Aussie Millions to Fly Solo, End Sponsor Partnership with PokerStars
The venerable Aussie Millions Poker Championship, the largest and longest-running poker tournament series in the southern hemisphere, has confirmed that it will be discontinuing its sponsor-partnership deal with PokerStars, effective with the 2017 edition of the series.
The move was implied after the Aussie Millions, formerly the premier entry on the Stars-sponsored Asia Pacific Poker Tour [APPT] series, was omitted from the list of major series included in the new and revamped PokerStars Championship and PokerStars Festival tours.
Last week, PokerStars unveiled its new Championship and Festival offerings, while also confirming the pending retirement of several Stars-sponsored tours. Those tours included the APPT, which was centered on the Aussie Millions, which draws thousands of the world’s best poker players to Melbourne’s Crown Casino each January.
PokerStars has also announced the upcoming discontinuation of the European Poker Tour [EPT], arguably the world’s second-most recognized poker series after the WSOP. Most existing EPT events will be rolled over into Stars’ new “Championship” tour. Also ending are the Stars-sponsored LAPT [Latin American Poker Tour] and several smaller tour offerings, many of which will become global “Festival” events instead.
Reasons for the Aussie Millions’ departure from the Stars-branded family events are likely closely tied to the fact that the new Stars tours are designed to promote the PokerStars name, first and foremost. The Aussie Millions, on the other hand, was always unusual among recent Stars-sponsored events in that it long preceded PokerStars’ own creation and rise to online prominence.
The Aussie Millions was founded back in 1998, was renamed in 2003 as the Crown Australia Poker Championships, and became the Aussie Millions in 2014. That was the same year that the series became a part of the APPT.
Crown Poker Tournament Director Joel Williams issued a brief statement confirming the Aussie Millions’s departure from any PokerStars-sponsored tours. That statement:
“Crown Melbourne can confirm that the 2016 Asia-Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Melbourne, set to take place on Thursday 6 October 2016, will be the final APPT event to be held in Melbourne.
“Crown Melbourne can also confirm that the 2017 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, set to take place from Wednesday 11 January to Monday 30 January 2017 will revert to a stand-alone event.
“On behalf of Crown Management and the Poker Team, we would like to extend our sincerest thanks to everyone from APPT including the management and operations teams, along with the poker community for their ongoing support.
“All previous Satellites entry pathways are expected to remain active for the 2017 Aussie Millions. Land based satellites have already commenced in the Crown Poker Room.”
As noted, October’s APPT Melbourne event will be the last series at Crown to be held in conjunction with PokerStars. The current deal between the two sides remains in effect through that event, and significant signage and promotional outlay has already been expended, prior to Stars’ recent announcement of its tour revamping plans.
The Crown Casino in Melbourne announced the dates for the 2017 Aussie Millions several months ago. This 20th edition of the long-running series will begin on January 11, 2017, and run through almost the entire rest of the month. The 2017 Aussie Millions main event will begin on Sunday, January 22nd, the first of three separate starting days. The main event wraps up on the following Sunday, January 29th.