The poker fever has arrived in Australia as part of the legendary card game’s international invasion. Poker owes its immense growth in popularity to two sources: television and of course, the Internet. Gamers are inspired by the endless stream of “odd characters” on televised poker tournaments and are driven to feel the excitement themselves online. What can be better than sitting in your own home and playing poker against players from around the world? Well, the answer is probably playing in an exclusive casino tournament and speaking of such, there a number of prestigious tournaments in Australia.
Ever since 1997, Melbourne’s famous Crown Casino hosts the highest paying tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, the Aussie Millions which is held every January. From a very modest beginning, the tournament recently handed a guaranteed first place prize of AU$2M in a televised tournament which featured 681 players. The list included top international players, internet qualifiers and top tournament players. The Asia Pacific Poker Tour is another prestigious tournament series, which in 2009 will visit Macau, Seoul, Auckland, Manila and Sydney. In the 2008 six-day Grand Final event in Sydney, Aussie Martin Rowe took home a cool AU$1M in a $6,300 buy-in event.
Australian poker has been on the rise and Aussies are among the world’s elite players. Joe Hachem won the Main Event at the 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP) held annually in Las Vegas, beating 5,618 players from around the world and taking home a cash prize of US$7.5M, a record for that time. Mel Judah is another Aussie legend, better known as “The Silver Fox”. Judah has won two WSOP bracelets and won the Legends of Poker title on the World Poker Tour in 2003. His poker earnings of $3M, make him one of the highest grossing Aussie players of all time.