2017 Aussie Millions is the Most Successful Ever

February 2, 2017

Shurane-Vijayaram-Aussie-MillionsThe 2017 Aussie Millions is officially in the books, and it turned out to be the most-successful year in the event’s history.

Lasting from January 11th to 30th at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, the 26-tournament schedule drew 7,049 total players – the most in Aussie Millions’ history. This was 11% higher than the 6,370 players who turned out in 2016, and 28% more than 2015’s attendance.

Even the A$10,000 Main Event fared well, despite having no online qualifiers after breaking ties with PokerStars. The 2017 Aussie Millions Main Event drew 725 players, down just a bit from the 732 who played last year.

There was every reason to believe that the 2017 Aussie Millions wouldn’t be as successful as years past. Not only did the Aussie Millions get removed from PokerStars’ Asia Pacific Poker Tour, but Crown also had to cancel the A$250,000 Challenge due to low participation from recreational players.

Nevertheless, the Crown Melbourne counteracted the negative impact by hosting live qualifiers.

“So we added in two highly successful warm-up weeks as early as June last year,” said Crown Melbourne Tournament Director Joel Williams, “and this ensured that the awareness and excitement of the 2017 Aussie Millions was building within the poker community both locally and internationally, and gave everyone as much opportunity as possible to be part of this great event.”

One highlight from this year’s event included Taiwan’s James Chen winning the Event #2: $2,500 H.O.R.S.E. (A$39,700) and Event #9: $25k NLHE Challenge (A$861,840).

An even bigger highlight was amateur poker player and Australia’s own Shurane Vijayaram winning the Main Event for A$1.6 million. What makes this amazing is that Vijayaram qualified through a $130 live satellite and worked his way up to a massive fortune.

Given the success of the 2017 Aussie Millions, the event looks poised for a bright future, even without a lucrative online poker sponsorship.

Former Poker Pro Vanessa Rousso Releases “Kiss Face” Song

January 26, 2017

vanessa-selbst-djUp until 5 years ago, Vanessa Rousso was a regular on the poker tournament circuit and sponsored by PokerStars. But over the last few years, she’s been pursuing her passion of being a DJ and making dance music. Now, Rousso will release her first single – “Kiss Face” – on February 5th.

Kiss Face was put together with Melissa Ouellet, Rousso’s long-term partner and mentor. Ouellet has had a long and successful career in the music business, making her a great person to learn from. Here’s a look at the official tweet from Oullet’s Twitter account announcing the song:

“Lookout @N1TEL1TE is about to drop our first OFFICIAL release ‘Kiss Face’ on @VanessaRousso’s bday Feb 5th!#Music”

Rousso spoke about her single further by saying that it was supposed to be a tune playing in the background of English singer-songwriter Adele’s song “Hello.” But she and Ouellet liked the track so much that they decided to use it as a standalone song.

As for Rousso’s background in this space, she studied at the Berklee College of Music and has been interested in this type of career for years. Furthermore, Rousso likes the vibe that she gets from a music career better than simply winning money off other poker players.

“The thing about music is you’re actually connecting with people and making them feel positive emotions in a very different way from the way I interact with people at the poker table,” she explained, “and it was kind of like the missing link for me. It was like your soul kind of like has the need to connect with other people.”

For her poker career, Rousso has won over $3.5 million since starting out in 2005. She quit playing a heavy schedule in 2011 to focus on other things like her music career. But she’s continued to min-cash in various tourneys, including the 2016 WSOP Colossus II.

Online Star Dale Philip Adjusting to Post Poker Boom

January 16, 2017

Dale Phillips FTP main event Sat., day2 Galway Aug 2013Dale ‘Daleroxxu’ Philip, one of the better-known online poker grinders, had a sick life that saw him travel the world and make upwards of £10,000 per month. Unfortunately, the poker boom is long gone, and Philip is finding life afterward to be difficult.

Previously making as much as £10,000 a month or more, the Edinburgh, Scotland native is now earning just £2,000.

So what’s changed?

According to what he told the Independent, Philip says that a combination of more regulated online poker environments and better players has made his job more difficult.

“The online poker boom is well and truly over,” he explained. “There’s now far fewer players playing online and the ones that are there have a much higher level of ability than in the past, so they’re tougher to beat.”

