I controlled myself in those hands and still managed to end up with a stack big enough to see me through to the final nine. The thing with my poker is that as soon as I make it to a final table, I know I can win,” he recalled. “When I won the car everything was just going right for me. It was only five or 10 minutes before that I had moved my stack all-in with A-3 against Jay (Hook)’s A-7 and managed to turn a straight to come from behind and take the whole thing down, so I started to feel like everything I



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touched was going to turn to gold. It was an unbelievable couple of weeks winning the Regional Final, winning the TOC and winning the car … amazing.” With almost a full year between the TOC and the WSOP, Paul tried to use the time he had to his benefit by watching a lot more poker on TV, especially WSOP footage and spending as much time at the felt as possible to refine his game. Come July however, Paul’s magnificent run would come to an end short of his Las Vegas dream. “My WSOP campaign was an incredible experience. I chipped up early – I doubled up on the third hand of day one but in the end, it just wasn’t meant to be. “ But despite an early departure from the Main Event, Paul refuses to close the book on his poker dream: “At the time I assumed that was going to be a one time thing but I definitely feel like I’ll be back at the WSOP. I’ve realized that poker is something I want to take seriously – and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”


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Emma Grace


number of elite female players have emerged through the APL since the League’s inception. It was at the APL felt that League icon Cindy “Queen Bee” Morgan first fell in love with Texas Hold’em. In August 2008, Mona Isaac became the first female to make the final table of an APL Major Event when she finished fifth at the Wild Turkey Grand Slam. But when Emma Grace, a single mother of two from Queensland’s Gold Coast, cashed in the 2009 WSOP Main Event as TeamAPL’s sole female representative, she raised the bar to a new height. While Emma is passionate about poker, her real obsession in life is her two daughters Lily (7) and Ruby (5): “They’re my life. I live for my girls.” Before ever learning to play cards, Emma worked in property development before spending time as a talent agent in New Zealand. After moving back to Australia, it was Emma’s father Richard who first introduced her to Texas Hold’em. “It was to get me out really, it was a great way for me to have a social life and also a way I could spend quality time with


Lives: Gold Coast, Qld Highest-placed Australian female in the 2009 WSOP Main Event APL Earnings: Over $35,000 AUD

my dad. I met some amazing friends there and just loved the social aspect so much – then I began to really get into the poker itself and I became so passionate about it. That’s how I feel now … as if I’m married to the game,” she said. Emma has barely taken off her silver TeamAPL ring since returning from Las Vegas last July. After cashing for USD $27,469 at the 2009 WSOP, ranking her the highest placed Australian female, Grace has every reason to be confident at the felt. Richard bought Emma into the Tweed Heads WSOP Satellite where the mother of two would win the seat that would eventually lead her to a WSOP cash. Richard usually looked after the girls while Emma played, but on this occasion he had been with her and had purchased the ticket for his daughter after she expressed uncertainty over whether or not she could afford the $110 ticket. “‘You’re playing’ dad had said. He really believed in me, and he stayed with me the whole way through. He knew I could win that qualifier. It was the same in Las Vegas. He’d come up with me at certain intervals

and let me know how many people were left, what the chip average was and all of that,” Grace said. “Before I left home, my daughters made me cards for each day of the tournament. I have a friend who works for a card company so she always brings them over for the girls to use for arts and crafts and things. “My youngest girl, Lily wrote a message on her card for day five that I read just after I was knocked out. It said ‘I know it’s hard, but you can get through it, you’ve done so well’. It was almost as if she knew something. So I feel like everything was meant to be. My family supported me the whole way, they believed in me.” Emma’s discipline and commitment saw her enter the money before bowing out in 404th position. It will likely not be an experience she will forget anytime soon. She enjoyed a string of wins upon her return and featured in both the ANZPT Queensland and APPT Auckland events. So what’s next for Ms Grace? The 2011 Main Event, of course! At this rate, we don’t doubt we’ll see her back in the Amazon Ballroom come July.

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f ever there was a story of a true blue Aussie bloke snaring a once in a lifetime opportunity to rise from rags to riches, it’s that of Rodney Davidson. In 2006, Rodney suffered a nervous breakdown. The stresses of life had built up, one on top of the other, and it was Rodney’s GP who let the future champion know that he had ‘outs’. “My neighbours ran a poker game every Friday night and my doctor suggested that it might be good for me to get involved – an opportunity to work on my poker face might help me to learn to control my emotions. I picked it up quickly,” he said. Rodney won a Bega Regional Final, which would carry with it a seat into the Tournament of Champions: “The way things unfolded, it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I was in a bit of financial difficulty at this stage and my car was about to be repossessed. I had to borrow a friend’s car just to get to the TOC because it was easier on fuel than mine,” he recalled. “I only used the car to get me to Nowra train station because it worked out cheaper for me to get on a train from Nowra to Sydney. The whole goal of my

TOC campaign was to finish 80th and score $1000.” Of course Rodney would do much more than that, outlasting a field of hundreds to claim the 2007 Tournament of Champions title and $300,000. “When the prize money got to $1000 I remember this huge feeling of relief. When I was guaranteed $8000 I remember being overwhelmed and thinking ‘I get to keep my car’!” Upon taking his seat at the Wild Turkey Final Table and realising that he was now guaranteed to leave Luna Park’s Big Top with at least $50,000 in cash, Rodney was completely overcome. “I couldn’t believe it. It was literally like the weight of the world was off my shoulders. I’d get to keep my car, and pay off all of my debts! But that was as far as I let that go – from that point I pushed the money out of my head,” he said. Davidson describes his final moments of the TOC as being beyond words: “I just don’t know how to put it into words. I had

arrived with $250 in my pocket to get me from Sydney to Nowra and then cover petrol for the trip home. That was all the money I had. On top of that I had debts all over the shop. Now, all of a sudden I had $300,000 that I’d won in a free poker tournament,” he said. More than anything, the money represented a second chance for Davidson, an opportunity. Since taking down the 2007 TOC title, he has gained the respect of the entire APL community and taken the chance to visit parts of the world he never would have imagined prior to his incredible win. “I’ve had two years of living the dream. I’ve had some great success along the way too – I won an event in Auckland and I’ve won a few more along the way but I think every player who wins a major event always looks for that second big win to validate themselves as a great player. I’m still looking for that win. That’s in the front of my mind moving forward. On a personal level, I’m enjoying life one day at a time.”

