Aussie Campbell Wins GPI Breakout Player of 2019

Former comedian and esports businessman Robert Campbell played poker casually for many years, live and online. In the past several years, the Melbourne-based pro increased his live play and associated results. His best poker year by far was 2019, and his standout performances at the World Series of Poker earned him quite a bit of recognition, including a Global Poker Award for Breakout Player of the Year.

Buildup to 2019

Campbell’s interest in card games dated back to his childhood, as his grandmother was his inspiration. He not only invested in her to win her $0.20 Friday night games but played in poker rooms like Crown Melbourne from the time he was 18 years old.

A loss during a game with friends motivated him to learn more about the game, and he began to study, improve, and move up in stakes. He began playing poker online in 2007 under the screen name of SonicJaxx, and he built his bankroll from there.

Meanwhile, Campbell took interest in esports and became the CEO of NeonEsports, a Dota 2 team from the Philippines that competes in esports tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region.

Poker When Possible

Most of Campbell’s first major poker tournament cashes and wins happened at home in Melbourne. He made final tables of various tournaments from 2007 onward and won his first tournament at the 2013 Aussie Millions in an 8-Game Mix event.

When the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific (WSOP APAC) hit Melbourne that same year, he played and final tabled the mixed-game event…and seemed to have caught the WSOP bug.

Campbell traveled to Las Vegas in 2015 to play the WSOP and finished second in the $1,500 HORSE event for more than $148K. The following year, he cashed in five WSOP events, two of those resulting in final table finishes. And in 2017, he cashed in three events, two of which were final tables. Three more cashes in Las Vegas in 2018 made him a regular at the Series.

Breakout Year of 2019

With his primary focus on esports, Campbell began the year with some poker tournaments at the Crown Poker Championship in April and took fourth place in an 8-Game event. Then, he set out to play a few WSOP events in Las Vegas in 2019, as he had in years past.

Campbell later told PokerNews that his run at the Las Vegas WSOP was “probably the hottest I’ve ever run in my entire life.” These were his results there:

  • $1,500 Dealers Choice 6-Handed = 8th place ($13,681)
  • $10K Omaha Hi-Lo 8-or-Better Championship = 5th place ($102,868)
  • $1,500 Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw = 1st place ($144,027)
  • $1,500 Razz = 7th place ($12,837)
  • $1,500 PLO 8-or-Better = 63rd place ($4,083)
  • $1,500 Omaha Mix = 101st place ($2,249)
  • $10K Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo 8-or-Better Championship = 1st place ($385,763)
  • $3K PLO 6-Handed = 33rd place ($10,351)
  • $1,500 NLHE Closer = 174th place ($3,500)

Campbell became the only player to win two WSOP gold bracelets last summer, and he was in a prime spot to win the WSOP Player of the Year race. With that in mind, he traveled to Rozvadov in the Czech Republic in October for the WSOP Europe. There, he achieved these results:

  • €550 PLO 8-Handed = 48th place (€908)
  • €1,350 NLHE Mini Main Event = 50th place (€2,596)
  • €25,500 NLHE Platinum High Roller = 8th place (€59,189)
  • €550 NLHE Colossus = 148th place (€1,325)

With that, Campbell accumulated $753,668 in poker earnings for the year and won the WSOP Player of the Year honor. It was not without drama, as the WSOP initially declared Daniel Negreanu the POY, but a Russian poker journalist discovered a calculation error that led to a correction. And Campbell won.

Excitement to Kick Off 2020

The start of 2020 delivered more poker action. Campbell did well at the Australian Poker Tour in Brisbane, where he finished fifth in a NLHE event and won the $1K 8-Game Mix event.

Soon after, CoinPoker announced that Campbell joined its player roster as an ambassador of the online poker site alongside well-known players like Tony G, Isabelle Mercier, and Viktor Blom.

On March 6, the GPI and Poker Central hosted the Global Poker Awards in Las Vegas. Campbell was one of four nominees for Breakout Player of the Year Award, a category that included Ramon Colillas of Spain, Ben Farrell of the UK, and George Wolff of the United States.

Last year’s winner, Ali Imsirovic, presented the nominees and announced Campbell as the winner. Having been notified before the ceremony of his victory, Campbell sent a video that can be found in the this video of the entire ceremony at the timer marker of 01:17:23.

“Hey guys. How are ya? Look, I can still remember when I was nominated for this award earlier this year. I got a call from Kahle Burns; he called me up and said, ‘Hey, Rob, you’ve been nominated for Breakout Player of the Year, and I’ve been nominated for Toughest Opponent. How ‘bout I vote for you, you vote for me, we’ll do a bit of the swapsy-voties.’ I said, ‘No problem, Kahle. Sounds great.’ I hung up the phone and then I voted for Chidwick because… But seriously, thanks so much, Global Poker Index. This is fantastic. I’m so honored to be here even though I’m not here; sorry about that. It’s great. I really couldn’t be happier. A lot of people are asking me, ‘Rob, what are you gonna do next year with all this great stuff that’s happened to you?’ Well, I’m gonna try to win another bracelet because, ya know, this necklace is pretty tight. See ya later guys. Have a great evening.”

Awards host Maria Ho then added, “In this day and age when No Limit Hold’em is king, it is really nice to see somebody who dabbles a lot in the mixed game streets to win that award, so congratulations.”

 

Rose Varrelli

Rose Varrelli has always been passionate about online casinos, as she's been a player at a variety of places for years. Rose turned her personal knowledge and insight into a writing career. She aims to provide readers with the most up to date, informative news in the world of online casinos!

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