The Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia has been the host for the Aussie Millions tournament since 1998. What began as a local-player oriented event has now become a major attraction for the poker glitterati with local heroes like Tony Hachem being the big names to beat.
The Aussie Millions kicked off on Thursday 13 January with the first of the 20 events that will run until the end of the month. The $10,600 AUD (more-or-less $10,550 USD) buy-in Main Event will begin on 23 January and run for 6 days. A 746-strong field participated in last year’s Main Event which was won by local boy Tyron Krost who didn’t have far to go to take home $2 million AUD. It was his voice that uttered the standard battle cry of “Shuffle up and deal” to get this year’s proceedings under way.
Special events included in the program are a high-stakes Challenge event with a $100,000 AUD buy-in that wil lplay out for two days from 22 January and the Aussie Millions High Stkes Cash Game that features a $200,000 buy-in. Last year’s $100,000 Challenge attracted 24 players and concluded with a win and cash prize of $1.2 million for New Yorker Dan Shak after a heads up final against Phil Ivey.
The Australia Heads Up Championship also requires the shedding of a large buy-in ($10,500 AUS)and will play out on two separate days. Six-handed events and bounties on players’ heads are also included to spice up the calendar.
A lot of hype surrounds the Aussie Millions in its present, in-fashion, form, with Hollywood stars such as Pamela Anderson threatening to play in the 2009 tournament and the January time-slot it shares with the Australian Open international tennis tournament does it no harm. Ladbrokes Poker even giving away tickets to the Men’s Final as part of a promotion to win seats at this year’s Aussie Millions Main Event.
One of many online poker rooms that ran buy-in promotions for the Aussie Millions, Full Tilt Poker are also offering players a chance to learn at its Academy Live Seminar – an interactive online program allows students to learn from sponsored professional including Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer and 2007 Aussie Millions winner Gus Hansen. This year’s Academy Seminar is only the second time the online poker room has offered the program in an offline classroom environment. Topics covered include: table image, live tells, mixed games, changing gears and hand analysis from WSOP bracelet winner Simon Watt.