Rodney Davidson Lives: Gold Coast, Qld Winner, 2007 Tournament of Champions APL Earnings: Over $300,000 AUD

Autumn 2010


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Shivan Abdine


t just 19, Shivan Abdine is the APL’s youngest Main Event champion. In August 2009, the Sydneysider came from behind to defeat Victorian adversary Aaron Peterson for the Wild Turkey Grand Slam (WTGS) title in the longest heads-up battle in APL Main Event history, lasting two and a half hours. Abdine claimed $100,000 for his hard work as well as a spot on TeamAPL to compete at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, though the young gun from Sydney’s City South Region will need to wait until his 21st birthday to compete. When he’s not studying for his Medical Science degree at Sydney Uni, or cheering on the Canterbury Bulldogs, you can find Shivan at the poker table – but it wasn’t always this way. “I was never into poker to begin with. I just started off playing home games that were fun, but I still didn’t really know much about the game. The more I played, the more interesting the game became to me and I ended up joining APL to learn a bit more about it and get my knowledge up so that I could perform better. APL just got me hooked,” he said. It didn’t take Shivan long to rise to the

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Lives: Camperdown, NSW Winner, 2009 Wild Turkey Grand Slam APL Earnings: Over $100,000 AUD top, besting a nationwide field of 50,000 across seven days to take out APL’s Wild Turkey Player of the Week competition to earn himself a seat into the WTGS. “On the first day I played pretty slowly, playing small pots not looking to get my stack in on a flip. Then towards the end of day one a lot of my mates came down to watch, so I mixed things up a little bit,” he said. “I hit the final table second in chips, so I was able to sit back at the start. I folded pretty much every single hand from early and middle position. I just wanted to wait for the TeamAPL bubble to burst (eighth place). Then I loosened up a bit and played my natural game which was enough to get me through to heads up.” As a crowd swarmed the Wild Turkey Final Table, the WTGS Bracelet almost within arms reach, Warrnambool’s Aaron Peterson was the final obstacle in Abdine’s quest for APL glory. “Heads up with Aaron wasn’t easy at all. We kept overtaking one another almost

hand for hand – it seemed like it was never going to end. There were times I felt like my luck had run out, I remember I had my aces cracked by Aaron’s 10-7. I was left with just two big blinds, so I figured I wasn’t coming back. I figured my luck had run dry. But then later I picked up pocket kings and flopped quads and then managed to get lucky a few more times to take the title.” For now, Shavine has set his sights on the 2011 WSOP – he’ll turn 21 a couple of days before the Main Event kicks off: “I’m definitely going to keep playing poker, I love it now. I never used to play online but I’ve really put a lot of effort into learning a bit more about bankroll management lately so I’m able to play a lot more of that now. I’m pretty focused on my study at the moment but, having said that, poker takes a lot of time out of my study schedule and I doubt that will change.”


For dates, locations & how to qualify Speak to an APL tournament director today.

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Danny Taylor


or Danny Taylor, poker always seemed to come naturally. Taylor was playing Stud at the age of 14 and enjoyed all sorts of card games growing up. But it wouldn’t be until much later in life that this humble bloke from Nowra would find Texas Hold’em – and the riches that would come with it after he won the 2009 Wild Turkey Poker Classic at Crown. “I used to watch Late Night Poker on SBS so I already had a fairly good idea of how Texas Hold’em worked. From there I just got hooked. I started playing regularly at Nowra Bowling Club. There was a leaderboard competition where, at the end of the season, the top 10 on the leaderboard played off for a seat,” he said. “There were three blokes in my region who had already qualified – I was the last to make the cut by winning the play off which was only weeks out from the Main Event itself, so it was the last seat to be given away in the region. The four of us went down together and the rest, as they say, is history!” His path through the 2009 Wild Turkey Poker Classic to the Main Event title and APL glory was relatively easy compared to what he might have expected.

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Lives: Nowra, NSW Winner, 2009 Wild Turkey Poker Classic APL Earnings: Over $120,000 AUD “On the first day I managed to turn a nut flush in the first hour against a guy who turned a straight and was lucky enough to get my chips in with a caller and doubleup. From there, I managed to flop four or five sets throughout the tournament and had someone betting hard into me every time,” he said. “When I hit the final table I was fifth in chips. I wasn’t really thinking about where I wanted to finish or about the money or anything like that, I just played the cards and kept moving up bit by bit. In fact, I never even considered the thought of winning the tournament until we were down to four-handed. “Once it got down to me and Majed (Haddad) playing for the title we were pretty much even stacked, but I had a great run and I don’t think I lost a hand against him – maybe I folded to him once. It only took six hands before I took it down. It was a surreal feeling. Surreal.” Danny took down $100,000 in cash and prizes including a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the 2009 WSOP Main Event.

“The WSOP experience was amazing. The trip, the memories – everything we did over there was incredible,” Taylor said. “But I was on one of the toughest starting tables around. I knew it at the time, but it was confirmed when I got back home. I was sitting next to Bart Hanson from DeucesCracked. Four of the players were regular $25/$50 cash game players. Then there was Jason Strassor who used to play at those limits every day but now played infrequently because he’d taken a job on Wall Street. There were a couple of guys who had literally made millions playing online.” After nursing the emotional wounds from the WSOP, Taylor has sets his sights on new horizons: “I want to play the Aussie Millions. That’s next for me. I mean, obviously I want to go back to Vegas and take another crack at the WSOP but Aussie Millions is probably a more realistic and achievable goal, for the short term anyway,” he said.


uLp sAP d uab chle



Welcome to the

CLUB Here’s your chance to join the most exclusive poker community in Australia: ClubAPL. A year in the making, the world’s largest poker league has just made the jump from the live felt to the virtual felt, unveil the world’s first online poker league.

Spec offe ial r! 50

From March to July 2010, every player who signs up to ClubAPL will gain VIP access to the site for the four-month beta testing period. At the end of each month during this period, the leaderboard winner will score a seat into an upcoming APL Poker Tour event.

lubAPL represents a major milestone in the evolution of the APL. By venturing into the realm of online poker, the league has extended its reach and introduced its members to an exciting new range of opportunities. This is APL, as you’ve never seen it before. ClubAPL is the ultimate extension of the league’s extraordinarily successful pub poker property, offering a digital version of everything that makes APL events such an enjoyable pastime. A creative and innovative design team has worked tirelessly to recreate the fun, friendly environment you would expect to find at your local pub game into a memorable online experience. And it’s 100 per cent free to join and 100 per cent free to play. ClubAPL affords the opportunity to enjoy the APL experience outside of a pub or club if you’re still feeling the itch after your nightly live event fix. APL’s sleekly designed online poker room offers its members two levels of membership – Basic and VIP. The aim of the game is the same as our live events: play to earn points. The official club currency, ClubAPL Tokens are used to enter a range of sit ‘n’ go events and are then awarded to the winners of these events. Players have the option of playing heads-up, six-handed, eight-handed or 10-handed. Basic members will start the month with no tokens, and can work their way up by playing freeroll events and then making the move across to small buy-in events. VIP members will start the month with 1000 ClubAPL tokens, affording the opportunity to climb the ranks at a more rapid rate. What makes ClubAPL so cool is that it directly complements live tournament play – the more live APL poker tournaments you play, the more benefits you will reap the next time you log on. For every live tournament you play in any calendar month, you will be awarded 10 ClubAPL Tokens the following month regardless of your membership level. So if you played 10 events, that is an extra 100 tokens. These tokens then get tallied up on the official ClubAPL Leaderboard and, at the end of the month, the top 10 per cent of all leaderboard participants will be paid out – just like in a tournament. The more people who register with ClubAPL as a VIP Member, the more prize money will be up for grabs. You can also use play money if you want to get some practice in before putting your precious ClubAPL Tokens at risk.

