Live poker has been greatly affected this year, with the risks tied to the novel coronavirus remaining a serious concern for public health. Considering the limitations, Australia has seen its share of live games making a gradual comeback, offering cash games to players eager to enjoy some poker action. However, local enthusiasts will have to wait a bit more before live events see a return in the gaming scene.
While many were hopeful for an exciting year ahead, news of 2021 major poker events being placed on hold until further notice brought a slight yet expected disappointment to the Australian market. The annual Aussie Millions which has been a popular key event since 1998, has been revealed to be postponed indefinitely given the circumstances. Reported on its official website, Crown likewise announced all other poker events for the following year to be placed on hold due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
In its statement, the company highlighted their concern to keep the health and safety of the community, a number one priority. Crown additionally assured its patrons that they are closely following government mandates and expert health advice, adapting its response to the developing situation.
“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.”
Earlier this year, Crown was forced to cancel the 2020 Crown Poker Championship, another staple event in the country’s poker calendar. Originally scheduled to run last April, this unfortunate news eventually led all other live events for the rest of the year to take a step back. With the uncertainty of the pandemic still at bay, many can sadly expect 2021 to not be widely different from the trend we have seen this 2020.
Australia’s largest poker festival
The Aussie Millions is a major poker series traditionally held in the month of January every year, consistently drawing in its fair share of international players to compete for its large prize pools. Starting off as a 74-entry tournament when it first debuted in 1998, the popular event has seen tremendous growth, garnering a total of 800 entries for this year’s Main Event alone.
Latest champions in recent years, Vincent Wan, Bryn Kenney and Toby Lewis each received a payout well over AU$1 million for their victories. Prize pools for its Main Events reach the AU$8 million (~US$5.8 million) mark, making the festival a worthwhile experience for many travelers as well as skilled pros. Aside from its AU$10,600 Main Event, the series also offers high buy-in events such as the AU$50k and AU$100k challenges wherein players Michael Addamo and Kahle Burns claimed seven-figure prizes this year for their impressive triumph.
While numerous live poker events have transitioned to the online gaming scene, Australia will have to completely miss out on the increasing online traffic in line with its government regulations. The Interactive Gambling Act originally introduced in 2001, prohibits real money online poker to be offered or promoted within the country, adding the Interactive Gambling Amendment Bill in 2017 which forced offshore operators to leave the Australian market. Left with limited options, Australian players will just have to practice patience and wait for further updates when the situation ultimately improves for the better.