APPT9 Aussie Millions: Taking it to the next level
If last year was about new beginnings, this year is about greater heights.
After all, the marriage between two of the region's biggest brands - the Asia Pacific Poker Tour and the Aussie Millions - is no longer in the 'honeymoon' stage of its relationship.
This is year two and so the complete anticipation and excitement of "what could this relationship mean for poker in Australia" has morphed into something else.
Something, perhaps, even more meaningful.
Now it's all about sustaining the relationship and each brand helping the other be the best they can be, while also helping to invigorate and elevate the Australian and Asia-Pacific poker communities.
An example of this elevation has already been seen in the record-breaking $25,000 Challenge which was won by Australia's Alex Trevallion on the eve of the APPT Aussie Millions Main Event.
Before we tell you about the huge field, it's important to note that the first iteration of this tournament in 2012 featured 30 entrants.
It was a commendable field size at the time and nobody could fault Crown Poker, which is after all, known as the first-ever casino in history to host $100,000 and $250,000 high roller events.
In 2014, however, when the APPT partnered with the Aussie Millions for the first time there was a huge increase in the field size as there were 65 entrants.
So the equation at this point was:
Aussie Millions + APPT = >115% increase in $25,000 Challenge numbers.
And now, here in 2015, in the second year of the Aussie Millions and APPT partnership, an astonishing 104 entrants has seen the $25,000 Challenge soar to new heights.
That's another 60% increase year-on-year and an overall increase of almost 250% in the two years since the APPT and the Aussie Millions got together and started what is hopefully a long and continually fruitful marriage.
So, if the $25,000 Challenge numbers at this year's Aussie Millions are anything to go by, then we are in for a massive ten days of poker.
The question is: Will the Aussie Millions Main event increase its number for the second year in a row after hosting 668 players in 2014?
APPT President Danny McDonagh is the man to ask.
"There's definitely a heightened interest in the Aussie Millions as part of the APPT this year and I was super impressed with the field size in the $25K, so it's a great start," McDonagh told us prior to the Main Event kicking off.
"The partnership with the Aussie Millions was only announced two months before the 2014 Aussie Millions, so this time around there has been a full year lead up and there is just a lot more awareness of the event and that's especially true in Asia, which is exciting."
"It's a hard one to put an exact number on at this point, but we would obviously be very happy with an increase year on year and look forward to working with Crown once again in what is simply one of the best poker room setups in the world."
Only time will tell, but we do know that regardless there will be hundreds of players hitting the felt over three Day 1 flights and all will be hoping to join reigning champ Ami Barer as the next Aussie Millions victor.
The best place to follow all the action and to find out who that player will be is right here at the PokerStarsBlog. As usual we will have full live updates, feature stories and interviews all week long.