Autumn 2010

club APL

Caption Cienis moluptatur, vaoluptio. Uciisdolorpo.

And there’s more! Between March and July 2010, every player who signs up to ClubAPL will gain VIP access to the site for a four-month beta testing period. At the end of each month during the beta testing period, the leaderboard winner will score a seat into an upcoming APL Poker Tour event of their choice. During that time, APL will welcome customer feedback at If you choose to stay on as a VIP member from July 1, or if you join the club as a VIP member after this date you can actually invite your friends to subscribe to a ClubAPL VIP membership and, if they join using your username as a referral code, you will receive $5 for every month that they remain a member. This means that all you need to do is sign up five mates and you will be playing with VIP membership absolutely free – and that’s guaranteed for the ClubAPL life of those players! ClubAPL is completely legal and there are no deposits whatsoever. Basic Membership is completely free while VIP Membership, which offers unlimited play, a 1000 chip head-start at the beginning

Autumn 2010

of each month and a home-delivered subscription to Shuffle in addition to a range of other perks, carries a simple flat fee of $24.95 per month – with no minimum commitment. You can play every month or off and on as you like. When it comes to the end of the month you can opt to withdraw your earnings and have your money sent via cheque, keep it in your account and build it up or redeem it for an APL Poker Tour seat of the same value. You can also enter APL Poker Tour Satellites on ClubAPL. What separates ClubAPL from other APL initiatives is that the leaderboards won’t necessarily favour those able to play more tournaments than you. Because it is actually costing you tokens to participate, the better players will be the ones who rise to the top – it’s not just about the volume of poker you play, you are going to need to play a winning (read: profitable) game in order to move up the leaderboard. One of the other major differences between APL and ClubAPL is that you will finally be able to take on your local TD or Regional Manager! Staff will be able to get into the fun with you, providing an entirely

new dimension to APL poker. ClubAPL’s software was designed specifically to ensure ease of use and a pleasant experience every time you log on. We’ve even made sure to provide the easiest sign-up process on the net! When you register for ClubAPL, all you will need to submit is your screen name and password. That’s it! You will only ever need to submit personal details if you want to play VIP so that you can cash out your earnings. You don’t even need to use your credit card to subscribe – you can buy a monthly membership card for $24.95 from the Tournament Director at your local APL live game. ClubAPL aims to offer the same attractive features as our live poker product. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s entertaining without being complicated or convoluted!


le ofi r p


Venue profile:

Runcorn Tavern

124 Gowa nR Runcorn, oad, Queensla nd 4113

• Tuesday Night Pok er, 6.30pm re elcome to Brisgistration • Friday a bane’s premier nd Saturd ay Southside poker Late Nigh t Poker, 9.30pm re venue. Furnished with two gistration well appointed bars, large plasma screens and easily accessible smoking areas, Runcorn Tavern also offers an extensive array of domestic, premium and imported beers on tap as well as a contemporary wine and cocktail list. The Runcorn is especially popular with those who enjoy sport, live entertainment and the best in dining. The venue recently hosted its first APL major event of 2010 for the Australia Day Teams Event, which drew a field of 416 competitors. The next major event, the Santa Sack Shootout, is slated for the end of the year and will offer thousands in cash and prizes. Until then, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to get to know the venue, which runs regular APL poker tournaments on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. “We want the Runcorn Tavern to be recognised and acknowledged as a premier poker venue. It’s a major tournament hub – we’re running games three nights a week and we’re consistently seating more than 100 players per tournament,” venue manager Clayton Duckwitz said. “Along with the fantastic food and facilities, a night of cards at the Runcorn Tavern is probably the best night of poker you’ll find going around.” The Restaurant, with its adjoining sunken lounge, is perfect for after work drinks and offers an extensive array of MSA graded quality meats and fresh local seafood. The cornerstone of the Runcorn dining experience is the salad and vegetable bar, with a wide variety of fresh and seasonal dishes available daily as an accompaniment with any main meal purchase from our dinner menu and only $2 extra to add to any choice from the lunch menu. There is something tantalising to tempt any appetite at the Runcorn. At the Runcorn every care has been taken to ensure your experience at this beautifully renovated hotel exceeds your expectations, so head down to the Runcorn Tavern and help support one of the biggest supporters of APL Poker!



Venue profile:

Cabra-Vale Diggers • • • • • •

1 Bartley S Canley Vatreet, le, NSW 216 6

Friday $500 Freeroll, 1pm registration Friday $11 Pro Series, 5.30pm registration Saturday $500 Freeroll, 6.30pm registration Saturday $11 Pro Series, 11pm registration Sunday $1000 Freeroll, 6.30pm registration Tuesday $500 Freeroll, 6.30pm registration


fter spending a night out at the newly renovated and refurbished Cabra-Vale Diggers, you wouldn’t guess this club had been serving the community for almost 85 years! Proud supporters of the APL since the League’s inception in 2005, the club was named APL’s Venue of the Year in 2008 and was nominated again in 2009. After playing a game of poker at NSW’s premier venue it’s easy to see why. In August last year, the Club amalgamated with Campbelltown RSL Club to offer 10 APL games per week across the two venues with both awarding cash at all freeroll events. In 2010, Cabra-Vale Diggers has taken its facilities to a new level, with the expansion and complete re-modeling of the Club intensifying its already warm and inviting atmosphere. These renovations have included the launch of the new Bartley Street Bistro, which boasts mouthwatering steaks, lush salads, pizza, pasta and a delicious dessert bar. There’s even a specialty noodle bar open until late. Campbelltown RSL will also be undergoing similar renovations in the first half of 2010. Having played host to APL South West Regional Finals as well as their popular Bracelet Event and Australia Day Deepstack event, this club knows how to put on a show when it comes to elite poker events and is undoubtedly one of APL’s most active and supportive venues. “Poker is something we are extremely passionate about at Cabra-Vale Diggers. Our goal, once all renovations have been completed, is to remain the top venue in the state – and to have Campbelltown RSL running a very close second,” CEO Bill O’Brien said. On Easter Monday, the club will be hosting a $3000 freeroll with registration from 11am. Check out throughout March for more information on the upcoming ANZAC Day Special Event to be hosted at Cabra-Vale Diggers!

