The Rise and Rise of Kahle Burns

Khle Burns shortly after winning yet another poker tournament, this one at the 2019 poker Masters in Las Vegas

Australian poker is firmly back on the map and Kahle Burns is partly responsible. Fellow Aussie Robert Campbell won the 2019 World Series of Poker Player of the Year title but it is Burns who has garnered the attention of the poker community.

Burns hails from Geelong, Victoria and is well-known in the Australian and Asian poker communities. He discovered poker as a 17-year-old and started playing on the play money tables at PokerStars a year later. Burns began playing some free pub poker events, found he had a knack for the game and went from there.

His first port of call were the $50 buy-in electronic poker games at Crown Melbourne, then the $100 buy-in games. It didn’t take long for Burns to start playing the $2/$3 cash games where he earned more money than his bar job. That bar job bit the dust and Burns never looked back.

Cash games with stakes of $50/$100 and above are Burns’ bread and butter, sometimes higher when in Macau. Only Burns knows how much he’s won from cash games as the data isn’t readily available, although tournament results are. Online, Burns has accumulated $2,349,971 from multi-table tournaments, helped by five huge scores at PokerStars.

  • Seventh-place in the 2018 SCOOP $10,300 NLHE High Roller for $117,685
  • First-place in the 2018 SCOOP $1,050 PLO 6-Max High Roller for $121,773
  • First-place in the 2019 SCOOP $10,300 NLHE 8-Max PKO High Roller for $125,587*
  • First-place in the 2019 SCOOP $2,100 NLHE for $178,498
  • First-place in the 2017 SCOOP $1,050 NLHE Main Event for $787,312

*this prize is likely at least twice the size shown as bounty payments are not shown

Burns Starts Crushing Live Poker Tournaments

Burns was winning plenty of money online but dozens of online poker sites closed their doors to Australians after the Australian government changes its laws and legislation. Burns wasn’t overly affected because he had already developed his live poker skills and was crushing it.

His first live poker tournament score weighed in at A$2,750 back in 2009. A victory in an A$550 buy-in event in Crown Casino Melbourne in August 2011 saw Burns win A$35,000. There was very little to shout about during 2012 and most of 2013, although Burns banked his first six-figure prize. A fifth-place finish in the A$10,000 WSOP Asia-Pacific Main Event added A$201,994 to Burns’ bankroll.

Another three years passed before Burns reeled in another six-figure prize. He finished first in the A$3,000 Sydney Championships Main Event at The Star Sydney for A$297,203. Two months later, his third-place finish in the HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event yielded HK$2,662,000 (US$343,179).

Near Miss Then Two WSOP Bracelets

Incredible is one way to describe how 2019 has panned out for Burns. He came agonisingly close to winning a WSOP bracelet in Las Vegas, finishing second in a $10,000 NLHE 6-Max event. Although burns didn’t win a coveted WSOP bracelet, he did add another $389,832 to his winnings tally.

Several big scores followed, including three six-figure hauls at European Poker Tour Barcelona. These included a €639,560 (US$712,919) prize for finishing fourth in a €100,000 Super High Roller. Burns stayed in Europe instead of jetting home and it proved to be a superb decision.

Rozvadov isn’t a place you will have heard of if you’re not into poker. The small town in the Czech Republic is home to the WSOP Europe festival and our man attended. A triumph in the €25,500 NLHE Platinum High Roller saw Burns win his first bracelet and €596,883 (US$667,035). He won another four days later in the €2,500 Short Deck event before flying to the United States.

While in the U.S. he won $610,700 across three high roller tournaments and an additional $527,800 across three tournaments in The Bahamas. Burns has now won an impressive $4,221,366 during 2019 with just over a month of the year remaining.

Is This The Last We Will See of Him For a While?

This could be the last we see of our hero, at least for a couple of months. An interview with card player saw Burns admit he is not overly motivated to play a lot of poker any more. He is someone who plays in fits and starts, throwing himself into the game before stepping away again. It is likely he will enjoy some much-deserved downtime over Christmas and the New Year, but surely the lure of the 2020 Aussie Million in Melbourne will be too strong for him to resist? Take him on at your own risk if he does show up at any of your tables, cash or tournament!