New hope for Aussie Millions return as Crown brings back poker tournaments

Adam Hampton
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Posted on: November 22, 2023 11:55 am EST

The Crown Casino Melbourne (pictured above) is bringing tournaments back to its poker room, as reported by local news site Poker Media Australia.

Starting with a weekly $250 tourney from November 29, the return of poker tournaments at the Crown would be welcome news for MTT players down under. The COVID-19 pandemic saw tournament poker shelved at the Victoria-based casino in early 2020, shortly after the conclusion of the Aussie Millions Poker Championship.

The casino then ran afoul of regulators, with a 2021 report highlighting a number of serious issues including money laundering and links to organized crime. It was placed under an independent special manager to oversee a program of reforms, which has been ongoing during the past two years.

‘Major tournament series’ = Aussie Millions?

While the possibility of regular poker tournaments at the Crown will be great news for locals, international players should also have cause for optimism.

The Aussie Millions, which had previously run every year since 1998, had been steadily growing in size over the past decade. It had become a destination poker trip for many top pros from the US and elsewhere, possibly in part due to its spot in the calendar; January is summer in the southern hemisphere, making Melbourne an even more attractive location for sun-seeking players across Europe and North America.

It wasn’t just the January sun that kept players coming back in sufficient numbers to regularly generate main event prize pools of $8+ million. The Crown Casino was renowned for its great facilities and excellent treatment of players. It now has plans to relocate its poker room up one level, for greater visibility and a further improved player experience.

As yet there is no concrete news on whether the much-missed Aussie Millions will return, although the Crown Melbourne is rumoured to be considering a ‘major tournament series’ in the near future. We’ll be keeping a keen eye on developments as they happen.

A happy hunting ground for elite players

Poker player Phil Ivey smiles at the poker table
Phil Ivey won back-to-back super high rollers at the Aussie Millions

Notable players who have enjoyed success at the Aussie Millions in recent years include:

  • Australian #1 Michael Addamo ($50k Challenge, 2020)
  • Dutch #1 Jorryt van Hoof ($25k PLO, 2020)
  • Polish #1 Dzmitry Urbanovich ($2.5k H.O.R.S.E., 2020)
  • World #1 Bryn Kenney ($10k Main Event, 2019)
  • English #1 Stephen Chidwick ($2.5k 8-Game, 2016)

Finally, one player who has become associated forever with the Aussie Millions is Phil Ivey, who won back-to-back super high rollers in 2014 and 2015.

We at PokerOrg are among many who would love to see this iconic poker festival make its comeback; we’ve reached out to the Crown Casino Melbourne for comment (with fingers crossed).

Phil Ivey image courtesy of the WPT