Melbourne is home to the Aussie Millions and is one of the nicest cities I have been to in the world. On itself it is a very popular destination with great attractions, superb views and landscapes, yummy food from a melting pot of cultures and overall just a very beautiful city. The casino is smack in the middle of town where you’ll find hotels and Airbnbs within walking distance. There is a free city tram system and many of the key attractions are within that area, so you basically can camp down without having to take a taxi or rent a car.
However, Melbourne’s cash game has (in my opinion) one of the worst raking system. For games lower than 2/5, there’s a time charge of one big blind as soon as you sit down. Each pot is raked 10% capped at 15, pots are raked even without a flop. Most tables are also called “turbo” tables where each player has about 30 seconds to act. I am not opposed to this idea because it makes the game run faster and smoother. But I find it funny that they charge one big blind for every extra 30 seconds, and you can only “buy time” twice per hand. Also you can only buy in a maximum of 100bb every single time. So if you are playing catch up, or eyeing the whale with a big stack, well you can only do limited damage.
The games are reasonably okay but I do feel that there are a lot of strong regulars. Occasionally especially on weekends you might find some curious cats venturing over from the bar to try out the game. You can still beat the regulars but I would not describe the game as soft, but I do feel it’s softer than Macau.
There are no free food or drinks. A bottle of drinking water is AUD 2.50 and the waitress will give you a dirty look if you don’t tip. (ps. For AUD 1 you can get a 2 litre bottle of imported mineral water from the supermarket) Vodka with Red Bull is AUD 32 (about USD 26) The dealers are pretty fast but seem a bit more moody compared to Sydney and Perth.
There are lots of daily tournaments but I did not partake. There are PLO games as well and more game selection than most places. You can buy chips from the counter and request any denomination you like. Which means you can buy 1k in $5 chips and build you wall or tower as you wish. Some players enjoy this while others think it slows down the game. As for me I like having this option and it makes for some pretty cool instagram photos.
If you stay in the city area and walk to and from the casino, you will catch some spectacular scenery along the way. The sunset on Yarra River is my favourite. There’s lots to see and do within the city. There’s the Queen Victoria Market where you can buy great produce and food and during the nights they have the night bazaar there are bargain clothing, bags etc. The docklands area is a newly built waterfront area with nice apartments and cafes. Not much too see there but it’s on the free tram route. Still worth a visit for a nice stroll and beautiful photos.
There’s the Chinatown, museums, art galleries and parks all along the free tram route. If you don’t mind walking, 15 minutes away from the casino is the South Melbourne Market. It is slightly less touristy than Queen Victoria Market and a nice place to have lunch. There are lots of stuff outside the city as well, including the famous 12 apostles on the Great Ocean Road. But during my last two visits to Melbourne I never left the city centre except to go to the airport. For me it was a good enough balance between poker and vacation time.
Although the field seems tougher in Melbourne, but it is also where the money is at. I had two big sessions where I won 600 and 700bbs respectively. Considering the max buy-in is 100bb, that is a big win. If you are looking for high action games and higher stakes, Melbourne is the place to go.