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Aussie Millions was one of the world’s most prestigious live poker tournaments prior to the pandemic. Players travelled from around the globe to participate in the event, and many captured seven-figure scores during the series. Now it appears that the tournament is officially defunct.
According to a recent reply from Crown Poker, poker tournaments are no longer being held at the casino. This means the long-established series is now retired, provided the casino doesn’t change its mind in the future.
One event that has been noticeably absent on the global schedule of live poker tournaments is Aussie Millions. The event would traditionally help kick off the year for global tournaments. Crown Melbourne was the home for the extravaganza, and the event was one of the more popular events in the world, especially for high-stakes poker pros.
The event was last held in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic effectively canceled the 2021 version. A combination of pandemic fears and regulatory investigations stopped the event from running in 2022. The poker room officially started running 24-7 again in February of 2022. Since then, we have heard nothing regarding the series.
That changed on January 6th when Crown Poker replied to someone asking about tournament poker. Crown Poker responded with, “Poker tournaments will no longer be running at Crown. For other enquiries, we would suggest contacting the Crown Customer Enquiries team on 03 9292 8888.
Since tournament poker is no longer being held at Crown Melbourne, that effectively puts Aussie Millions to rest for the time being. Aussie Millions was the crown jewel of the poker room at Crown Melbourne.
On paper, Aussie Millions should have been a regional event that brought together the top poker talent in Australia. In reality, the event was a global affair that was one of the must-play events of any poker year. This is highlighted by the winners of various events, particularly the Main Event.
The Aussie Millions Main Event started boasting prizes of $1 million or more in 2005. Past winners included some of the game’s top names. Lee Nelson won the event in 2006, followed by Gus Hansen, taking down the title in 2007. Ari Engel won the 2016 title. Toby Lewis received one of the largest scores of his career in 2018 by winning the Main Event.
Bryn Kenney is #2 on the All-Time Money List and, for a time, was #1. In 2019, Kenney set the record for the most money won in live poker tournaments. He kicked off that record year by winning the Main Event and $1.2 million.
In the early 2000s, Aussie Millions was one of the only places to play high-stakes poker tournaments. For years, the $100,000 Challenge was the premier high-roller tournament in the world. The winners of the event were a who’s who of the poker world.
Some of the event’s winners included John Juanda, Erick Lindgren, Howard Lederer, Dan Smith, Nick Petrangelo, Fabian Quoss, and Kahle Burns. Smaller $25k and $50k tournaments also ran during the series. Those events were also well attended for a while, but that started to change when high-roller events became more commonplace in the poker world.
From 2011 to 2016, the $250,000 Challenge was the top high-roller tournament in the world. The event was commonly referred to as the Phil Ivey invitational, as he won the event in 2012, 2014, and 2015. Winners regularly won $2 million or more. However, the event was discontinued after 2016 due to dwindling attendance. Part of that was due to the rise of the Super High Roller Bowl in America.
Crown Poker has yet to make a statement about the future of Aussie Millions, but for now, we can assume that it is retired. The World Poker Tour currently holds the WPT Australia at the Star Gold Coast. Last year’s event was wildly popular, but it still does not have the prestige and history of Aussie Millions.
We would love to see Crown either revive the tournament or transfer the rights to someone else. The WPT would be a perfect vehicle to transfer the rights to. It could serve as the international crown jewel for the World Poker Tour and revive a poker series that was beloved by many in the poker community.