It also doesn’t help matters that PokerStars — the world’s largest poker site — slashed rewards for high-volume players.

This has cut down on a lifestyle that used to see Philip regularly travel to countries all over the world. He especially enjoyed Thailand, which he used as a home base for a while.

In these days, he wasn’t worried about money, but rather finding a good internet connection that made sure his online poker games didn’t get interrupted.

“Hotels were the worst,” said Philip. “In the evenings the internet would slow down because so many people were using it at once. Shockingly, I mainly had internet problems in rich countries like Australia and Spain, but amazing connections in Vietnam and Cambodia.”

Now, with regulation increasing along with the competition, Philip is back in Edinburgh trying to figure out his next move. He was an IT professional before poker, but he’s not so keen on going back.

“It would be hard for me to adjust to a normal life after the way I’ve been living for the last six years,” Philip said. “I feel physically ill just at the thought of waking up at 7am each day, putting on a suit and spending most of the day sitting in an office.”

It’s clear that Philip can still make money from poker. But as for whether he can still travel like he wants to, that’s where the decision becomes more muddled.

Jamie Gold, Michael Phelps Hosting Poker After Party

January 14, 2017

jamie-gold-michael-phelpsVoted the top Super Bowl party by ESPN Magazine last year, the “Big Game Big Give” fundraiser is back again in Houston, Texas. And one note of interest to poker players is that 2006 WSOP Main Event champ Jamie Gold and 23-time gold medalist Michael Phelps will co-host a poker after party.

Dubbed the VIP Celebrity Poker After Party, this event will charge a $2,000 buy-in to enter the tournament. Only the first 160 players to buy into the event will receive a seat.

Awards include autographed, custom BBO poker tables and chips for the top 20 players, and coaching from Jamie Gold, who’ll reveal the “Million Dollar Secrets of the Pros.”

The jury is out on what secrets Gold has beyond his miracle run through the 2006 Main Event, where he collected $12 million. But the charity organizers are convinced that he knows something.

Truth be told, Phelps might even better than Gold at this point. After all, the 23-time gold medalist frequently plays poker, even competing against pro friends like Jeff Gross and Chad Power.

But Gold is also being promoted as the “Poker Philanthropist” for raising over $400 million worldwide and hosting or helping 254 organizations.

TV and movie star James Brolin will host the Big Game Big Give event, which will benefit a number of organizations, including Lemonade Day, the International Rescue Committee, the Epidermolysis Bullosa Medical Research Foundation, The Giving Back Fund. Previous hosts have included Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay, Hillary Swank, Alec Baldwin, Joe Montana, and Jay Leno.

The event is billed as one that “brings together philanthropists, celebrities, sports legends and world leaders.”

Given the stars involved, and Phelps as his co-host, Gold seems to be in good company here.

Gus Hansen, David Oppenheim Poker Fight – Doyle Spills Beans

January 6, 2017

Earlier this week, Doyle Brunson revealed that tensions were running high inside Bobby’s Room. He explained that one player threw $150k worth of chips because they were so angry:

Obviously this tweet doesn’t tell us much about what happened. But Pokernyhederne put some context behind this by discussing the event. It turns out that Gus Hansen and David Oppenheim were the two heated players.

Hansen also gave some insight into the matter through a December 27 Facebook post:

“Another update from the ins and outs of highstakes poker in Bobby’s room – tensions got high, voices got loud and chips literally went flying when David Oppenheim and yours truly Gus Hansen got into a serious argument – no punches were thrown – but I think it is safe to say that both of us thought about pulling the trigger!”

The only things we don’t know about this ordeal is what sparked the argument, and who threw $150k worth of chips.

gus-hansen-david-oppenheimWhat is known, though, is that both Hansen and Oppenheim were pissed enough to throw punches. Luckily, cooler heads seemed to have prevailed…besides an enormous amount of chips being thrown.

The Great Dane had great tournament success, earning over $10.2 million before going off the tourney circuit. But he’s had a rough run in online poker, losing over $20.7 million from 2007-14.

Luckily, he quit playing high stakes online poker and has gone back to the live scene, where he made most of his money. We only hope that he wasn’t the one throwing $150k, though, after the considerable losses that he’s taken in recent years.

The good news for Hansen is that he made enough off his old Full Tilt Poker sponsorship deal and other business ventures to avoid going broke.

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