About Landon

LANDON BLACKHALL was born in Melbourne, Australia on the 25th of June 1984, the first of six children to mother Dearne and father Peter.

Landon’s family was raised in the Macedon Ranges, but spent much time in their “home away from home” that was the Sunbury squash centre, co-owned by his grandparents. It was there that Landon discovered his love of sports and games through his grandfather, Alan Hickey, who was formerly President of the Victorian Squash Federation.

A passionate supporter of Australian football, Landon began umpiring in the Riddell District Football League at the age of 16, officiating in many senior and junior league games in all disciplines (field, boundary and goal), including two AFL International Cup carnivals and the curtain-raiser to the 2011 International Rules test match between Australia and Ireland.

IF YOU DON’T MIND: Landon (far left) with the officiating crew for the 50th Anniversary Redman Shield match (Deaf football) between Victoria and the Southern Cross Rebels in Melbourne (2016). IMAGE CREDIT: Riddell Umpires

From an early age, Landon showed great prowess in English, literature and the performing arts; throughout his school years, he would often be seen reading and writing stories and performing in plays.

This led to several appearances in community theatre productions, with Landon making his acting debut in the lead role of “Colin” for the Mount Players‘ 1998 production of Two Weeks with the Queen.

During his mid-to-late teens, Landon worked closely with his father, a chef by trade, learning all aspects of the hospitality industry, but it was a family outing to the then newly-opened Crown Casino Southbank complex in 1997 that inspired Landon to pursue a career in the gaming industry.

Landon’s opportunity came in 2004 – at the tender of age of 19 – to master the croupier arts, learning to deal a variety of games including Blackjack, Pontoon, Sic Bo and Big Wheel, under the guidance of trainer Tim Jones.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: Landon (bottom right), with the graduating Blackjack dealer class of January 2004.

Sadly, illness forced Landon to leave just 12 months later; determined to not let his skills atrophy, Landon turned his hand to dealing “fun casino” events, which then led to dealing poker in a series of trial events held throughout Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.

After Joe Hachem won the 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and kickstarted the “Great Australian Poker Boom”, Landon soon found himself travelling extensively across Victoria as a Tournament Director for the National Poker League (NPL), working up to seven nights a week hosting pub poker events.

DULY NOTED: Landon (right) with 2003 World Champion Chris Moneymaker during the APPT Macau Main Event (2009).

As the popularity of the game continued to grow, Landon discovered an even greater opportunity for work in the industry, combining his passion for the game with his writing talent, debuting as a columnist for Bluff Australasia Magazine in 2008 before returning to Crown Melbourne as a reporter during the 2009 Aussie Millions Poker Championship.

Since then, Landon has travelled extensively interstate and overseas, producing content for numerous media outlets at major poker events in Australia, Macau, New Zealand and the Philippines, as well as spending three months in Las Vegas, USA during the WSOP in 2011.

SUIT UP: Landon (centre) oversees the 2013 New Zealand Deaf Poker Championship at the Auckland Deaf Club. IMAGE CREDIT: Nadia Austin

Landon continues to serve voluntarily as Director of Poker Operations for Deaf Poker Australia, collaborating with members of the Deaf community and studying Auslan (Australian Sign Language) whilst working with major casino properties and league operators in hosting and promoting their marquee tournaments.

Landon currently resides in Melbourne with his daughter Alyssa.

“Poker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism and democracy. It can be rough-hewn or polished, warm or cold, charitable and caring or hard and impersonal. It is fickle and elusive, but ultimately it is fair, and right, and just.”

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