Jump for Oi!It’s that time of year again when poker gets turned on its head as the perennial Aussie Millions, known officially as the Crown Australian Poker Championship, gets underway in Melbourne in January. The world’s poker elite all head, once again, to the renowned Crown Casino in the balmy January summer and mix it up with all the cards, cash, cameras and camaraderie. In conjunction with Fox Sports Net, the Aussie Millions 2007 is the richest poker event in the southern hemisphere, and apart from all the outdoor distractions is the quest for a piece of the $10,500 buy-in Main Event prize pool.
The event draws players from all over the world and every year, the Aussie Millions seems to outdo itself. This year is no exception. The Crown’s newly refurbished 50-table poker room will be the main point of focus as the six-day Main Event gets underway on January 14 and is expected to generate a prize pool in excess of AU$5,000,000.
Leading up to that, players can compete in daily satellites or choose from various cash tournaments including the opening $1,000 buy-in No Limit Hold‘em tournament, the $100,000 Hold‘em Invitational, the Australian Heads Up Championship or the new Feature Hold‘em Event.
Poker at the Crown was introduced with the first major championship, then known as the Australasian Poker Championship, held in July 1998. The Main Event was a $1,000 buy-in limit hold‘em tournament that attracted 74 entries with a $74,000 prize pool.
In 2001, The Aussie Millions drew 40 entrants with a $5,000 buy-in for a prize pool of $200,000. But in January 2003, the tournament hit its stride bringing in a field of 122 entrants and a $1.2 million prize pool. The 2005 event saw those entrant numbers more than double, generating the biggest prize pool ever in the southern hemisphere of $2,630,000. Over half the field was from overseas including players from New Zealand, England, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Holland, Canada, Italy and Lebanon. As if it needed to further validate itself as a tour de force on the poker circuit, this is also where 2005 WSOP Main Event winner and “Australia’s Gift to Poker” Joe Hachem calls his home casino.
In 2006 it leaped to 418 players who all vied for some of the $4,180,000 prize pool including some of the biggest names in the poker world such as Hachem, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Kathy Liebert, Scott Fischman, David Williams, Antonio Esfandiari and Mike Sexton. And you can count on 2006 Main Event winner Lee Nelson from New Zealand to be there again this year to defend his title. With a pedigree like this, January 2007 promises to be the biggest challenge so far.
If you’re lucky enough to get down to Melbourne, consider the Crown to be an experience you’ll never forget. Crown Towers was awarded the highest accolade for hotels, winning the “Luxury Accommodation” category in the 2005 Victorian Tourism Awards. This is the third consecutive year The Crown has competed and won in this category, resulting in its induction into the Hall of Fame. Lavishly appointed and offering an impeccable standard of customer service and attention to detail, Crown Towers is a hotel that truly understands the meaning of opulence. All of Crown Towers’ 482 luxuriously appointed oversized guest rooms have spectacular views to the city or Port Phillip Bay and feature a unique level of comfort and finish. Hotel guests can relax and indulge at Crown Spa offering a broad range of health and beauty treatments, a 25-meter heated indoor swimming pool and a high-tech gymnasium. And in-between rounds of poker and spa treatments, couture shopping and hitting Club Odeon will strike the perfect balance.