The Aussie Millions tournament has been held at the Crown Casino in Melbourne since 1998. In the beginning, it was a rather small tournament by the standards of major world event; the first ever tournament was held in July of 1998, and had only a $1,000 buy-in. Reflecting the tastes of that time, the tournament was also a Limit Hold’em tournament. That first event draw 74 players, and it was Australia’s own Alex Horowitz who won the first prize of $25,900.
The very next year, the tournament changed formats to Pot-Limit Hold’em, and the number of entries increased to 109. Another Australian player, Milo Nadalin, took home the top prize of $38,150.
Over the following years, the Australian Poker Championships would begin to more closely resemble the Aussie Millions as we know them today. In the year 2000, the tournament switched to the No-Limit Hold’em format that it has continued to feature to this day. The buy-in for the tournament began to increase as well, first to $1,500, then to $5,000, and finally to $10,000 in 2003. That was also the year of the first million-dollar prize pool, and the first time a foreign player won the event, as England’s Peter Costa took down the top prize. Since 2002, the Aussie Millions has been held each year in January, moving the tournament to the summer (likely with the hopes of attracting players from the United States and Europe, who are in the midst of winter at that time of the year).
The first million dollar prize as the Aussie Millions came in 2005, when Jamil Dia won $1 million for topping the field of 263 players. The biggest prize ever awarded came in 2009 – and was later matched in 2010 and 2011 – when the winner, Stewart Scott, won $2 million. The largest field ever, surprisingly, came in 2008, when 780 players participated. However, attendance has remained strong since then, with over 650 players entering the tournament every year since then.
The following players have won the Australian Poker Championships since its inception. Each player is listed with their first place prize in parenthesis.
As you might expect, Australian players have dominated this tournament since its inception. However, several players from other countries have broken through on occasion to win Australia’s poker championship. The number of winners by nation is shown below:
Since the beginning of the Aussie Millions, there have been a number of tournaments held along with the Main Event, with most of these events featuring lower buy-ins and/or different game formats so that more players have the chance to participate in the festival. The 2013 edition of the Aussie Millions featured no less than 26 different events, including pot-limit Omaha, a six-handed event, and mixed tournaments.
But the events which have attracted the most attention from poker fans are the high roller events involving some of the world’s most famous players. In 2006, the Aussie Millions began running a $100,000 No Limit Hold’em Challenge, which at the time was the highest buy-in poker tournament in the history of the game. In response to the proliferation of high-roller tournaments in following years, the Aussie Millions once again raised the bar by adding a $250,000 buy-in event in 2011. This tournament – known as the Super High Roller – has been won by Erik Seidel and Phil Ivey.