This article first appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of World Gaming magazine.
Crown Entertainment Complex
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank,
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Poker room telephone +61 3 9292 5204
Casino and poker room open 24 hours
There’s no doubt poker in Macau and Asia has mounted a charge in the last few years, but Crown Melbourne and its long-established poker room still holds the title as the best place to play poker in the Asia Pacific region.
If you haven’t played poker at Crown Melbourne, you can’t really call yourself a serious poker player.
2013 promises to be yet another huge year for poker in Melbourne. Asia will see its first ever WSOP bracelet event later in the year, but January is always the time to concentrate on the Aussie Millions, an event whose history and size makes it the undisputed premier poker event on the Asian tournament circuit.
It’s going to be more of the same for the 2013 Aussie Millions. After several years perfecting the Aussie Millions tournament, Crown Melbourne deserves to enjoy their worldclass poker tournament for what it is. This is not to say they won’t continue to improve and polish their diamond, but just that the product is already fantastic.
After opening a temporary casino in 1994, Crown moved to its permanent Southbank location in 1997. On the edge of the city’s CBD on the exclusive south bank of the Yarra river, it is Melbourne’s only casino and is loved by locals and visitors alike. The Crown Entertainment Complex has become the centerpiece of the city’s dining and nightlife scene, and is the perfect place to host Australia’s premier poker tournament.
LET’S TALK POKER
The Crown Poker Room is the largest in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. Normally boasting 53 poker tables, Crown ramps it up to 73 tables during the Aussie Millions. The AU$10,000 buy-in Main Event continues to be one of the biggest and best annual poker tournaments anywhere in the world. Any poker pro would love to add an Aussie Millions victory to his and her résumé.
There is also a huge range of smaller tournaments and an extensive satellite series for players looking to win their way into the Main Event. The HORSE event has been replaced this year with an 8-Game tournament with an AU$5,000 buy-in. Expect a large field of contenders for this one.
For the super high rollers, the AU$100,000 and the AU$250,000 tournaments are back and may well increase in numbers, given the recent popularity of super high roller tournaments in the Asia-Pacific region. An added twist this year is that both these super high roller events will have unlimited re-entries for the first four hours of the tournament. You may think it’s crazy that players would re-enter with a buyin this huge, but there are players out there who will do it. We’ll be seeing plenty of massive paychecks this year at the Aussie Millions.
Crown has one of the largest poker rooms in the world and there will be plenty of cash games running non-stop during the Aussie Millions. Some of the best dealers and staff in the world will make sure your poker fix is well and truly taken care of.
From the very low limits all the way up to the nose bleed games played by the very rich or very talented, you can be sure to find a game that suits your bankroll.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
- Local: 2005 WSOP Main Event Champion Joe Hachem will lead the charge of the Aussies. Oliver Speidel will be trying to make it back-to-back Aussie Millions titles, and past local champions David Gore and Stuart Scott will be trying to repeat their performance. Brendon Ruby, Andrew Hinrichsen and Jackie Glazier are also on the list of local talent looking for titles.
- International: The Asian contingent will continue to grow, spearheaded by Macau’s king of poker Winfred Yu. Many Americans will once again head Down Under to soak up the fun and the poker, led by big names such as Negreanu, Ivey, Antonius, Hanson and Dwan. As usual, there’ll also be plenty of stars from Europe and the rest of the world.
The Crown Entertainment Complex has three incredible hotels.
- Crown Towers: The jewel in the “Crown”. Arguably Australia’s best hotel, it offers six-star opulence.
- Crown Metropol: The newest of the three, you will be amazed it is not the complex’s flagship hotel.
- Crown Promenade: Stylish and modern, this stunning hotel receives consistently good reviews.
CROWN ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX
Crown Melbourne may have the best selection of international dining options of any resort-style casino complex anywhere in the world. Nobu, Rockpool, Number 8, The Merrywell, Silks and Koko are just some of the dining options to choose from.
The experiences on offer include an array of bars and cafés, a cinema complex with Gold Class cinemas, the fitness center with a massive indoor pool, tennis courts, ten-pin bowling, and an upmarket food court. There’s scarcely anything Crown hasn’t thought of.
GAMING AT CROWN
If you enjoy a little bit of action away from the poker table you will be right at home at Crown. It features one of the largest gaming floors in the world where you will find everything from craps and pai gow to your favorites like blackjack, roulette and of course, baccarat. There are many different levels of gaming right up to the top-tier VIP room, the Mahogany Room. Make sure you get yourself a host who will take care of your every need, or at the very least join Crown’s player program, the Signature Club.
You may find that you never want to leave the Crown Complex as everything is there, right at the tips of your fingers. But it would be a waste to bypass some of the other fantastic things the Aussie summer has on offer.
- Food and café culture: Melbourne is considered by food connoisseurs as one of the best-kept secrets on the international food scene. Even WGM’s The Panda loves to venture Down Under to eat in Melbourne. This multicultural city will offer you an incredible range of culinary delights. The street-side café culture will have you thinking you somehow got teleported to Europe.
- Sport: Aussies love their sport and Melbourne is the undisputed sporting capital of the country, and arguably the world. The Aussie Millions is timed perfectly to coincide with a plethora of international standard sport. The Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament continues to thrill poker players who come over to play the Millions. International cricket, horse racing and golf are also on the menu during the Aussie summer.
- Around Melbourne: The Yarra Valley wineries are only an hour’s drive away and offer some of the best cooler climate shiraz and pinot noir labels on offer. The Mornington peninsular and Phillip Island can be combined in a single trip with great golf, wine and the chance to meet fairy penguins. For a lengthier journey away from the city, head south along the Great Ocean Road where you will find seaside towns, regional cuisine and fresh, salty air.
- Further afield: Sydney, Queensland and Outback Australia are short flights away. Why not take some time to enjoy the fantastic weather and all that Australia has to offer?
There is still time to make the journey to “Crown Town” and be part of the fun on and off the table. You could also be crowned the Aussie Millions 2013 Champion and become an overnight multimillionaire!
|Celina Lin on Crown Casino and the Aussie Millions|
In 2004, as I was passing the Crown Casino Poker room in Melbourne, a friend suggested I try out poker. Although I had no idea what I was doing, somehow the players on my table couldn’t figure me out and I won a lot of money.
I started to research and read as much as I could about poker, and within three weeks I managed to win US$10,000, and my bankroll started there. Three years later, I began practicing sit-and-goes and other online tournaments on Pokerstars.net. Now I feel very fortunate to be able to travel the world playing poker tournaments.
It was at Crown Casino where it all started for me, and the Aussie Millions is as big as it gets for poker in Australia. I will be doing my very best to come away with the title, and I look forward to seeing you all on the tables in 2013.