The Crown Poker Australian Championship is the official title of what is more casually, and affectionately known as the Aussie Millions. Launched in 1997 under the name of the Australasian Poker Championship, it is now the biggest and most prestigious Poker event held South of the equator.
The Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, is the home of the Aussie Millions. Players from all over the world are attracted to the luxury and class of the casino, as well as the excitement and kudos of the Poker being played. The Crown Casino has more than 40 restaurants and bars, a showroom and some of the best nightclubs in Melbourne. There are also 14 cinemas, a stylish bowling lounge and the most luxury boutiques that can be found, including Prada, Versace and Louis Vuitton.
In January 2001, the Aussie Millions had 40 entrants paying a $5000 buy in. The prize pool was $200,000. By January 2003, the numbers had increased to 122 entrants from across the world buying into a prize fund of $1.2 million. The event was won by Peter "the Poet" Costa, following 24 hours of high intensity playing. He said of the event: "For once in my life I am speechless. I've played in and won tournaments all over the world, but this one means a great deal; it is very special" and in this way, the Aussie Millions truly launched itself into the international poker world. By January 2005, there were 263 players, each buying in to the No Limit Texas Hold'em Poker event with $10,000, creating a record-breaking prize fund of $2,630,000, the largest ever for the Southern Hemisphere.
It should also be noted that the excitement of the event should not intimidate novices to poker tournaments either. The Crown Casino has a huge variety of poker events, including limit and pot limit games, so that every range of player bankroll is catered for.
The 2006 Event.
The Aussie Millions 2006 was held between 6th -19th January and this year had 418 players putting their antes on the Main Event. The prize fund was over $4million, proving that Aussie Millions is well worthy of its place on the international poker tournament circuit. And more than the financial growth and significance of the event, is the importance of the support given by some of the world's top class players, including the 2005 World Series of Poker Champion Joe Hachem, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Kathy Leibert, Scott Fischman, Chip Jett, Karina Jett, David Williams, Mel Judah, Marcel Luske, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Sexton, Tony G, Jesse Jones, Kristy Gazes, Kenna James, Clonnie Gowan and many others.
The winner of the first prize of the Main Event of No Limit Texas Hold'em was Lee "Final Table" Nelson from Auckland, NZ, who took home $1,295,800 and is well worth congratulating on his performance, especially as his winnings came 12 hours after his 63rd Birthday. Both final Players, Lee Nelson and 21-year-old Robert Neary were holding flushes in the final hand. There were 3 clubs on the table, but Nelson held a Jack and a Five, which out ranked Neary's Four and Two. On winning the event, Nelson said "What a way to spend your birthday! I'm really elated."