1:15pm: It’s an hour before the first day of the Aussie Millions Main Event as we arrive in the Crown Poker Room. There’s undoubtedly something different in the air. A feeling of excitement. Anticipation at fever pitch. It’s time to live up to the hype. The first ten days of the Aussie Millions Poker Championship suddenly start to pale into insignificance. This is the big dance.
1:30pm: The random replays of EPL soccer matches have been removed from the big screen in the Crown Poker Room, and replaced by a huge Aussie Millions logo. It illuminates across the nearby tables. Here’s hoping for an Aussie Millions video montage. That’ll get the blood pumping.
1:40pm: The queue at the registration desk is starting to increase with demand and the volume in the room lifts with the constant chatter. Some are looking to cash in their satellite tickets, others were smart enough to pre-purchase online, while some have rolled up with ten large in hand ready to roll. Media waiver documents are being handed out along the line. Now we can take their photo without being sued.
1:50pm: The queue now extends past our blogging desk. They slowly roll past us like a parade, and I get to catch up with old poker friends who only play poker once a year. The Aussie Millions brings everyone out of the woodwork. Unsurprisingly, I don’t spot any big name pros waiting in the queue.
2:00pm: We’re fifteen minutes until kick off and I spot a group of showgirls up on the main stage. What’s hype without showgirls? New Aussie Millions hostess Scherri-Lee Biggs is posing for pics. She’s a former Miss Australia. Fine choice. Local and international media start to gather around with cameras in hand. They’re playing with angles and lighting to make sure they get their perfect shot.
2:15pm: It’s game time as Crown’s Director of Poker Jim Preston officially welcomes everyone to the Aussie Millions. A video montage is shown (yes!) to remind everyone of why exactly we’re all here.
2:20pm: Special guest Luke Hodge is introduced to the crowd. For those unaware, Hodge is a champion Australian Rules footballer and the captain of the premiership winning team, the Hawthorn Hawks. Another video package is presented showcasing highlights of Hodge in action on the field.
2:25pm: With the formalities out of the way, the honour was finally given to Hodge for the official “Shuffle up and Deal!” It’s game time! Most tables are starting short-handed with a massive line still at the registration desk. 2012 Aussie Millions champ Oliver Speidel is spotted in line.
2:30pm: The fast-talking Oliver Gill just sat down on the table adjacent to our blogging desk. “Capitao” starts giving live commentary of every hand away in the third person. Oh God.
2:31pm: I head up to my hotel room to get headphones.
Heath “TassieDevil” Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.