It’s now official. The Aussie Millions series of tournaments is taking the lead as the favorite event among poker enthusiasts. This year’s Aussie Millions went out with a bang with a total of 7,746 entries in all of the tournaments. An all-time high of 800 entrants descended on Melbourne to participate in the Main Event, which has become the most prestigious series of tournaments in the southern hemisphere.
Over $16 million in prize money was handed out to winners and to those that made it to the cash. Twenty six championship events were held, and saw action from some of the most visible players in the history of the game. Feder Holz, San Greenwood, Martin Jacobson, Kristen Bicknell, and Matt Salsberg were just a few of the big names that went after titles during the series.
The biggest draw took place with the Aussie Millions Main Event. The tournament has been held at the Crown Casino since 1998 when it only cost $1,000 for the buy-in and saw 74 players taking to the felt for the chance to win a piece of the prize pool. Alex Horowitz won that debut, pocketing around $20,000.
Fast forward to 2018. Twenty years later, the prize pool sat at $6.2 million, with the winner taking home a purse worth almost $1.4 million. It would become the largest prize pool in the history of the series, and first place would eventually go to Toby Lewis. The 28-year-old British player won $1.17 million and a custom diamond-laced gold bracelet.
Overnight, Lewis jumped up in the ranks of all-time winners in the UK. He is now ranked in 8th place behind Chris Moorman, and has earned over $4.9 million in live action. His previous highest win was a second-place finish at the WSOP $1,675 NLHE tournament in Las Vegas in March of last year, where he earned $134,145.
The Aussie Millions tournament has become known not only for the names it attracts, but for the pricey buy-in tournaments it hosts. Event 24 had a hefty buy-in of $100,000, but that didn’t stop 19 players from breaking out the wallets. Feder Holz, Mustapha Kanit, and Jack Salter were among those willing to risk a significant portion of their banks at a shot of winning part of the $1.44-million pool. In the end it was Michael Lim who took first place and the $742,000 top prize.
The success of the series came from dedication and prudent planning. Crown Casino began working on this year’s tournaments back in February of last year, and ensured that player feedback was addressed to make things run smoothly. They also added a number of satellite tournaments and improvements to create what became one of the richest tournaments in the history of poker. Next year’s Aussie Millions series will take place January 15 through February 4.