Battle Of Malta 2013

The island may be tiny but it ended up hosting a big poker game!

The Battle of Malta tournament got off to a great start at the Portomaso Casino, with the number of entries meaning that the final prize fund more than doubled the originally advertised guarantee of €200,000.  Poker remains a massively popular draw, and Malta was a great place to host such an event.

32Red Poker‘s interest was in the form of qualifiers Cornelia Lupu (Romania), Dimitar Dimitrov (Bulgaria), Szabolcs Szigeti (Hungary), Roger Deans (UK) and Marko Vukic (Bosnia & Herzegovina)…

A bit about Malta

Thanks to its location, the tiny island of Malta has for a long time been important strategically, with the Romans, Arabs, the Knights of St John, French and the British being amongst the numerous powers who have ruled over the years. Having being admitted to the United Nations in 1964 (the same year it began independence from the UK), Malta joined the European Union in 2004 and, being a very popular tourist destination, is sure to be a fun poker venue.

Malta is plumb in the middle of the Mediterranean.

Malta is plumb in the middle of the Mediterranean.


The Venue

Having already hosted the World Poker Tour and other such high tournaments, the Portomaso Casino’s reputation precedes it as an excellent poker venue. Apart from having the biggest poker room in the country, the hotel is also well placed for players to relax both during and after their time battling away for survival.

The picturesque Portomaso Casino (tower)

The picturesque Portomaso Casino (tower)


Calendar of Events

Thursday, September 26
9am Players started to arrive at Malta Luga Airport and were transferred to their respective hotels.
2pm Main Event (€500+€50), Day 1A.
8pm Satellites to BOM 2013. Buy in €50 + €5
10pm Opening reception for package holders.
Friday, September 27
2pm Main Event (€500+€50), Day 1B.
Saturday, September 28
1pm Main Event, Day 2. Location: Portomaso Casino.
6pm Siege of Malta “Second Chance” Tournament (€100+€10), Day 1.
11pm Official BOM Party opens its doors.
Sunday, September 29
2pm Main Event, Day 3 and Final Table.


Tournament Structure

Claiming a player-friendly structure, the organisers were satisfied that the 20,000 chip strong starting stacks and 60-minute blind levels provided the participants with a nicely balanced tournament structure over the four days’ play.

Tournament Structure, Starting Stack: 20,000 Chips

Tournament Structure (20,000 Chips)


Battle Of Malta – Day 1a

Day 1a saw 417 players battling it out for fame and fortune, an impressive number given that the previous year’s tournament had a total of 349 players in total. 110 of them managed to survive the opening day, but, unfortunately, Dimitar was not one of them.

Dimitar Dimitrov, Day 1A

Dimitar Dimitrov, Day 1A

“I made it to 55k chips, but in a hand with AKo I 3bet an agresive player … I had position and the flop came QJ3, he checked and I decided to check after him.  A 7 came on the turn and he made about 2/3 pot bet. I almost folded but a voice inside my head said “call him – he’s bluffing!” I called thinking that all AK and 10 was good for me plus I also had a chance to catch him on a bluff. The river card was an Ace and he went all in for about 8k. I called and saw 77 in the hand and so I dropped to about 30k. After that I lost about 15k with a good starting hand but nothing on the flop … I pushed with 44  on my last hand.”

– Dimitar Dimitrov

Opening Party

The Opening Party was held at the luxurious Villa Rosa Palace in St. Julians, Malta, where we all got a chance to relax and meet other players. While a local DJ kept us entertained with the latest in dance music, friendly waitresses kept our glasses full with free champagne!

Battle Of Malta – Day 1b

Day 1B proved equally as popular as the opener, with the Portomaso Casino welcoming another 471 hopefuls into the arena and generating a massive prize fund of €440,000!  Three of the 471 were from the wacky television stunt group The Dudesons, although only Jukka survived.

A slice of pizza before the big battle!

A slice of pizza before the big battle!

Battle Of Malta – Day 2

The other four 32Red Poker players all made it to Day 2 – Marko with 66,500 chips, Szabolcs 39,700, Roger 29,200 and Cornelia 32,400. Cornelia exited first when her AJ ran into queens.  Szabolcs followed, queens being overtaken by AK.

Roger, meanwhile, was experiencing the dubious thrill of being the short stack as the money approached, succeeding in making it into the last 100 places after finding himself down to a mere three blinds with 106 players remaining! Surviving to finish 83rd and cash for €1,100 is quite an achievement.

Roger finishes in 83rd place winning a decent €1,100!

Roger makes it in the money…

Roger finishes in 83rd place and banks a decent €1,100!

Roger finishes in 83rd place and banks a decent €1,100!

This leaves Marko, who finally busted out after a valiant effort when his Jacks were downed by Queens, his 69th place a testament to a well played tournament that might have been more fruitful were it not for the cold deck curse.

Marko makes it in the money...

Marko makes it in the money…

Marko finishes in 69th place and cashes in for a respectable €1,350!

Marko finishes in 69th place and cashes in for a respectable €1,350!


BoM Party!

Everything kicked off at the much anticipated BoM Party on Saturday night.  Hundreds of poker players who’d taken part in the Battle of Malta were invited – it gave players a chance to let their hair down and it was great way to celebrate the massive success of the event…

Battle Of Malta – Final Day

In the end, it was Germany’s Louis Cartarius who took 1st place in the biggest Battle of Malta event yet. Cartarius outlasted just shy of 900 players (a BoM record) and banked a tidy €80,000 for his efforts.

Positive Feedback

“My experience in Malta was something unique and amazing, an adventure from the beginning till the end. The unexpected was all around during the tournament, creating emotions and feelings so new to me. I was lucky to be part from a great team that was lead by a person who loves and knows very well what he is doing, a fact that kept us together.  So, a very big ” Thank you” to Nick 😉 … Battle of Malta rate: 10+”
Cornelia Lupu

“Great experience, 8 … once again, a big thank you to 32Red Poker for everything”
– Marko Vukic

“The organisation of the trip hotel and other things was the best I ever seen and I want to thank U again Nick about that.”
– Dimitar Dimitrov

“Hi Nick. Ty for the blog and for all of our trip, it was great work like all you done for us. I wish you to be happy whole year, like me and my family were in Malta ;)”
– Szabolcs Szigeti

“I’d like to say a big thank you to you for all your efforts in making the 32Red player’s trip to BOM so enjoyable. It must have taken a lot of work from you behind the scenes over a long time and your thoughtfulness and attention to the players whilst in Malta really made all the difference and made it into the great experience that it was … PS, Great BOM blog. Your diligence with the camera paid off!”
– Roger Deans

“Yours was by far the most personable group of the whole event.  Absolutely perfect when you consider that everyone in the industry is trying to appeal to the casual and recreational player.”
– Mark Spurr (Microgaming)

“Great job, best blog coverage of a fun poker tourney I’ve seen”
– Ivonne Montealegre (BoM2013 Tournament Director)

The End

The Battle of Malta was a great experience for both those who made it to the tournament and the many 32Red players who battled it out in our exciting qualifiers. No doubt the prospect of taking part in such a prestigious big money event, in such pleasant surroundings, with the delights (for example) of a champagne party thrown into the package, will have us all chomping at the bit for the next live event we get involved with…