Day 1A of the Battle of Malta has finished and Sihao Zhang has taken the plaudits for a controlled performance that saw him head the counts at the close. He will return for day 2 with 44 of his fellow Day 1A players with 438k & high hopes of a deep run. Here's how we reached that point...
The €500+55 Battle of Malta has become a fixture of the European poker scene and today's Day 1A showcased exactly why its popularity has grown year on year. Visiting players flew into Malta, pleasantly surprised to find sunny skies and 25 degree weather in October. As they made their way into the cavernous halls of the Intercontinental Hotel, they were treated to the captivating spectacle all BoM Main Event Day 1 players will witness as we move through the week.
With Laura Cornelius & Telly Bartolo announcing the start of the day - two medieval knights in full chainmail regalia advanced on them - a backdrop of fanfares and swishing spotlights illuminating this march through the Intercontinental hotel's cavernous conference room.
An epic start to kick things off as always and the action throughout the day lived up to this swashbuckling opening.
The 40 minute structure and unlimited rebuys saw many a player take aggressive lines to either build a stack or hit the rail trying, and consider firing another bullet, join one of the sides or melt into the balmy Malta night, where other distractions and fun awaited.
Ultimately the joint efforts of the players in the ME resulted in a final total of 297 entries - impressive stuff, given we expect even larger contingents to play the latter day 1's coming up.
As the chips were bagged and tagged, once the field had been reduced to 15% of the total entries, it was Zhang who held the most chips once Julien Rouquet had bubbled in that painful 46th spot. Zhang held 438,000 - leading the 45 players remaining. A great day for him, though he may struggle to hold onto that lead as more players make it through the remaining five day 1's coming up.
Though most eyes were watching the Main Event, there were some fun side events playing out - giving eliminated players other options to enjoy some more poker if their Main Event didn't pan out as planned.
Event 4 -the NLHE 130+20 was won by Marek Ohnisko, who collected €2,465.00 for his sterling performance. Here are the full payouts from that.
Ohnisko Marek €2,465
Kosmaty Jaroslaw Kamil €1,760
TAMM TAAGO €1,150
Cybulski Diminik €890
Smith Danny George €700
Bradley John €550
Gribov Alexander €430
Cheng Ngo Hin €340
Triolo Leonardo €260
Mulligan Lee Micheal €220
Kazmierczak Benjamin Daivd €220
The intriguing €80+100+20 Bounty Your Day tournament - Event #5 - played to a close Maksim Shvorodnik collecting the first place prize of €1,600. Full payouts below:
|# 1||1,600.00||19.59%||Skovorodnik Maksim|
|# 2||1,450.00||17.75%||Makavets Andrei|
|# 3||1,450.00||17.75%||Fonarjovs Benjaminis|
|# 4||770.00||9.43%||Henriques Daniel Filipe Pereira|
|# 5||620.00||7.59%||Remmert Maximilian|
|# 6||480.00||5.88%||Fialho David Fernando Tavares|
|# 7||380.00||4.65%||Contreras Jonatan Casco|
|# 8||290.00||3.55%||Lajouveigne Kevin Anthony|
|# 9||210.00||2.57%||Macpherson James|
|# 10||170.00||2.08%||Pietrosanto Andrea|
|# 11||170.00||2.08%||Pasubio Venanzio Luca|
|# 12||150.00||1.84%||Martino Giovanni|
|# 13||150.00||1.84%||Muller Kai|
|# 14||140.00||1.71%||Shikunov Evgeniy|
|# 15||140.00||1.71%||Kilmartin Lappin David Laurence|
The 2nd NLHE €130+20 tournament is still in effect - we'll confim the winner in tomorrow's update.
And finally Event #7 - the €180+20 PLO 8-Max was won by Roi Gibstein, €1,890 his reward for besting the 28- strong field.
Here's the full payouts from that.
|# 1||1,890.00||39.06%||Gibstein Roi|
|# 2||1,500.00||31.00%||Kanaan Ali|
|# 3||870.00||17.98%||Alves Dos Santos Borges Coutinho Gaspar|
|# 4||580.00||11.99%||Arutjunov Aleksandr|
Tomorrow's Main Event BoM Day 1B will see a 1am start. Another day brim full of action beckons - we know it will be fun so don't miss it!
