As the 2015 year winds down, it’s time for poker players to plan their 2016 travel schedules. One of the very first stops of the year for many of the world’s top players is Melbourne, Australia, for the world-renowned Aussie Millions Poker Championship tournament series – the pinnacle of Australian poker.
There are many ways to make it happen, including satellites on PokerStars due to the sponsorship of the series by the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, a PokerStars affiliation. The Crown Casino in Melbourne also offers numerous satellites that are already underway, and countless players play those live events and win their seats into the bigger buy-in tournaments.
Let’s look at the top 10 reasons to be there, in no particular order!
Location, Location, Location
It’s Melbourne, Australia! The Victorian metropolis one of the most popular travel destinations in the world, complete with land and sea adventures for every vacationer. Visit the Royal Arcade, Albert Park, National Gallery of Victoria, Shrine of Remembrance, or take in a ballet, cricket match, or some tennis at the Australian Open.
It’s Summer in January
While it may be winter in many parts of the world, January in Melbourne is a prime summer month. The average high temperature is 26 degrees C (78 degrees F), and the ocean air tops it off.
It’s the Main Event
This is one of the biggest tournaments of the world each year. Past winners include Ami Barer, Gus Hansen, and Alexander Kostritsyn. Winners have been paid up to $2 million, with last year’s champion, Manny Stavropoulos, winning $1,385,500 from a field of 648 players to claim victory. The 2016 Main Event will again draw hundreds of players to its $10,600 buy-in featured tournament, and the prize pool will easily exceed $5 million.
Don’t Forget the Preliminary Events
The Crown Poker action in January consists of far more than the Aussie Millions Main Event. The 2016 series will offer 24 major tournaments in total, running from January 16 to February 16 with buy-ins ranging from $1,150 to $100K. All of those chances to pick up an Aussie Millions title are opportunites not to miss.
Satellite In For a Cheaper Price
Most poker players don’t have the bankrolls to play big buy-in tournaments in addition to making the trip to Melbourne. That’s what satellites are for! Step satellites for entries into the preliminary tournaments start at just $65, and Main Event qualifiers start at $130. That doesn’t even count the cheaper satellites for those players in countries with PokerStars access.
Cold Hard Cash (Games)
Crown Casino in Melbourne is a great place to find cash games on a normal day, but with so many players in town for the Aussie Millions, it will be a gold mine. More than 50 tables are available and offer games Limit Hold’em games from $5/$10 and No Limit games from $1/$2. The staff is also quite accommodating and will spread games by popular demand.
“Did You See [Name of Poker Pro]!”
Each year, the Aussie Millions brings the top names in poker Down Under for the games. Some of the bigger names in the tournaments last year included Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Scott Seiver, Mike McDonald, Ole Schemion, Isaac Haxton, Brian Rast, Justin Bonomo, Sam Trickett, Mustapha Kanit, Xuan Liu, Steve O’Dwyer, Dan Cates, Joe Hachem, and Celina Lin. Whether milling around the poker room, playing some high-stakes side games, or ordering breakfast, poker pros are everywhere at the Crown Casino. It’s the perfect chance to ask for that autograph or photo.
Connected with PokerStars
The PokerStars Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) is now partnered with the Aussie Millions, which means more players in the tournaments and more online qualifiers. As the APPT prepares to celebrate its Season 10 this coming year, expect some perks like a PokerStars party and some of the more well-known members of Team PokerStars Pro in the mix.
In the History Books
For more than a dozen years, the Aussie Millions has been a staple on the international poker circuit. The true history of the event goes back to 1998 when Crown hosted the Australian Poker Championships and players like Leo Boxell sat in the winner’s circle. By 2004, the Aussie Millions Main Event was drawing 133 players, and that number soared to new heights in 2008 with 780 entrants and a $7.8 million prize pool. It is also the home of some of the biggest buy-in tournaments in recent years. Crown is considered one of the top casinos in poker, and it is a must-visit for any poker fan or player.
Bring Your Charger for the Flight
Yes, even these long flights can be a reason to go to Melbourne. On the way to the Aussie Millions, it offers ample time for devising the proper poker strategy for making the most of the trip. And when you win big, that long flight home will be sweeter when you upgrade to first class.