It has been the case for much of 2020 and it seems that it is going to carry over to 2021 also. Officials at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia, have decided that they will postpone one of the venerable stops on the international tournament poker circuit, the Aussie Millions. This postponement is an indefinite one, with Crown officials indicating the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic will dictate when and if the 2021 Aussie Millions event will occur.
Brief Statement Ends Immediate Hopes for Tournament
On their welcome page at their website, the Crown Casino Melbourne simply states the situation:
“Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, Crown Melbourne wishes to advise that the scheduling of the 2021 Aussie Millions poker tournament and other poker events due to take place in 2021 will be placed on hold until further notice.”
“The health and safety of our community – including our employees, guests and players – is Crown Melbourne’s number one priority. As the COVID-19 situation evolves, so too will Crown’s response, ensuring we remain in line with government mandates and expert health advice.”
“Crown will continue to monitor and review the situation, working closely with the Victorian Government and health authorities to determine if and when such events can be safely revisited. We look forward to scheduling these long-standing annual events when it is deemed safe for us to do so.”
Aussie Millions One of Tournament Poker’s Longest Running Events
The Aussie Millions is one of the tournaments that has become synonymous with worldwide tournament poker success. Beginning back in 1998 as the Australasian Poker Champion, the Aussie Millions moved from its mid-winter (remember, this is in Australia – summer in the Northern Hemisphere is winter in the Southern) to a January date, becoming one of the first tournament poker events of the calendar year. In 2002, the buy-in increased to $5000 from its $1500 original fee and it would work its way up to a $10,000 event over time.
Along with a tournament that was ended in 2019 in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the Aussie Millions was an event that provided players with a chance to escape their winter doldrums for a chance to play for millions of dollars in a picturesque locale. The tournament consistently proved to be a “destination” event for poker players, with the 2019 Aussie Millions Poker Championship drawing in am 822 buy-in field that was won by Bryn Kenney of the U. S. for $1,272,598 (AUS). The 2020 event was held before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the world, with an 820-entry field seeing Vincent Wan defeat Ngoc Tai Hoang for the championship at a table that featured Poker Hall of Famer Erik Seidel.
How Much Longer Will COVID-19 Have an Effect?
It is unknown how much longer the COVID-19 pandemic will last. Many nations around the world had begun to reopen during the summer months, only to see a reemergence of the virus and the increase in infections, hospitalizations and deaths. This has led to the postponement or outright cancelation of some events.
During the 2020 online WSOP, the players who won bracelets were seeing a “prize package” withheld from their winnings so they could play in the 2020 World Series of Poker Europe at King’s Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The only problem with that is the King’s Casino is currently one of the casinos that is shut down – it is expected to remain closed at least through November 20, although it is being touted by Caesars Entertainment and WSOP officials as being the spot where the live segment of a 2020 hybrid WSOP Championship Event will be played in December.
There are casinos that have been having smaller multi-table tournaments and they have been relatively successful. By “smaller,” though, we are talking about 80-100 players in a limited seating arena. Currently there are some larger scale events attempting to be played out, but their success isn’t known yet. What is known is that COVID-19 is continuing to rear its head and it is having a continued impact on the poker world and on much of “normal” life as well, not just the 2021 Aussie Millions.