Thu, Sep 1, 7:57am by Staff Writer
The largest poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, the ‘Aussie Millions’ Australian Poker Championship, will revert to its previous format as an independent event which is not connected with any wider circuits or tours.
The move to standalone status was made just days after PokerStars announced that its series of regional tours – which includes the European Poker Tour (EPT), the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), and the Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) – will be restructured to begin 2017. Most of the stops which comprised these tours will be maintained, but will now be played as either PokerStars Championship or PokerStars Festival series.
The Aussie Millions, which began as the Australian Poker Championships in 1998, has been affiliated with PokerStars’ APPT since 2014. Prior to 2014 the tournament series featured branding by online wagering platform Betfair.
As a full-fledged series, the Aussie Millions includes two dozen individual tournaments representing multiple poker disciplines, which are played out over the course of nearly three weeks.
The Main Event of the Aussie Millions is a AUD$10,600 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournament which attracts the best players on the planet, along with a long list of local grinders, and qualifiers who secured their seats through satellite events on PokerStars.
The Crown Casino in Melbourne has served as the host venue since the event’s inception. In a statement announcing the transition Joel Williams, who serves as Tournament Director for Crown Melbourne’s poker room, first paid tribute to the three-year relationship between the Aussie Millions and PokerStars’ APPT.
“On behalf of Crown Management and the Poker Team, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone from APPT including the management and operations teams, along with the poker community for their ongoing support.
All previous Satellite entry pathways are expected to remain active for the 2017 Aussie Millions. Land based satellites have already commenced in the Crown Poker Room.”
Williams also explained that the final APPT scheduled to be held at Crown Melbourne will still take place, while confirming that the 2017 Aussie Millions will be operated independently by the venue:
“Crown Melbourne can confirm that the 2016 Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Melbourne, set to take place on Thursday October 6, 2016, will be the final APPT event to be held in Melbourne. Crown Melbourne can also confirm that the 2017 Aussie Millions Poker Championship … will revert to a stand-alone event.”
The 20th annual Aussie Millions is scheduled to begin on January 11th, 2017 and will run through January 30th.
Last year’s winner of the Main Event was young pro Ari Engel, who won AUD$1.6 million for defeating a field of 732 players. In 2015 it was beloved local pro and Crown cash game regular Aristomenis ‘Manny’ Stavropoulos who claimed the championship, earning AUD$1.385 million.
The first Aussie Millions Main Event to award a six-figure prize to the winner occurred in 2002, and the first-prize payout has grown every year since. By 2005 the champion was guaranteed to earn AUD$1 million, and between 2009 and 2011 the top earner took home AUD$2 million.
Poker legend Phil Ivey also helped to put the Aussie Millions on global tournament circuit map, winning three of four AUD$250,000 buy-in High-Roller Challenges between 2012 and 2015.
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