Australians struggle to play online poker these days but one Aussie has excelled in the world of live poker. Robert Campbell, a relative unknown compared to some of poker’s superstars, is the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year. It is a most impressive achievement, although it almost did not happen.
Melbourne’s Campbell first record a live poker tournament cash in April 2007. Campbell finished second in a $175 buy-in tournament at Crown Casino for $4,368. It took three more years for Campbell to have another cash recorded on his Hendon Mob profile page.
Campbell finished third in the $10,500 8-Game event at the Aussie Millions for a career-best $50,000. He followed that up two years later with a $60,000 score in the $5,000 8-Game event at the 2013 Aussie Millions.
Nicknamed “SonicJaxx”, Campbell became a familiar face at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas from 2015. A runner-up finish in the US$1,500 H.O.R.S.E event in 2013 netted him US$148,096. Several more cashes and six final table appearances followed. But it was at the 2019 WSOP that Campbell made a name for himself.
A first bracelet came after two deep runs, including one final table. This bracelet was awarded for winning the US$1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw event. A prize of US$144,027 came with a piece of poker’s most-sought-after jewellery.
Campbell then banked his second bracelet of the summer in the $10,000 Seven-card Stud Hi-Lo 8 or Better Championship. This tournament yielded Campbell’s largest-ever prize, one worth a cool US$385,763.
The Melbourne native was on course to win the coveted WSOP Player of the Year award. With this in mind, Campbell travelled to Rozvadoz, Czech Republic for the WSOP Europe festival. He registered four more cashes, taking his total cashes and US$750,844 in winnings.
Despite his impressive performances, Campbell thought he had missed out on the POY title. This is because the WSOP announced Daniel Negreanu as the POY champion. Negreanu amassed 4,074.88 points compared to Campbell’s 3,961.31. Losing out to a player of Negreanu’s stature is never a bad thing, except Campbell had actually won.
A member of the Two Plus Two Forum known as “iskander” noticed a discrepancy in Negreanu’s results. The WSOP reported Negreanu finished 36th in a US$1,000 online event. However, this was not the case and an admin error had somehow duplicated 32nd-46th place from a different event into this one.
As a result, Negreanu had points earned from that event removed and slipped to third in the POY standings.
Ty Stewart, the WSOP Executive Director, issues an apology for the erroneous data. “We’d like to offer our sincere and public apology to those players who chased the award. It is an amazing thing when poker players pursue history and a sense of sporting honor, and thus it’s a terrible embarrassment for us to stain a great race for the title. We’re going to take the next few months to overhaul the POY and many of our procedures that have gone off course.”
The true result put Campbell at the top of the leaderboard thus becoming the 2019 WSOP POY. Campbell has not posted on his Twitter account since 2015 but reports are he is delighted to put Australian poker on the map.
We now expect Campbell to take a little time from the game until the 2020 Aussie Millions. The mixed game specialist tends not to play no-limit hold’em, instead preferring mixed games. He is currently the CEO of eSports team Neon that focusses on the Dota 2 game. Perhaps Campbell will spend some time gaming instead of crushing poker tournaments?