The Aussie Millions Poker Championship has grown from a small 40-entry AUD $5,000 buy in event in January 2001 called the the Crown Australian Poker Championship to an international poker festival on the 'must play' list for most pros and the bucket list for poker players of all bankroll sizes and skill levels.
The event went truly international in 2005 when 263 entries created a record prize pool in the Southern Hemisphere of $2,630,000 and more than half the field had traveled from outside of Australia to play.
The Aussie Millions truly peaked over the next three years as some of the best players on the planet turned up to play. In 2006, the Main Event drew 418 players creating an AUD $4,180,000 prize pool. It almost doubled in 2007 when 747 entries turned up and Danish pro Gus Hansen won the title and an AUD $1.5 million first prize. Russian high-stakes hero Alexander Kostritsyn topped that in 2008, winning AUD $1.65 Million and beating Poker Hall of Fame member Erik Seidel heads up to claim the crown.
The Aussie Millions remained a highlight on the international poker circuit for the next few years with four straight Aussies keeping the title on home soil. Local chef Stewart Scott was the first to do it, before local university student Tyron Krost made it two years in a row in 2010. A 67-year-old Melbourne grandfather named David Gorr made it three years in a row in 2011 and 26-year-old Melbourne banker Oliver Spiedel did it again the next year.
Malaysian Mervin Chan broke the streak of Aussie winners in 2013 and Canadian Ami Barer won the title in 2014, getting the best of a 668-entry field.
The Aussies came back in 2015 when local rounder Manny Stavropoulos booked a win at home and the title went back to Canada last year when Toronto's Ari Engel captured his first major title and it's AUD $1.6 million first-place prize.
With satellites running on the property year-round, the $10,600 Aussie Millions Main Event has maintained its worldwide reputation as one of the biggest and most attractive fields at that buy in level. However, the full Aussie Millions Poker Championship schedule is filled with close to three weeks worth of poker tournaments and mid-to-high-stakes action with something for everyone.
Setting Your Schedule
The Aussie Millions kicks off Jan. 11 with one of the biggest, most attractive and affordable events on the schedule. The AUD $1,150 Opening Event features four starting flights, every day through Jan. 14, and an AUD $1 million prize pool guarantee. For anyone planning to attend the full festival, the Opening Event provides a great opportunity to boost the bankroll right out of the gate and get your feet wet at the series' lowest price point.
The first week of events continues with a variety of tournaments including an $1,150 No Limit Holdem Shot Clock Shootout, $1,150 Pot Limit Omaha and a pair of $1,150 short-handed events.
Mixed game specialists can get in on the AUD $2,500 8 Game Mixed Event Jan. 18 and the schedule moves into the weekend with three flights of the AUD $1,150 No Limit Holdem Accumulator Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
The first in a series of increasingly large high roller events also kicks off Jan. 20 with the AUD $25,000 Challenge. There is an AUD $1,650 Bounty Event on Jan. 21 and the first of three starting flights for the Main Event begins Jan. 22, alongside the AUD $100,000 Challenge.
As the Main Event plays out through the second week of the festival, there is plenty of side action to please the palate of all kinds of poker enthusiasts, including the AUD $1,150 Australian Poker Hall of Fame No Limit Holdem, AUD $1,150 No Limit Holdem/PLO, AUD $1,150 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo, AUD $2,500 No Limit Holdem, AUD $1,150 Aussie Millions Tournament of Champions and an AUD $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha event.
Weekend activities include an AUD $2,500 Shot Clock No Limit Holdem Six Max event, an AUD $1,500 No Limit Holdem "Deep Freeze", an AUD $5,000 No Limit Holdem Six Max and an AUD $1,150 Turbo No Limit Holdem - Shot Clock event. Jan. 29 will also see the kickoff of the massive AUD $250,000 Challenge High Roller event playing alongside the Main Event final table.
