Fri, Jan 6, 10:02am by Staff Writer
With the Aussie Millions poker tournament series set to return on Wednesday, January 11 at Crown Casino in Melbourne, the event’s organisers are making headlines with a pair of prominent announcements.
Joel Williams, who has served as Crown Melbourne’s poker room Tournament Director since 2014, spoke with PokerNews to outline his vision for the 2017 edition of Australia’s premiere poker event.
Over the course of the discussion, Williams repeatedly pointed to his poker room’s commitment to running satellites – or smaller events before the main series starts which award seats into higher buy-in tournaments – around the clock to ensure that the $10,600 Aussie Millions Main Event exceeds last year’s impressive turnout. In 2016, the Main Event attracted 732 entries, the most since 2010 – a feat Williams attributed to the satellite system.
According to Williams, satellites generated 312 seats to the prestigious Main Event, enabling recreational players to rub elbows with Australian poker legends like 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion Joe Hachem at a drastic discount. Williams stated that Crown Melbourne’s local satellite program has increased participation by more than 100 percent over last year’s figures, while a pair of Warm-Up Weeks have already secured 25 seats for satellite winners.
Williams pointed to the Aussie Millions, which has been held continuously as the Australian Poker Championships since 1998, as offering players from around the world an unbeatable combination of setting and schedule:
“I think we’ve stamped ourselves as a ‘must attend’ stop on the global poker calendar. From the high roller events to the Opening Event that offers a $1 million prize pool guarantee through to a full complement of poker disciplines right across the board, we absolutely endeavor to offer something for everyone.”
Asked about the absence of PokerStars as chief sponsor, a role the worldwide online poker leader has served in since from 2014, Williams reminded readers that the Aussie Millions thrived well before PokerStars was ever launched:
“All good things come to an end! We were really grateful for the time with PokerStars and feel that both benefited from the experience. It’s important to remember however that Aussie Millions has grown organically over a number of years prior to the Stars deal and as such we’re excited to begin a new journey starting in 2017.”
One day after Williams’ sit-down with PokerNews, the Aussie Millions formally announced that poker pro and budding commentator Jason Somerville would reprise his role as host and broadcaster for the Main Event live stream.
Last year Somerville brought his experience as a leading streamer on the Twitch platform to the Aussie Millions stage, resulting in the medium’s most popular poker event of the year.
Somerville released a statement announcing his return:
“I’m honored and thrilled to be partnering with Crown Melbourne to showcase the 2017 Aussie Millions once again on Twitch.”
“The Aussie Millions is one of the most premiere and prestigious poker tournaments on the planet and I’m excited to present the action once again to fans around the globe. Last year’s broadcast was the most-watched live poker Twitch event of the year and I’m certain this year’s shows will be even better.”
Williams also commented on the broadcasting deal:
“I’m absolutely delighted to again partner with Jason Somerville to live stream key moments from the 2017 Aussie Millions. Last year confirmed Jason’s overall appeal and immense talent and I feel confident that this year’s production will be even more enjoyable and relevant to the poker-viewing community.”
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