APPT9 Aussie Millions Day 2: Best hands off the felt
As Day 2 of the Aussie Millions Main Event has the Crown Poker Room full with budding hopefuls, the long hours and pressure may be getting to some players. The team from Best Hands Shiatsu Massage are doing their best to relieve the stress, however, offering onsite in-chair massages all throughout the poker room.
Best Hands have been working at the Aussie Millions since its inception in 2003 and their service has become a popular attraction among the players. Owners and operators Michael and Stephanie are trained professionals who studied Tao Shiatsu with one of the healing art's foremost master practitioners.
Michael says it was actually 2006 Aussie Millions Champion Lee Nelson who gave him the idea to work the poker circuit.
"Lee Nelson was a client of mine in my clinic in Auckland and it was his suggestion that we come over and do the Aussie Millions. The rest was history."
Nelson is one of many poker pros to sing Best Hands' praises, calling them "Top professionals who understand not only relaxation techniques but also how to stimulate meridians to increase energy and alleviate stress."
Such is Michael's passion for Shiatsu that upon being asked for a quick interview he actually offered this one blogger a massage so I could experience it for myself.
With so many players in the poker room for the series, Michael explained that Best Hands can have up to eight fully trained staff on duty. Each of them offer to alleviate fatigue, improve concentration and release stiffness - all things that could give you an edge over your opponents at the poker table.
Poker tournaments can be both physically and mentally draining, with players often subject to long days and stressful situations. As Best Hands explain, "Shiatsu is a highly effective natural therapy that promotes peak functioning of body and mind."
UK-based poker professional Tony Bloom, even credits Best Hands with part of his success.
"My daily shiatsu massages were definitely part of a winning routine," Bloom claimed after winning the 2004 Aussie Millions Main Event.
And as a dealer here once described, Best Hands are "the pit crew of Formula 1 poker".
It's easy to see why Best Hands have become a staple of the Aussie Millions Poker Championship, appearing every year.
As they say themselves, "Let our hands help you play the best hands."
Brad Kain contributed to this article