Autumn 2010

apl venue review

Casino profile:

Crown Casino


8 Whit Southban eman Street, k, Victori a 3006

• The Cro wn Poker Room is located o n Level B2 of the Cro Entertainm wn ent Comp lex, open hours, se 24 ven days a week • For all e vent deta ils, check www.crow out

n hindsight, we probably didn’t need to list the address – the massive Crown Entertainment Complex dominates the south side of the Yarra River directly opposite the Melbourne CBD. As players lucky enough to have qualified for the past two APL main events – the Wild Turkey Grand Slam and Wild Turkey Poker Classic – will have discovered, Crown is the ultimate entertainment destination From the world’s leading designer fashion brands (Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace), a state of the art cinema complex including Gold Class, a spa, and an array of boutique bars and restaurants, Crown is rightly regarded as one of the world’s premier casino complexes. There are two accommodation options – Crown Towers Hotel and Crown Promenade Hotel (with a third, Crown Metropol, opening in mid-2010). Both offer lavishly appointed guest rooms offering stunning views of Docklands, the Melbourne CBD and the Yarra River. Crown’s strategic location makes it the perfect place to stay and be entertained as you have all that Melbourne has to offer at your doorstep. The casino, which opened in 1997, boasts 2500 gaming machines and 350 table games. Among the extensive list of games are baccarat, blackjack, craps, poker and roulette. In fact, Crown Casino founded what is today known as Rapid Roulette – allowing players to place bets using an electronic touch screen which is connected to a central roulette wheel. Of course, we can’t forget about the poker. Crown’s poker room, a massive space appropriately dubbed “The Las Vegas Room”, houses more than 50 perfectly arranged tables spreading Limit and No Limit Hold’em, Omaha, Stud and Two-card Manila for all bankrolls. For those looking for a more fun, relaxed game, the poker room also offers PokerPro tables with lower limit games. These tables are fully automated, so there is no dealer, no chips, and no cards – it’s like online poker, except you are sitting at a real poker table, face to face with real, live opponents. For tournament players, there is also a full slate of weekly action to keep you occupied, ranging in buy-in from a $25 NL Hold’em rebuy tournament to a $340 No Limit “Terminator”

Autumn 2010

tournament – a unique twist on the bounty format. Crown hosts several major tournament series throughout the year, the highlight of which is the Aussie Millions Australian Poker Championships. Known as the richest tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, the Aussie Millions attracts thousands of players each year including the biggest names in the game. The 2010 Aussie Millions champion, 23-year-old Tyron Krost from Sydney, took home a massive $2 million after winning the Main Event. Other major tournament series held throughout the year include the Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series, Melbourne Championships, Victorian Championships, PokerNews Cup and ANZPT Melbourne. Crown also offers extensive satellite programs providing the perfect opportunity for aspiring pros to gain entry to these events for a fraction of the cost of full entry.

Did you know? Crown Casino opened in 1994 at the World Trade Centre on the north bank of the Yarra River, before moving to the new complex at Southbank in 1997


k ar sh

l tro a p


SHARK PATROL Before you wade into the ocean of APL talent, best check to see you haven’t pulled up a chair next to one of these hungry card sharks!

Jeff Field

Age: State: Region: Occupation: APL debut: Tournament wins: Preferred venue: Favourite hand:

30 Western Australia Perth Truck driver March 2007 @ Glengary Tavern 26 Noranda & Kwinana 9-10 suited

Major tournaments 2008 APL Tournament of Champions 2009 Wild Turkey Poker Classic 2009 Wild Turkey Grand Slam 2010 Wild Turkey Poker Classic Jeff Field is a player to be respected on the felt. With 26 APL tournament wins under his belt, he has qualified for every APL Main Event since 2008. On top of these achievements, Field took out fifth place in the 2009 Western Classic at Burswood Casino, the biggest tournament in WA each year, for a payout of $25,000. Such an impressive result hasn’t clouded Field’s vision, and the 30-yearold is well aware of why he returns to the APL felt up to four times each week. “Winning money is great, but I love the social aspect. The friends I’ve made through APL have been one of the best things to come from this whole experience. Some of my closest mates are people I would never have met had it not been for poker.” Jeff loves poker in all forms but strongly favours the live form of the game.


Christian Smith

Age: State: Region: Occupation: APL debut: Tournament wins: Preferred venue: Favourite hand:

19 Victoria Whittlesea/Nillumbik Poker player December 2008 @ Epping Hotel 9 Casa D’Abruzzo, Epping K-9

Major tournaments January 2010 Victoria Pro Open Like any other red-blooded Australian, Christian loves his sport – specifically cricket. His poker career started at the end of 2008 when his mates convinced him to “give it a go”. The young gun has never looked back, playing up to three times a week since. Christian enjoys playing cards, but just because he’s having fun doesn’t mean poker isn’t serious business. “At the moment it’s just fun and I’m enjoying that while it lasts, but in the long run I want to get somewhere. Someday I want to look back at what I’ve achieved,” he said. “TeamAPL is a big goal of mine. We were all following Charlie Elias down in VWN (Whittlesea/Nillumbik Region) back in July when he was playing in the WSOP Main Event. That was incredible. Even though he was a Sydney boy, we were all rooting for him like he was one of our own. I’d like to have that same experience one day.” With nine tournament wins and countless Wild Turkey Final Table appearances, the 19-year-old Melburnian is building an enviable reputation. Gary “Gazman” Ryan, a highly respected VWN player with years of experience at the felt has earmarked Smith as “a great future talent”.

Autumn 2010

rising APL stars

Wim Van Bokhoven

Age: State: Region: Occupation: APL debut: Tournament wins: Preferred venue: Favourite hand:

62 New South Wales Sydney Inner West Retired December 2005 @ One World Sports Bar 40 Merrylands Bowling Club A-A

Major tournaments 2008 APPT Grand Final 2009 Wild Turkey Grand Slam 2009 ANZPT Sydney Main Event 2010 Wild Turkey Poker Classic 2010 Aussie Millions Formerly a contract manager for a successful painting company, happily retired Wim Van Bokhoven has discovered a new pastime to funnel his competitive juices: poker. Not only does Van Bokhoven have experience playing in WTGS, WTPC, APPT and ANZPT events, he was also crowned champion in APL Inner West’s Aussie Millions Deepstack in December, winning himself a seat into the 2010 Aussie Millions Main Event. Before discovering APL poker, he was a keen snow skier and pool enthusiast. “I used to play pool every night of the week with my wife until poker came along, we used to make about $800 a week playing pool! Now it’s poker ... and we make more!” Now that he is retired and can focus on the cards, Van Bokhoven has aspirations of playing on poker’s biggest stage, the World Series of Poker. “I’ve been mapping out all the online satellites, and I’ve been trying to win my way into TeamAPL. That would be fantastic.” The 62-year-old is yet to secure his place on the APL’s premier representative team, but has come painfully close with four final table finishes at the APL Pro Open in recent times as well as two other Top 16 performances in the event which awards its champion a seat into TeamAPL each month. “I play 5-6 hours of poker every day, so I’m always getting better. I am sure it will pay off eventually!”

