|Paul Khoury & Clinton Grybas|
Crown Australian Celebrity Poker Challenge aka Aussie Millions is a series of major Australian poker tournaments like the American World Series of Poker.
Poker at Crown was introduced in June 1997, with the first major championship held shortly after in July 1998. The Main Event was a $1,000 buy in Limit Holdem tournament that attracted 74 entries with a $74,000 prize pool. The Crown Australian Poker Championship, or the ‘Aussie Millions’ as it became known, moved to January in 2001, attracting 40 entrants with a $5,000 buy in for a prize pool of $200,000. January 2003 saw the event go international, attracting a field of 122 entrants and a $1,200,000 prize pool. In January 2005, the Aussie Millions continued to grow with 263 participants paying $10,000 each to enter the No Limit Hold'em Main Event, generating the biggest prize pool ever in the Southern Hemisphere of $2,630,000. Over half the field was from overseas including players from New Zealand, England, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, the USA, Sweden, the Netherlands, Canada, Italy and Lebanon. In 2006, 418 players competed for a share of the $4,180,000 prize pool, including some of the biggest names in the Poker world such as WSOP Champion Joe Hachem, along with Phil Ivey, John Juanda and Daniel Negreanu. The 2007 championship commenced on Sunday 14 January 2007 with the final table held on Friday 19 January 2007. The buy-in was $10,500 ($10,000+$500). A record 747 players entered, which generated a prize pool of $7,470,000. The top 80 players were "in the money" and received between $15,000 and $1,500,000 each.
The 2008 championship concluded on Sunday 20 January 2008 with the winner being the 21 year old Russian Alexander Kostritsyn. The buy-in was $10,500 ($10,000+$500). A record 780 players entered, which generated a prize pool of $7,800,000. The top 80 players were "in the money" and received between $15,000 and $1,650,000 each. The 2009 event will feature a total of 15 tournaments. The Main Event will have a guaranteed $2 million first prize. It will also feature ten players taking part in the first Million Dollar Poker Cash Game, the largest poker game of its kind anywhere in the world. Ten players will be required to stake a minimum of $1 million, though it is expected that some players will bring more to the table. The Aussie Millions is now regarded as the largest poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere and the sixth-largest internationally (by prizepool). It is expected that 800 players will take to the felt for the Main Event, with Fox Sports Net broadcasting the tournament to more than 100 million homes worldwide.