This year, the Aussie Millions Poker Championship is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a special Tournament of Champions. The event will bring together eight of the past nine winners to compete for a lifetime of Aussie Millions Main Event buy-ins. Perhaps no one is more excited about the event than defending champion David Gorr.
In 2011, Gorr defeated a 721-player field to capture the AUD$2,000,000 first-place prize. On his way to victory, Gorr beat out a stacked final table that included Patrik Antonius, Chris Moorman, and Randy Dorfman. Then, in a marathon heads-up match, Gorr defeated young James Keys to prove that youth doesn’t always prevail over experience and perseverance.
Gorr may not have been familiar to the poker masses before his big win, but he was a local legend in Melbourne, having played at Crown Casino for many years and hailing for the same home game as Australian Poker Hall of Famers Leo Boxell, Mel Judah, and Billy “The Croc” Argyros.
PokerNews caught up with Gorr during the preliminary events of this year’s Aussie Millions to get his thoughts on the Tournament of Champions and to see what he’s been up to since his win.
Are you excited about the Tournament of Champions in honor of the Aussie Millions’ 10th anniversary?
It’ll be interesting. I would love to see the format. It’ll be fun to play against some pretty good players. I mean there’s Lee Nelson, and there’s Gus Hansen — very good players. It’ll be an experience without any doubt.
What has it been like over the last year serving as the champion of the Aussie Millions?
It started off with a bang immediately after winning, but then it quieted down. I did get a lot of people individually coming up to me and congratulating me. Many people I’ve known before, but I couldn’t place them [laughs]. It’s like going to school on day one and you’re the schoolteacher trying to learn all these different names at once. That was really hard to do, but I do appreciate everyone coming up. Very nice of them.
You were a regular at Crown for a long time before winning the Aussie Millions. What was it like to win such a prestigious tournament on your home turf?
I looked at it this way, finally I won a tournament at Crown. It’s been a long, long time, and I won the right tournament, the one that counts.
Did you do anything fun with your money, like splurge on a big purchase?
No, I didn’t. I’m settled. I’ve got all the things I need in my life, and there was no need to do anything big. I gave the children — I’ve got two children — some money, and the rest went into savings. We took an overseas trip for four weeks in Europe. We finished up in Cannes, and that was it.
Have you ever played the World Series of Poker?
Yes, I did, in Cannes. I did play the WSOP [in Vegas] twice in the days when the total number was 800, which I think was around ’97 or ’98.
Any plans to play it again in Vegas?
I may play this year, but the 30 percent tax for Australians is a put-off, it really is. Why should I play in the U.S. when I can go to Europe or Macau and win a prize, not as big as the WSOP, but a decent prize, and not have to pay any tax on it?
Turning back to the Aussie Millions, have you played every year since its inception in 2003?
Yes, I’ve played every one.
Any fond memories that may stick out during the event’s 10 years?
It was the sudden increase in the numbers that were turning up to this Main Event, and of course it all went crazy when Joe Hachem won the World Series. The fact that one of our television channels started showing hold’em, and Joe won the Main Event, and all of a sudden these tournaments that we have here just exploded. Before that, we were lucky to get maybe 110 players, and now, well, you’re getting 500 to 700 players in some of these tournaments. It’s very good.
Has the Crown Poker Room changed over the years?
I think it was just on the one side, and on the other side was gaming tables. Then, on every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, they had a band up on the level where the bar is, and on the other side there were a bunch of slot machines. It annoyed a lot of players, especially in the middle of a major tournament.
Before [the tournament] wasn’t called the Aussie Millions, it was called something else. There were two or three other winners prior to when they decided to call it the Aussie Millions, including Leo Boxell, who has just had a fantastic year. He was a winner of one of them. We all come out of the same poker school.
I looked up on the Hendon Mob, which has been keeping statistics since only 1998, and they keep two columns. The first column is what you’ve won in the country of origin, and the second column is that amount of money converted into U.S. dollars. The poker school that I belonged to here in Melbourne, a home game, according to Hendon Mob has won 10.8 million between us. It’s 11 players who play in our home game including Mel Judah, Billy “The Croc” Argyros, Leo Boxell, Michael Guttman, Graeme Putt, myself, I don’t want to miss anyone. Have I got 11 names? [Laughs] That’ll do.
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand at Crown Casino in Melbourne for the next two weeks bringing you all the action from the 2012 Aussie Millions, so be sure to visit our live blog for all the action from Down Under!