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Joe Hachem - Welcome To the Aussie Millions
Joe, the Aussie Millions has experienced a huge growth in the last few years. What are your expectations for this year's event?
Well the Aussie Millions is held at the Crown Casino, which is by far the best resort in the Southern Hemisphere. As far as hotels and casinos go, and I've been all over the world, it's up there with the best of them. So for a start, you're going to walk into luxury and really great service. It's right in the hub of the city, so it's right on the water.
As far as the tournament itself, I remember that tournament when we first got a hundred players and we were so happy - it wasn't called Aussie Millions back then. That was in 2000. We're probably expecting six to seven hundred. The actual tournament structure, there is none better. The tournament director and staff are so well trained there's no second guessing. It's just bang, a decision and it's done.
Do you think it's all these things; the hotel, the resort, the staff, that's contributed to the growth we've seen in the last few years?
Absolutely. There hasn't been one international player who's come down and not come back, and come back raving about it.
What kind of field can we expect next week?
There'll be a lot of locals, and there will be a lot of nationals from all over Australia who've qualified as well. There will be quite a few Internet qualifiers, but there will be a lot of professionals too. Team Full Tilt will be there as you know and I just talked to Daniel [Negreanu] and he's flying down.
Tell us a bit about how poker has evolved in Australia up to this point.
I mean, they've been playing poker tournaments in Australia as early as '85 or '86, before I was playing. It died down a bit for a while, but with the advent of poker on TV and Chris Moneymaker, it really started growing. Then along comes this schmuck Joe Hachem who wins the World Series and it just went crazy.
Poker definitely has a worldwide appeal and it seems like people everywhere love the game, but is there anything about Australians that makes them geared towards it?
Australians are geared towards competition. Whether it's throwing rocks or playing poker, we are very competitive by nature. I mean, we're a population of 20 million, ever noticed our stats at the Olympics? We do quite well for a small country that doesn't have a huge budget for athletes. Our cricket team is the best in the world. Recently we've become really competitive in soccer, and I think it's because of our competitive nature.
Thanks Joe, I look forward to seeing you again next week.
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Now that I've arrived at the Crown in Melbourne I've seen for myself that Joe wasn't kidding. The poker room here is great, and after Day 1A, it looks like this is going to quite an event. From Melbourne, this is Matt Showell.