Wednesday 15th March, 2023

Something for Everyone at the Malta Poker Festival

By Jason Glatzer

The Malta Poker Festival is set to make its triumphant return to Portomaso Casino in a little more than a month with 33 action-packed events.


If you are looking for the perfect poker holiday, look no further as not only does Malta provide perfect weather in the Spring but there is plenty of poker and parties to make the Malta Poker Festival one you will always remember. Players will be coming from far and near including many confirming their trips already from across the pond from the United States.


The schedule features something for everyone with buy-ins ranging from €120 to €1,100 with a variety of poker formats including No-Limit Hold’em, Pot-Limit Omaha, Crazy Pineapple, and HORSE with the highlight easily being the €300,000 guaranteed €550 MPF Grand Event.


“2023 is a super exciting year for all of us at Portomaso Casino and the Malta Poker Festival,” shared Malta Poker Festival founder Ivonne Monetalagre. “We're eagerly waiting for all of you. And as you can see on the schedule, we've been very creative. We've been trying to do things outside the box and try to give you a super affordable schedule, yet a five-star poker service.”


€300,000 GTD MPF Grand Event


The €550 MPF Grand Event boasts a whopping €300,000 guarantee. However, this is likely simply a placeholder as last spring the €300,000 guarantee was smashed with 1,014 entries generating a €486,720 prize pool to win the 2022 MPF Spring Edition Grand Event. Netherlands’ Marthijn Lakerveld (pictured above) came out on top to collect the huge €71,000 top prize. 


The autumn version was even bigger with 1,326 entries battling it out in October in the 2022 MPF Grand Event to generate a €636,450 prize pool. Italy’s Mirko Mostaccio was the hero of the event after winning the €136,670 top prize after a deal (above with a pre-printed cheque for the original 1st prize before the deal)


There is a good reason why so many players turn out for the MPF Grand Event as not only are players competing in the lap of luxury but also enjoy an amazing tournament structure.


The event boasts five opening flights from April 26-29 where they will start with 50,000 in chips. The first four opening flights feature healthy 40-minute blind levels while the final opening flight is a turbo-charged affair with 20-minute blind levels. Players can re-enter up to twice per opening flight providing plenty of opportunities to get into the action.


Surviving players from the opening flights will compete for two more days on April 30 and May 1 until a winner is crowned.


This author, Jason Glatzer, will be reporting the event from the beginning until the end and has enjoyed his experiences at prior Malta Poker Festivals both as a journalist and as a player.


Players not only can qualify for just €60 with satellites running at Portomaso Casino but also can win their packages online at the reputable Unibet Poker and Betsson Poker. You can also buy your Grand Event seat directly here at Main Event Travel, along with entry to a number of the tournaments on the schedule!


Poker Community Gets Involved With Side Events


Ivonne Montealagre not only founded the Malta Poker Festival and other poker festivals over the years but also is heavily involved in the poker community itself including as the Women’s Poker Association (WPA) International Affairs Director.


Monetealegre is known for trying different things before everyone else over the years and has made sure to involve both the local Maltese poker community and the global women’s poker community in her events.


Mixed game guru and Sviten Special author Martin Smith will be hosting the €230 HORSE event on April 25. Jackie Cachia, affectionately known as “Poker Mama” in the Maltese poker community will be hosting the first-ever €230 MPF Seniors Event. While Seniors Events are more normalized in the USA, it is rare to see one in a recreational poker festival and one we will have to keep our eyes on.


This is not all as WPA Advocate Chris Read will be traveling from the USA to host the €120 Ladies First! Also, Poker Power Director of Education and Technology AJ Rudolph will be on hand not only to play the Ladies First! but to also host a course to help ladies give the poker skills they need to compete. Be on the lookout for a dedicated article where we dive into the ladies’ initiatives at the Malta Poker Festival in more detail.


“We have some very fun side events,” Montealegre shared. “There's inclusions in the calendar such as the Seniors Event hosted by Jackie Cachia and the Ladies First! hosted by Chris Read. We like to include also some variation tournaments such as the HORSE event hosted by Martin Smith and the crazy pineapple. And also, there's a very cool event called the Betsson One Bullet, which is a complete freezeout tournament. There is a little something for every taste while we are also promoting a friendly and inclusive event.”


Poker Holiday in Malta


The Malta Poker Festival provides plenty of poker but this is just half the story for those looking for a poker holiday experience as the weather is normally spectacular in the Spring. There are no shortage of amazing restaurants and bars littered across the island while there are plenty of sites to see. Of course, you can simply relax by the pool or the beach when you need to clear your mind as well.


Montealegre also planned many activities where old friends can get together while new friends can meet in an inclusive environment with poker as a common interest. Some of the events include a Meet and Greet, Welcome Drinks, All-in Friday party at the Club Level 22 with beautiful surroundings, a Valletta City Tour, and a unique Taco Night at Hammett’s Mestizo.


“The weather always seems to be amazing in spring here in Malta,” Montelegre explained. “Fingers crossed, but it's such a nice escape. It's a beautiful location and venue. With over a decade of hosting tournaments at Portomaso Casino we have the formula quite perfected. You can expect things to run smoothly, in a very friendly environment yet, all the events are titled and have trophies.”


Montealegre is trying something new this time around to make the Malta Poker Festival even more memorable with custom-designed hoodies in addition to trophy for named-event winners.


“I have also personally designed that each winner will have a limited-edition MPF 2023 hoodie,” Monetealegre proudly shared. “We're trying to make each tournament memorable. We want people to carry the event in their hearts after the event because we put a lot of heart and soul into this. And the past years have been very challenging. And now we're getting back to normal 2023 Everybody wants to travel, we all want to go out there and Portomaso is waiting for all of us.”


Main Event Travel has your back with a variety of exclusive, discounted VIP Packages at 5* Hilton Malta or 4* Cavalieri Art Hotel that include:  

  • Bed & Breakfast at 4* or 5* hotel
  • Headline Grand Event Ticket
  • Drinks Package at Event Venue
  • Dinner Buffet at Event Venue
  • Nightclub access and more!

We also have fantastic Hotel only offers including breakfast.


These Special Offer rates are currently discounted by €20-€400, and all VIP Packages and Special Offer rooms come with free cancellation until the 10th of April if your plans change!


Of course, we can help you book your flight as well as work to tailor a package that suits your needs..


2023 Malta Poker Festival Spring Edition Schedule can be found here, start planning today!



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