Craig Ivey

Age: State: Region: Occupation: APL Debut: Debut Venue: Tournament Wins: Venue of Choice: Favourite Hand:

49 SA Adelaide Metro Retired September 2007 Regency Tavern, Regency Park 60 Albion hotel, Adelaide AKs

Major tournaments 2010 ANZPT Adelaide 2009 WTPC 2009 VIC Champs Poker After Dark (2009)

2010 Aussie Millions 2009 WTGS 2009 Sydney Champs

Before poker came along, Craig worked in antique restoration. These days, the 2008 APL Player of the Year admits he does little outside of playing cards – but that’s the way he likes it. “It was late 2006 or early 2007 and I was with some friends at the casino in Adelaide one night. We were gambling on the horses as we had always done and had mixed luck as usual. It was at that point I decided ‘right, let’s try this poker thing’. I figured that, in poker, at least you have some control over what is going on. That was it. From there, I heard about pub poker and it was game on.” Happily married and a proud father of two, Craig was passionate about sport growing up and was a keen golfer and mad footy player in his younger years. “Now I do very little else but play poker – I can’t help myself!” Craig’s commitment at the felt has certainly paid off. In June of 2008, Craig was crowned APL’s 2007/8 Player of the Year – a tile which earned him TeamAPL Captaincy, a place on top poker TV show Poker After Dark and a seat into the WSOP Main Event – in which he finished 267th to cash for $32,000 USD. “Right now the only thing I care about with regards to my poker is getting back onto TeamAPL. I’m heading down to Crown for the WTPC and I’m really keen to do well there and secure my seat. Apart from that, I’m playing on Pokerstars everyday trying to get myself onto the ANZPT.”


Autumn 2010


ry ia d r ke o p


Emma Grace’s demure exterior belies the fierce determination that has characterised her short but successful poker career. The quietly spoken Gold Coast mother of two recently put pen to paper to document her path from APL newbie to becoming the highest placed Australian female in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event as one of the inaugural members of TeamAPL.

nd: o y e b & m APL


My life as a

pokerplayer 56

Autumn 2010

emma grace

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Where it all b


What lies ahe


Viva Las Veg


The next step


Autumn 2010


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table manners

Tool time

Don’t forget your manners at the table It’s a shame that a column like this even needs to be printed but sadly, some players think that taking a seat in a poker game is licence to act like a moron. Please, think otherwise.


he words ‘poker’ and ‘etiquette’ may not seem to have much in common, but the game is riddled with more protocol than a Swiss finishing school. But as there is no definite book of rules governing poker games or tournaments, individual casinos are left to draw up their own list of do’s and don’ts. The conundrum for some players is the balance between their table image (many want to be thought of as “da bad guy”, and behave accordingly) and reasonable behaviour. It’s hard to be gracious to someone who’s just beaten you out of a huge pot (especially if they hit a one-outer on the river) but it pays to be a ‘good’ loser. You’re sure to come a across the same players again, and they’ll surely remember if you’ve acted like a moron. And before you think about turning up at that nightly APL game wearing your darkest sunglasses, iPod charged up and a hooded top, consider this small piece of advice – take a look in the mirror. Be a poker player before you even start to look like one. Conversely, there’s no better experience than a table that combines mutual respect with a few laughs and some quality poker. That said, here’s some general advice that will help you navigate the minefield of poker etiquette.

Occasionally, you’ll be presented with a situation that requires some thought. Some thought. If you continually take ages to make a decision, the other players at the table will quickly get their goat up. And don’t think it will make it more likely that they’ll make a bad decision, it will just make it more likely that they’ll choke you out!

Protect your cards When folding your hand, simply toss your cards to the dealer face down. If you expose them, accidentally or intentionally, this can provide important information to the other players that can affect the hand. And be careful when looking at your cards, it’s astounding the number of players who cannot perform this simplest of manoeuvres. And always use a card protector if you remain in the hand, then there can be no danger of your cards being mistakenly mucked.

Respect those still in the hand Once you’ve folded your hand, keep quiet. Offering your 20 cents’ worth about which player might be holding or the cards you’ve folded, can alter the strategy of the other players. So if you’ve folded two diamonds

pre-flop and three diamonds hit the board, don’t writhe around in your seat like you’ve just heard that the family dog has been run over. Same goes for those watching from the rails: keep quiet and enjoy the game.

Never splash the pot Again, this is common courtesy. When you make a bet, place your chips neatly in front of you in easily countable stacks within the dealer’s reach, and let the dealer pull them into the pot. If you toss chips directly into the middle, the players have no way of knowing if you put the correct number of chips in. Likewise, never string out the bet – only grab the amount of chips you intend to bet.

Don’t abuse the staff I am constantly amazed at the way some players treat staff – whether it’s in a nightly APL game or at the highest levels of tournament poker. This has nothing to do with poker etiquette; it’s just common decency. Some players genuinely believe that the dealers are trying to give them bad cards. Idiots. Swearing at the dealer or tournament director is the lowest form of behaviour. It’s not their fault that you are a lousy player or you don’t like your hand.


Autumn 2010

Don’t drag your feet


s ad e h


TURNCARD Name: James Akenhead Nickname: Mokka Age: 27 Lives: London, UK Major honours: Winner, 2009 Full Tilt Poker Million Ninth, 2009 WSOP Main Event Ninth, 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event Runner-up, 2008 WSOP $1500 No Limit Hold’em Tournament winnings: USD $2.7 million

Full steam

AkenHEAD Full Tilt Pro James Akenhead is one of the form players on the planet, with WSOP Main Event final tables on either side of the Atlantic and victory in the Full Tilt Poker Million over the past six months. Shuffle had the chance to share a beer with the affable Englishman during the recent Aussie Millions.


Autumn 2010

pro interview Shuffle Magazine: How did you get into poker? James Akenhead: I was actually a professional pool player to begin with, and that’s what led me to poker. I guess cue-sports and gambling are sort of intertwined in the UK, and a lot of the top pool players and snooker players are now poker players. When the poker boom came along, quite a lot of the snooker halls in the UK turned into poker clubs. It was like snooker was dying out a bit and poker was taking over. So while I was playing pool, there was a bunch of guys at my club who would play poker every Saturday night. I was always into gambling from a very young age – it was almost as if I was born into it. Having said that, my parents don’t really gamble so much but for as long as I can remember, I’ve always been looking to take chances, so one day when one of the guys invited me down to play poker I accepted. I didn’t have much money back then, so it was hard for me to pull together £50 or £100 for that game, but I won £500 the first time I played, so I was instantly hooked!

you have more than one really good player at your table on day one, you’re unlucky. You’re generally going to find two guys who don’t know what they’re doing and four or five guys who think they know what they’re doing but don’t. You’re going to have a couple of decent players, and probably one really good player. This is perfect for you. All you need to do is dodge the guy that’s good – really stay out of his way. You’re going to try and earn all your chips from the weak players. It is such a long structure, you have no need to make plays against players who are better than you.

