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Arrow The Aussie Millions Tournament

I've just checked my ranking and noticed I was ranked 126th for 2004. I feel privileged to be among the top-ranked players and hope to improve in 2005. For my first tournament I'm in Melbourne, Australia for the Aussie Millions 2005. There were 263 participants, an increase from 133 last year.

One Million Australian Dollars was guaranteed for first place which is a first for Australian Poker. I placed 2nd in this event last year when my KK lost to Tony Bloom's K3 when he flopped 933. I was looking forward to another chance to place in this event but it was not to be. We started with $5,000 in chips with a free re-buy of another $5,000 anytime during the first three levels. I never really got started with anything that took me anywhere. You know it's going to be a tough day when you go all in with AK and the other guy has AK, too; or when you get no action when you have AA! Those were my 2 best hands of the day. I made it to the sixth level when I was in the big blind with K7 and $1,700 left in chips after posting the $500 big blind. Everyone passed to the Billy Croc on the button who raised enough to put me all in. If I pass I have to post $250 in the small blind next hand, which if I pass on that will be left with 1,450 which is only 3X the big blind. Billy could be raising with anything here and a king is a good overcard to have. I decide to take my stand here and call his raise. He turns over K8! Uh-oh! Flop is K92. Not so good. Turn is 2. Now we have a split pot because the 9 plays on the board. River is another 9! Now we both have kings and nines but his 8 plays and I'm out. That's about how it was for this tourney. In hindsight I could have hoped for a better hand through one more round around the table but believe it or not K7 was one of the better hands I had seen. As I write they are down to the final 20 with Marcel Luske the chip leader. The Australian hospitality of the Crown Casino and the friendliness of the local Australian players can't be topped. I've already made my reservations to return in 2006. Well done mates!

Another exciting event that took place at the Aussie Millions was the new game of Speed Poker with the inauguration of the Speed Poker Championship with AUD $100,000 guaranteed. The buy-in was AUD $1,600 and play was limited to two heats of 102 players playing 6 handed tables. Speed Poker requires you to act on your hand within 15 seconds, thus its name. Each table had a beautiful Aussie girl with a time clock to keep us all in check. Geez, how do they expect a guy to concentrate! And they pumped up the volume on this electronic music with a ferocious beat all the while over the microphone announcing the all ins and who beat who with what. The final 3 tables of each heat made the money and were recorded for television. My key hands were my A8 vs 33 with a board of 636A8. Unlucky there. Another was my A4 vs AQ all in and hit a 4 on the turn. Very lucky there! Last one was my JJ vs KK with a flop of AKJ. Very unlucky there. I think there's a future for Speed Poker if they make some adjustments to some of the rules (but that's for another story).

Lastly I'd like to talk about the new game in town - what I call The New Poker. The New Poker is style of play of the new player who has gotten his experience primarily online and wins a seat online to a major event like the Aussie Millions. This new player has taken many risks online and has been rewarded with his risky play. This type of play he brings with him to a live tournament. In one of the no limit events alone I saw three different players call all in raises before the flop with small to medium pairs early on in the tournament against premium pairs. Such as 55,88,99 vs AA, KK and QQ. All three hands won by hitting a set! Most experienced pros are not going to risk their entire stack of chips in the early stages of a tournament with small to medium pairs. In the middle or later stages as blinds are higher and the big blind/chip stack ratio is lower you will see this type of action but not normally in early stages. This is the new game in town - The New Poker. The pros need to make some adjustments to meet this new challenge. One way might be to keep the action to a minimum to limit the potential loss in a hand. The New Poker players need to make some adjustments, too. They must realize what underdogs they are by calling with mediocre hands and it won't work most of the time. They may get lucky in the short term but they probably won't win any major tournaments playing this New Poker style. The future of Poker is strong and will continue to bring new players to the game. It will be interesting to watch as The New Poker and The Old Poker battle it out this year for the princely prizes awarded in Poker today. Next stop - the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles for the LA Classic.

Jesse Jones
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