Frequent Flyer Miles. Millions of them. Maybe billions.
I would venture a guess that there could be more international players in the Day 1c field than combined internationals from Day 1a and 1b.
That’s a lot of time spent on a plane for many of these players. Being an Aussie and a travelling poker blogger, I’m the first to admit that “Down Under” didn’t get the nick name for no reason. It’s far away… From everything.
That doesn’t stop the big names of poker from jumping on a plane for 12, 15, 20 hours or more. The Aussie Millions is certainly alluring enough to endure cramped seats, screaming babies, tiny entertainment screens and lukewarm airplane food.
Though if the name is “big” enough, perhaps that’s not their experience at all. Maybe they have private flight escorts feeding them grapes in their private sleeping pods. That’s what happens in first class, right? Blogging is not quite as lucrative as winning millions at the poker table.
One player who I’m going to go out on a limb and say he doesn’t travel “cattle” class is Phil Ivey. He’s a seasoned pro, not only in poker, but when it comes to travelling to Australia. Ivey was in Australia twice in 2013 alone. He went deep in the Aussie Millions Main Event, finishing in 30th place and then returned for the WSOP APAC where he won his ninth gold bracelet. He even won the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge in 2012.
There was chatter throughout the last few days that Ivey wasn’t going to be here. Considering he hasn’t missed an Aussie Millions for a long time, this was surprising. The rumours only grew stronger when Ivey didn’t play in the $25K Challenge with the rest of his high roller poker friends.
However, we can tell you, Ivey has taken a seat on Day 1c of the Main Event.
Though, he wasn’t here for long. But no, he didn’t bust.
We literally watched Ivey walk from the registration booth to his seat, stopping for just a few moments to schmooze with some of the higher ups here in the Crown Poker Room. He sat down for maybe a couple of hands, then Patrik Antonius arrived and they left together. What to do? Maybe to chat about poker or discuss the fact that they are two of the biggest names in the history of the game. More likely? Probably getting a coffee or something to eat.
So if Ivey is the big name pro who epitomizes the kind of player who would travel from far away to come to Australia, then Viktor Blom is the exact opposite.
Along with Ivey, almost every big name player you can think of has come to Australia for the Aussie Millions, but we are pretty sure Blom is the exception.
Until 2014 that is.
Blom arrived this morning and is currently seated not far from the rail and while the Swede doesn’t garner the attention of an Ivey from casual poker fans, his presence in the Crown Poker Room is certainly welcomed. Blom has been true to his reputation as a wild player so far as his stack has fallen from 30,000 to just over 12,000. Plenty of time to run it up though!
Ivey and Blom are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to international names in the field. Randy Lew, Celina Lin, Raymond Wu, Isaac Haxton, Angel Guillen, Barry Greenstein, Bryan Huang, Vivian Im and Jason Mercier are just some of the Team PokerStars Pros at the tables.
Add in other players from faraway such as Martin Finger, Joe Kuether, Sorel Mizzi, Dan Smith, Dan Shak, John Juanda, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Fabian Quoss, Benny Spindler, Ole Schemion, Justin Bonomo and Patrik Antonius and the local Australian players best be on their toes because it is not going to be easy to keep the Aussie Millions Main Event title on home soil.