SM: Do you play cash games, or is it strictly tournaments?

SM: So you must have been a fast learner! JA: Whenever I decide I want to do something, I go all out. That’s just who I am. So, for example, I’ve just taken up golf – I started playing in November. I play as much as I can, I’m getting lessons, I’m reading books, I’m doing absolutely everything I can do to improve at the fastest possible rate. It was the same thing with poker. As soon as I was hooked, I read pretty every poker book I could get my hands on, and I was playing as much as I could to gain as much experience as possible and within two years I was winning tournaments for a living. About two years after I started playing poker I was making enough to actually quit my job – so that’s exactly what I did. That was about three and a half years ago now and I haven’t really looked back since. SM: TeamAPL is heading back to the World Series of Poker in July. You’ve obviously had a fair bit of WSOP experience with a second place finish and final table appearances in the 2009 WSOP and WSOPE Main Events. What advice can you offer? JA: My advice for anyone playing the WSOP is to remember that this event has the largest field you are going to find anywhere in the world at any time of the year, without fail. This means that the level of player, ability-wise, varies so much. The reality is that if

I did manage to catch up a bit on, so that helped a lot. A lot of the players at the final table weren’t pros so I kind of felt like I had a bit of an edge over them, but in saying that, the task was made as hard as possible. Give me the best player in the world (Phil Ivey) to my left, give me the shortest stack on the table, give me two guys on my right who never fold when they’re re-raised. The only person I could make a move or shove on was someone around the back like Joe Cada, Antoine Saout or Eric Buchman! I knew some of the other players had different sorts of tuition, different advice given to them about approaching the final table but I had a fair bit of experience behind me so I was confident and the fact was that I was the short stack so I knew that above anything else, I had to get lucky. I just trusted my instincts and trusted my experience.

They won’t be looking to make plays against you – they’re also going to be taking chips from the bad players. Take as many chips as you can off those guys on day one and try and head into day two with anything from 40,000 or above. You start with 30,000 but the structure is so slow that if you head into day two with 45,000, you’re not in bad shape at all. That should be your target. If you end up with more, great. Make sure you get some good rest, sleep is important. Don’t go out drinking, eat some proper food. They’re 12-hour sessions, it’s a marathon. You need to be fit in every way you can be. SM: How did you go about approaching the three-month gap before the WSOP Main Event final table in November? Did you study your opposition? JA: I thought the best way to study my opponents and prepare for the final table would be to study the footage from July. Turns out the guy from ESPN who was supposed to send the footage to me didn’t, and then gave it to me all in one big box the night before the final table.

JA: I’m not really a cash game player, but I have been playing a bit on Full Tilt. I’d been playing some Omaha before they signed me I was playing the odd game of $5/$10, but when I got signed I put some more money and played some $25/$50 and won loads and was able to move to $100/$200 and then $200/$400 and I’ve managed to win loads more. I’m definitely playing outside of my bankroll but it’s just a bit of fun, I don’t really play cash games for a living at all. SM: You’ve enjoyed some fantastic success in the past couple of years – what’s next for James Akenhead? JA: As I’ve said in a few interviews before, every single year so far on the Hendon Mob Player Database I’ve earned more than the previous year, so that’s been the goal since I started. Having said that, I won about $2 million last year so 2010 is going to be a hard hill to climb, and I know it has to stop at some point or else I’ll end up owning the world in 10 years! But to break that figure would be fantastic, or if I can manage to go further in the Main Event. I definitely want to get a bracelet, that’s really what I want. I’ve been so close so many times, the WSOPE was another opportunity for me – I’ve been knocking on the door for a couple of years now. I’m probably going to play 25-30 of the 40 WSOP events on offer this year to give myself the best chance I possibly can.

“I’ve been Hinkled!” James Akenhead suffered one of the most brutal beats in recent WSOP history in the final hand of a $1500 No Limit Hold’em tourney in 2008. After clawing his way back to draw almost level with Grant Hinkle, Akenhead looked down to find A-K. Hinkle raised to 350,000, Akenhead made it 1.2 million, Hinkle shoved all-in and Akenhead called. A sheepish Hinkle showed 10-4, but watched in amazement as the flop fell 10-4-10. To rub salt into Akenhead’s wound, the remaining 10 landed on the turn. What a way to lose the bracelet and an extra $300k!


Autumn 2010


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Twin Towns

Twice the fun


PL Poker is about a lot more than just chips and cards – we’re about fun, entertainment and friendship. For some APL regions, friends have become family. APL’s Tweed Heads community is one such region. The Tweed Heads crew are not short on accomplishments either, with 12 players finishing in the Player of the Month top 20 in the past 12 months and a host of Main Event final table results amongst the ranks The 2007 Tournament of Champions winner Rodney Davidson is the most recent addition to the Tweed Heads team, and is loving life in the border region. Regional manager Tony Matthews said that because it’s a relatively small community, and the laid-back style of life, the players spend a lot of time together away from the poker table. “They’ll get together for barbecues or go out and do things together. The bond they create at the poker table makes them want to be together outside of poker. Then, the bond they create away from the tables makes them want to come back and play poker together,” Matthews said. After earning the title of APL’s Player of the Month in May 2008, Glenn Sims is one of the Tweed Region’s most accomplished players. He recently made the shift from player to tournament director. Glenn moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast three years ago, went looking for some excitement and stumbled across the local poker scene.


“It wasn’t APL to start. There were a number of other minor leagues floating about and I gave all of them a try really. I was playing in another area for a while with a guy named Mitch Caton, who actually went on to become my good friend,” Sims said. “The two of us were finding the place where we were playing our poker to be a bit rowdy, so we went looking elsewhere and ended up finding the APL Tweed Heads region. It was only a 20-minute drive for the two of us to go down there for games so we basically just became regulars.” At first, Glenn and Mitch were thankful to have found a less rowdy game, but it wouldn’t take too long for them to realised that they had discovered so much more. “The atmosphere down there was something else. Everyone was friends – it just made you want to play. The more we played, the better we got and of course then we started to qualify for all of the major tournaments,” Sims said. “When it came time to head down to Sydney or to Melbourne for a TOC or a Classic or Grand Slam we’d all go together. I’m talking 15 or 20 people flying down there and staying together as a team. It was – and still is – a Autumn 2010