Jan. 30 is the final day of the 2017 Aussie Millions, and while the AUD $250,000 Challenge will crown a champion, the single-day AUD $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha and AUD $1,150 Hyper Turbo No Limit Holdem events will also play out.
Access to the full Aussie Millions schedule can be found on the Aussie Millions website.
The Crown Poker Room also offers cash game action at a variety of stakes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Off The Felt
Set on the Yarra River overlooking the Melbourne Central Business District, the home of the Aussie Millions, Crown Melbourne offers a world of entertainment including great dining, gaming, shopping, hotels and spa experiences.
In addition to three world-class hotels, there are two day spas, 13 premium dining restaurants, 11 bars, two nightclubs and more than 20 retail stores on the property. There's so much happening at Crown, one could plan a trip to the Aussie Millions and never leave the complex. The City of Melbourne surrounding it is as world class as the Crown complex itself.
Consistently voted one of the most livable cities in the world, Melbourne offers a plethora of great food, wine, sports and cultural experiences.
Some of the top must-see places in Melbourne include the The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Shrine of Remembrance War Memorial, the National Art Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens and the Melbourne Zoo. The Australian Open 2017 Grand Slam Tennis tournament also runs alongside the Aussie Millions this year, from Jan. 16 through 29, making the Rod Laver Arena and surrounding tennis grounds just up the Yarra from Crown worth a visit.
Australia truly is Down Under and the only way to get there is by air. International flights are available from around the world direct to Melbourne. Citizens of most countries outside of Australia and New Zealand will need a valid passport and a visa. In most cases, an ETA Travel Visa can be completed online, processed instantly and linked to your passport.
Taxi and limousine services are available from the airport in Melbourne to Crown starting at around AUD $50. Public transportation to the nearby Central Business District starts at approximately AUD $3.50 and you can also take a SkyBus to the Coach Terminal at Southern Cross Station, just blocks away from the banks of the Yarra River and Crown for AUD $18 one-way and AUD $30 return. No matter which option you choose, it shouldn't take much more than a half hour to reach Crown from the airport.
Where To Stay
More than just a casino, Crown is truly an entertainment complex, and with three hotels on-site to choose from, it remains the best place to stay when making a trip to the Aussie Millions.
Crown Towers is the complex's five-star crown jewel, offering luxury accommodations in the heart of Melbourne's Central Business District. The hotel offers everything from Deluxe King Rooms with deep soaking baths and Studio Rooms with sweeping views of the Yarra River and Melbourne city skyline to Executive Suites with luxurious living areas and oversized bathrooms. There is also a heated pool, two rooftop tennis courts and a state-of-the-art gym to help ease the pain of an early tournament exit.
Crown Metropol offers guests luxury with a side of style including everything from its Luxe King or Twin rooms with views over the Melbourne skyline to its Urban Luxe accommodations with panoramic views over Port Phillip Bay and Loft Style Suites with city views. Crown Metropol's 27th floor is also home to a 25-meter indoor pool with views across the Melbourne Central Business District, the ISIKA Fitness Centre offering the latest gym equipment, weight machines and free weights and private changing rooms with Aroma Steam Rooms and a Vitality Pool heated to 38 degrees and equipped with ergonomic lounges delivering revitalizing champagne bubbles.
Finally, Crown Promenade offers guests everything from Standard King rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows to oversized Studios with a 180-degree view of Melbourne’s city skyline and the Docklands precinct. Crown Promenade may be the least expensive way to stay on-site at Crown, but the property still offers luxury amenities at The Deck on Level 3 including a 25-meter infinity spa pool with views of the city skyline, the Crown Promenade Melbourne gymnasium with a full range of gym and fitness equipment (with treadmills, spinning bikes, weight machines and free weights) and a qualified masseuse offering a range of massages.
Those who choose to stay off-site will also find dozens of hotel options in the Southbank and Central Business District, all within walking distance of Crown.
So wherever you stay, be sure not to miss out on all the action of the Aussie Millions!