AUSSIE MILLIONS: Opening Event promises another huge field

One of the most anticipated and discussed editions of the Aussie Millions commences tomorrow (Thursday, January 17) at Crown Melbourne.

The question on everyone’s lips – will the player numbers for the 2013 Aussie Millions be impacted by WSOP APAC, which will also be held at Crown Melbourne just two months later (April 4-15).

Crown officials are confident that players will again be out in force for the 11th edition of one of the world’s most popular tournament series – after all, who would want to make one trip to Australia when you can make two in a matter of weeks!

The 2013 Aussie Millions will again kick-off with the ever-popular $1100 Opening Event No Limit Hold’em freeze out tournament. Due to the large field of players (more than 1000 in recent years), day one of the Opening Event is divided into three separate starting days (flight one on Thursday, January 17, flight two on Friday, January 18 and flight three on Saturday, January 19).

Players who make it through the day one will reconvene on Sunday, January 20 and play down until the first 2013 Aussie Millions Championship Ring is awarded.

Flights two and three of the Opening Event are both played under a Repechage format, allowing players eliminated from any of the day one flights are able to re-enter the event via subsequent day one flights, along with new players.

Such is the size of the field and prizepool in this tournament that it would merit main event status on most tournament schedules.
The decision was taken for the 2007 Aussie Millions to double the Opening Event buy-in from $550 to $1100, and players voted with their feet and wallets.

It was South Australia’s Gabriel Xiourouppa who conquered the massive field of 515 players to pocket a career high $139,873 for his victory over Sydney’s Zhi Hong Ma.

The international appeal of the Aussie Millions was underlined 12 months later with many players jetting into Melbourne to contest the entire schedule. Then-emerging superstar Yevgeniy Timoshenko placed sixth in the Opening Event while local Vincent Wan defeated Canada’s Mike timex McDonald to pocket more than AUD $140,000.

The overseas contingent broke through in 2009 with Christian Heich conquering a field of 731 players, winning AUD $150,000. The German dominated the final table but trailled Melbourne’s own Steve “The Big Show” Topakas when the pair went heads-up for the title. However, Heich wouldn’t be denied and defeated Topakas for the title.

In 2010, Crown elected to lend its ultra-popular repechage format to the Opening Event, which helped the prizepool bust through the $1 million mark with players eliminated in early flights allowed to re-enter on one of the other day one flights.

The major beneficiary of this innovation, which ensured a staggering field of 1143 players, was Matthew Ephraums, who overcame the largest-ever Australian casino poker tournament field and a final table dominated by locals to defeat Brendan Edmonds in a short heads-up battle to claim the first prize of $200,000.

It was a similar story in 2011 with an even 1000 buy-ins generating another AUD $1 million prizepool for the top local and international pros to chase. It was unsung 19-year-old Martin Drewe from Newcastle who carried his day one chip lead all the way to victory after a 19-hour final day.

The final table line-up also featured former NBL basketballer Nik Lackovic, Gabriel Xiorouppa (who cashed for the third time in this event after winning it in 2007) and 2008 November Niner Scott Montgomery of Canada.

After winning the 2010 Melbourne Poker Champs Main Event at Crown 18 months earlier, Brendon Rubie (pictured) celebrated his first Aussie Millions title after a tough scrap against final table chip leader Scott Wilson to claim the 2012 Opening Event title.

Wilson’s final stand came on a flop of 10s-4d-Qs holding 4c-3c, but Rubie showed Qc-Jd for top pair. For the second year in-a-row, the title was claimed by a young New South Welshman, with Rubie taking home an even $200,000.

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