community cards remarkable thing, the bond you develop with the people in the Tweed region.” While he misses being a part of the action, Glenn said he couldn’t be happier in his new role as Tweed Heads TD. “It’s that same bond that has made the transition between being a player and a TD so easy for me. When you go from playing with your mates to running the show you might expect to cop a bit of flak, but there is just a unique sense of mutual respect down there. It doesn’t matter who you are – if you give respect, you’ll get it in return. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80,” he said. Sims is constantly amazed by the range of players at games throughout the region: “We have a lot of 18 and 19-year-olds – the young crowd who are keen as mustard to learn about the game. Then we’ve got a lot of elderly players who are willing to teach and share from their experience. Apart from developing their poker minds, the younger crowd learn a great deal about the importance of respect from this process,” he said. “At a typical nightly game we might get 50-55 players which, by Sydney standards for example, isn’t huge. But the thing is, 75-80 per cent of those people are on a first name basis and the rest are on their way. The fact that we’re all mates means we don’t have issues with the aggression or aggravation that can come about in poker. We’re all friends, and that comes first. We’d rather help each other out than get angry.” Glenn’s commitment to the Tweed Region was underlined last year when he turned up to a nightly game wearing nothing but a Borat-style mankini to raise money for a community tragedy. The 2009 APL Supporter of the Year Mitch Caton, who also hails from the Tweed Region, says it’s about more than just friendship. About: Tweed Heads is as fa “It’s family. That’s exactly how I’d describe it. r north as you the town abut can get in NSW ting the Queen I’ll tell you right now there’s nothing better than , with sland border, the north side an d with Coolan of th e Tweed River. heading up to Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast or ga tta on with tourism, The area is a shopping, surfi hotbed of activ wherever for the State Finals as a team. You might ng and some ity, growth in the of the fastest state. residential look around with four or five tables to go and there might be two or three Tweed players left in the Venues: hunt but, sure enough, there’ll be 15 or so Tweed • Kingscliff Hot el • Dolphins players cheering from the rail. It’s just incredible.” Hotel, Tweed • Greenmouth Heads Tony Matthews agrees with Caton’s Surf Club • Po ttsville Surf Cl ub • Sth Twee assessment of the Tweed poker family: “We have d Sports Regular even one player, Peter ‘Lefty’ Bohun, who only has one ts Day arm after losing it in a train accident when he Venue Monday Registration was younger. Before he came to play with us, he Kingscliff Hotel Start time Type Tuesday 6.30pm didn’t really have too much going on or too many Dolphins Hotel 7. 30pm Free Tuesday 11am people in his life at all. Now, he’s as much a Greenmouth Surf No on Cl ub Fr W ee ed ne 7p sd m ay part of the Tweed Team as anyone. He’s a great Dolphins Hotel 8pm Free Wednesday 11 am poker player too, finishing second in the October Dolphins Hotel Noon Free Wednesday 6.30pm State Finals. Lefty is one of the most loyal, most Pottsville Sports 7. 30pm Cl ub Pr Th o ur sd 6.30pm ay likeable characters you will come across.” Sth Tweed Sports 7.30pm Fr Fr ee id ay 6. 30pm With a mixture of champion performers, born Greenmouth Surf 7.30pm Club Free Friday 11am entertainers, loyal friends and companions, the Dolphins Hotel No on Fr Saturday ee 6. 30 Tweed region have undoubtedly brought new pm Dolphins Hotel 7.30pm Free Saturday 12 meaning to the words ‘community cards’! .3 0p m Dolphins Hotel 1.30pm Free Sunday 6.30pm Sth Tweed Sports 7. 30pm Pr Sunday o 12 .30pm Sth Tweed Sports 1.30pm If your APL Region is as Free 5.30pm 6.30pm Free close-knit as our friends in

Region: Twee

d Heads (QTH


Tweed Heads, we want to know about it – send an email to:!

Autumn 2010


s ad e h



All you need to know about major APL and major regional poker tournament series coming up in 2010 March 5-8 – Wild Turkey Poker Classic – Crown Casino, Melbourne, VIC

A field of up to 600 is expected to descend on Crown Poker Room for the second and final instalment of the WTPC, which is tipped to boast a prize pool of $600,000. Last year, it was Nowra’s Danny Taylor who bested a field of 528 to claim the $100,000 title after coming out on top after a heads-up duel with the enigmatic Majed Haddad. This year a new champion will be crowned, with one coveted TeamAPL package up for grabs for every $100k in the prize pool.

April 17 – NSW FullTiltPoker. Org State Finals – Liverpool

March 21-April 4 – Joe Hachem Deep Stack Series IV, Crown Casino, Melbourne, VIC

After a hugely successful Aussie Millions campaign in January this year, the Crown Poker Room is gearing up for the next major event on its annual poker calendar – the Joe Hachem Deepstack Series IV. This series is designed for local players to hone their skills playing Championship style, deep stack events, without the five figure buy-ins. Crown has devised a schedule that is bound to suit players of every budget and skill set, culminating in the $550 Main Event from April 1-4.

March 14 – NSW APL Pro Open – Penrith RSL, Penrith, NSW


Another APL Pro Open means another chance to secure your ticket into the biggest poker tournament in the World, the World Series of Poker. In March, the Pro Open heads to Penrith with up to 64 players set to share in a prize pool that will include a $20,000 TeamAPL package to be awarded to our next Pro Champ. To secure your seat into this event you can win any one of our 500 Pro Series games held each month, or you can buy in on the day for just $110!

March 27 – SA Pro Open – Adelaide Casino, Adelaide, SA

With an entry fee of just $45, the SA Pro Open is one of the most inexpensive opportunities to score your spot on the APL Poker Tour. Contested at the prestigious Adelaide Casino, this event features $20 rebuys with double add-ons for $30. In other words, you’ve got a few chances

Catholic Club, Liverpool, NSW If you’re a red blooded New South Welshman with your heart set on taking out the inaugural season of the upcoming APL Poker Tour, you better score yourself a seat into the NSW State Finals. With the entire $40,000 prize pool to be given back in seats into the APLPT, any self-respecting poker player would have to rate him or herself a chance. To qualify, you’ll need to finish top 10 within your region or top two for your venue in the preceding season.

April 17 – VIC FullTiltPoker.Org State Finals – Tabcorp Park, Melton, VIC Mark April 17 down in your diary as the day you join the APLPT. Once you’ve done that, you’re going to have to decide whether you’ll make the pilgrimage to Sydney, make a holiday of it on the Gold Coast or hang on the home front and wait for the tour to hit Melbourne later in the year. A host of southerners will progress through to season one of the all-new APLPT. To qualify, you’ll need to finish top 10 within your region or top two for your venue in the preceding season.

April 17 – SA FullTiltPoker.Org State Finals – Gaza Sports, Klemzig, SA The top eight players from each South Australian venue as well as the top 10 from each region will be invited to Gaza Sports to play off for a chance to hit the tour trail when the Klemzig based club hosts the SA State Finals to close out the first quarter of 2010. Head down to your local APL venue tonight to make sure you’re a part of the action come April.

FullTiltPoker. Org State Finals, Caloundra RSL, Caloundra, QLD Last time the State Finals came to town, QNW’s James Vercoe hit the final table as the short stack. Remarkably, he doubled up on several occasions before finding himself heads up with QCN’s Greg Bergin. Vercoe went on to post a completely unexpected win, claiming both the QLD State Title and a seat into the 2010 WTPC. This time around, it’s a seat into the APLPT up for grabs – and so long as you’re one of the top 10 players on your local regional leader board, or a top three finisher on your venue leaderboard, you could be pulling off a ‘Vercoe’ too.

