History Of The Aussie Millions Poker Championship

History Of The Aussie Milions Poker Championship

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Poker was introduced to Crown in June 1997 with the first major championship, then known as the Australasian Poker Championship, held in July 1998. The Main Event was a $1,000 buy in Limit Holdem tournament that attracted 74 entries with a total prize pool of $74,000.

In January 2001, the Crown Australian Poker Championship or the ‘Aussie Millions’ as it later became known, attracting 40 entrants with a $5,000 buy in for a prize pool of $200,000. January 2003 saw the event go truly international, attracting a field of 122 entrants and a $1.2m prize pool.

In 2005, the Aussie Millions reached new heights with a record 263 participants paying $10,000 each to enter the No Limit Holdem Main Event, generating a total prize pool of $2,630,000, the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. Over half the field travelled internationally from New Zealand, England, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, USA, Sweden, Holland, Canada, Italy and Lebanon.

In 2006 the Aussie Millions proved itself as one of the world’s top multi-million dollar Poker events when 418 players competed for a slice of the AUD$4,180,000 prize pool including some of the biggest names in the Poker world; WSOP Champion Joe Hachem, Phil Ivey, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Kathy Leibert, Scott Fischman, Chip Jett, David Williams, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Sexton, Tony G, Jesse Jones, Clonnie Gowan and many more.

The 2007 Aussie Millions again exceeded all expectations with main event player numbers increasing by over 70% year on year, attracting 747 entrants. The event was filmed by Fox Sports Net for the second consecutive year and with high profile pro player Gus Hansen winning the event and collecting the $1.5 million first prize, the 10 episode series attracted a wide audience.

In 2008 21-Year-Old Russian Young Gun Alexander Kostritsyn was Crowned Aussie Millions Champion where he took down one of the toughest NL Hold'em tournament players in the world in Erik Seidel for the victory. Seidel walked away in second place with a cool AUD$1 Million. Kostritsyn took home AUD$1.65 Million, the largest prize ever awarded in a live poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere. He outlasted a record field of 780 players who anted up the AUD$10,000 buy-in for the ‘Main Event’, creating an unprecedented prize pool of AUD$7.80 Million.

More recently, the 2009 Aussie Millions Main Event saw the title remain on it's own soil with the first Aussie ever to win the Aussie Millions - Stewart Scott. The Main Event was the culmination of 18 individual events, which generated more than AUD$13 million in total prize money.

Following on from the enormous ratings success of the US screening of the 2007 and 2008 Aussie Millions Main Event, Crown and Fox Sports Net (FSN) partnered up for another year that again saw the Aussie Millions filmed for broadcast internationally in 2009 with a reach of over 81 million homes. A coup for Australian Poker, Crown’s collaboration with FSN further consolidates the prestige, recognition and credibility of the Aussie Millions, particularly in America, the home of Texas Holdem, and a country that widely considers poker its national game.

In 2010 the Championship remained on home soil once a again with a local university student, Tyron Krost, taking out the top prize. The 23-year-old battled 746 players over five days to take the title home to Sydney, along with the $2 million AUD first-place prize.

In 2011 for the third consecutive year an Australian player captured the Aussie Millions Main Event title. A 67 year old grandfather from Melbourne, David Gorr dominated the final table on his way to the win and the $2,000,000 first place prize. David has been a long time player in the Crown Poker room and his is the first victory for a true local.

In 2012, an Australian again kept the Aussie Millions trophy in the country. 26 year old Melbourne banker Oliver Spiedel collected a whopping $1.6 million in prize money after winning the Main Event, overcoming a field of 659 entrants from all over the globe.

In 2013 29 year old Mervin 'The Cat' Chan of Malaysia emerged victorious as the winner of the 2013 Aussie Millions Main Event. Collecting a massive $1.6 million prize as well as a Chrysler 300C, trophy and stunning Aussie Millions diamond and rose gold bracelet by LK Boutique, the official Aussie Millions jewellery sponsor. Overcoming a field of 629 entrants, the win was the culmination of a mental and physical marathon.

In 2014 Ami Barer of Canada, emerged as the victorious winner of the 2014 Aussie Millions ‘Main Event' collecting AUD$1.6 million in prize money. Barer was presented with the widely-cherished and universally-revered custom made diamond-encrusted rose gold bracelet by LK Jewellery valued at AUD$40,000, representing the game's ultimate achievement, a trophy and all the glory for his efforts. The triumph was both a mental and physical marathon, after Barer overcame a field of 668 entrants from all over the globe, who participated in Crown's Aussie Millions ‘Main Event'.

The 2015 Aussie Millions Main Event has crowned a new champion with local hero Manny Stavropoulos claiming the most prestigious poker prize in the Asia-Pacific region. Stavropoulos overcame a field of 648 players from all over the globe. Crown congratulates Manny Stavropoulos on his tremendous accomplishment after playing superb poker over a prolonged period against a field that included many top poker professionals and hundreds of talented amateurs from Australia and around the globe.

Do you have what it takes to be the next Aussie Millions Champion?

(Credit: Aussie Millions)