April 18 – NSW APL Pro Open, Liverpool Catholic Club, Liverpool, NSW Worth $300,000 annually and offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to live out your poker dream, if there’s one poker event in NSW you don’t want to miss out on, it’s the APL Pro Open. The Pro Open will feature a 5,000 starting bank which, given the event’s relaxed structure, should allow you to play your natural brand of poker and give you the best possible chance of taking out one of the WSOP, APL Poker Tour or APL Pro Open Second Chance tickets on offer!

April 18 – QLD

Autumn 2010

tournament calendar

April 21-25 – ANZPT Sydney, Star City Casino, Sydney

June 11-14 – ANZPT Canberra, Casino Canberra, ACT

Sydney hosted the largest event on season one of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour where 496 players created a prizepool just a shy under $1 million, with Paren Arzoomanian taking home a massive $246,500. The 2010 ANZPT Main Event will be the culmination of a 10-day festival of poker in the brand new Star City Poker Room and Sports Theatre.

For the first time in almost a decade, the nation’s capital will host a major tournament. Australia’s finest will converge on Canberra to celebrate the Queens’s Birthday long weekend and the chance to become the first Casino Canberra champion since the National Championships were last played here in 2001

May 1 – APL Poker Tour Satellite: Tweed Heads, South Tweed Sports Club, Tweed Heads

May. It’s usually around about this time of year that Queenslanders and New South Welshmen begin riling each other up in preparation for State of Origin. APL has found a way for both parties to meet in the middle – literally. The APL Poker Tour Satellite: Tweed Heads welcomes card sharks from either side of the border, (and anyone else for that matter), for a chance to contest for that sacred golden chip and APLPT fame. Autumn 2010

June TBA – APL Poker Tour Sydney, venue TBA

For the first time in 21 months, APL’s Main Event is returning to Sydney – this time in the form of the league’s first ever APLPT Main Event. As usual, there’ll be hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash up for grabs as well as seats into TeamAPL and a chance to be the next APL Main Event Champion. Sydney is just the first stop for season one, the event will move to the Gold Coast in September before migrating to Melbourne at the end of November to close out the year.

After a highly successful debut event in 2009, the ANZPT returns to the Sunshine State for the penultimate season two event. Players will enjoy a brand new poker facility as the aim to emulate the feat of 2009 winner Scott Kerr. In addition, all the Gold Coast’s best features are right on the doorstep of one of Australia’s most iconic casinos.

Sep TBA – APL Poker Tour Gold Coast, venue TBA

Jul 17-25 – ANZPT Queenstown, SKYCITY Queenstown, NZ Set amid the stunning Southern Alps of New Zealand, Queenstown is regarded as the global capital of adventure sports. It’s also home to one of the nation’s most prestigious poker tournaments. Overlooking Lake Wakatipu, SKYCITY will again host the region’s best to decide who’ll follow in the footsteps of season one champion Danny Chevalier.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of the WSOP. By now, chances are you’ve also heard about TeamAPL – the league’s representative poker squad. TeamAPL be back in Las Vegas for the 57th event and culmination of the world’s biggest poker tournament series: the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship. The final nine players will then return in November to decide the 2010 world champion.

Aug 11-15 – ANZPT Gold Coast, Conrad Jupiters, Broadbeach, QLD

May 28-July 17 – World Series of Poker – Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas

For the first time ever, the Main Event moves north to the Sunshine State – and it’s also bringing a pretty hefty prize pool. Like all APLPT events, Gold Coast participants can expect $1000 to be added to the prize pool for every participant in the event, with a payout structure designed to award the most cash possible to highest number of people. Once you’ve scored your golden ticket, it’s time to get your hands on that golden chip.

Nov TBA – APL Poker Tour Melbourne, venue TBA If there’s one thing APL knows how to pull off, it’s a worldclass poker event. What separates an APL Main Event aside from a poker tournament is the spectacle that comes with it. The Melbourne instalment of the APLPT is to no exception to this rule. Set to feature an extensive menu of preliminary events, this is final leg of the tour for season one.



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Cost (Buy-In + Entry Fee)

Main Event Mega Satellite- 25 Seat Guarantee Super Satellite - Main Event No Limit Holdem-15k Start Bank Super Satellite - Main Event No Limit Holdem - 10k Start Bank Main Event Satellite No Limit Holdem - 10k Start Bank Main Event Satellite No Limit Holdem - 10k Start Bank Main Event Satellite No Limit Holdem 6 Max- 15k Start Bank Super Satellite - Main Event No Limit Holdem Accumulator- Flight 1 Ladies Night No Limit Holdem - 10k start bank Super Satellite - Main Event Main Event Satellite No Limit Holdem Accumulator- Flight 2 (Repechage) High Stakes Holdem Satellite Main Event Satellite No Limit Holdem Accumulator- Day 2 Heads Up No Limit Holdem (32 players max) Teams Event - No Limit Holdem/Pot Limit Omaha Mixed Event - 8 Game 20k Start Bank Main Event Satellite Terminator No Limit Holdem - 15k Start Bank Pot Limit Omaha- 30k Start Bank Triple Chance Format Main Event Satellite Pot Limit Omaha- 10k Start Bank Double Chance Format No Limit Holdem 6 Max- 25k Start Bank Main Event Satellite Super Satellite - Main Event - 20 Seat Guarantee High Stakes Holdem - 25k Start Bank Main Event Day 1 Flight 1 - 20k start bank Main Event Day 1 Flight 2 (Repechage) - 20k start bank Main Event Day 1 Flight 3 (Re-repechage) - 20k start bank Melbourne Poker Championship Satellite No Limit Holdem Main Event Day 2 No Limit Holdem 6 Max Shootout (36 player cap)

$25 (20+5)/ $25 (20+5)rebuys $130 (110+20) $230 (200+30) $130 (110+20) $125 (100+25) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $125 (100+25) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $125 (100+25) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $230 (200+30) $130 (110+20) $340 (300+40) $100 (85+15) $130 (110+20) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $340 (300+40) $250 (220+30) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $550 (500+50) $200(170+30) $1100(1000+100) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $340 (300+40) $1100 (1000+100) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $230(200+30) $1100(1000+100) $25 (20+5) / $25 (20 + 5) Rebuys $130 (110+20) $2200 (2000+200) $550 ($500+$50) $550 ($500+$50) $550 ($500+$50) $250 (220+30) $1650 (1500+150)

*Tournament terms and conditions apply. Full terms and conditions available on-line at or at the Poker Desk, located on Level B2, Crown Entertainment Complex. Entry to the casino is open to all persons 18 years and over that are not excluded for any reason. Entrants must be a Crown Signature Club member. Membership requires appropriate identification. Full details available at Crown Signature Club.