We're excited to see how it plays out, though there's a schedule of other side events if they take yours or the players' fancy. Here's tomorrow's line-up.
11:00 Main Event Satellite €55+15
13:00 Start BoM €500+55 Main Event Day 1B
17:00 Mystery SIege of Malta (Mystery Bounty) Day 1A €210+200+40 20 minute levels
20:00 #Olybet Live Poker €260+40 NLHE 15 minute levels
21:00 PLO 8-Max €180+20 15 minute levels
21:30 €55+15 Satellite
Thanks for following what's been a great opening to an exciting week of poker ahead. We're off to get some sleep but we'll catch you on the flip side tomorrow at 1pm. See you then!
With 47 left, play moved into the tense hand-for-hand we've seen many times before. Any all-in saw the table surrounded by excited players, staff and journalists - keen onlookers to find out exactly how this day would end.
Then Meutstege Koen was KO'd - his bid to double-up with thwarted by a pair of fives as a brick board ran out.
Now the pressure was on - every decision a big one for the small and medium stacks. Something had to snap and Julien Rouquet was the man who gave way - his , cruelly undone by Ward Igbareya's at the last - a board of seeing his day's hopes evaporate at the most painful moment possible.
A visceral reaction from Rouquet - one anguished scream cut short and that was it. The bubble was burst and 45 players were happy with their lot. Bad luck Julien.
And that brought the day to a close. Thanks for following - we'll have news of the chip leader and the final chip counts to follow shortly along with an end of day wrap...
Lucas Stankevicius has his 60k stack in the middle with ... Eric Sandof calls with
The flop isn't too kind to Lucas as it drops ... No miracle King to save Lucas, as he departs in 49th.. When we get to 45 we stop play for the day...
Salvatore Ritovato just saw his hopes of Day 2 dissolve - at least for this bullet.
Raising it up with tens, he saw Janos Kuertoesi re-pop him and decided his hand was too strong to fold - jamming all-in.
His timing was awry - Kuertoesi snap-called with aces and a board of bricks saw him reduce the field to just 49 players. Closer, closer...
Kuertoesi rises to 300,000...
There's much more of a palpable edge in the air as the players know the end of the day signals both the final hand and confirms they'll be getting paid on day 2.
It's a tense moment and a few tempers are fraying slightly at the edges - perhaps no surprise given many players have been playing for around 12 hours at this point.
53 remain with 45 likely to make it through to Day 2. Zhang has regained the chip lead - hoarding a mighty 410,000 stack now, which will be hard to topple though Ugo Calzarano isn't too far behind with 340k...
The players are on what will surely be the last break of the evening. We'll return for level 16 in 15 minutes. Be back shortly!
Eliminations as we get oh so close to the end of the evening's play....
Linker Alan Joh
Damir Savio Damir Savio
Asztemborski Dominik Remigiusz
Stokkel Martijn has his final 35k in the middle... Chip leader Sihao Zhang makes the call from the BB with .. Stokkel shows
The board is meaning we lose another ... Stokkel (Below) Heads out!
Eliminations from around the room.... 61 left.. 45 make day 2!
Grosso Sergio Giacomo
Maillaud Nicolas Sebastien
Talvard Antoine Jeremy
Pastore l Andre
Mahmoud Imed Ben
Jean Delaine was all in as we get to the table.. Then Villem Karlsson shoves his 130k stack over the line, giving us action...
for Jean but is dominated by the of Villem..
The flop is a disastrous Meaning Jean (Below) had already started walking away! Needing an absolute miracle, it didn't appear, Jean headed for the exit...
We aim to finish the day at 45 players.. So we take a wander around the room to see who is still in....And stumble on a 3 way all in..
Chris Ward has (Right)
Sulc Marek has (Left)
The board runs.......
Sulc hits the rail.. Aurimas drops to 50k, while Chris now has 80k and a decent stack..
It's been a solid few levels for previous chipleaders Sihao Zhang and Ugo Calzolaro.
We grabbed a count from Zhang, who is smiling as he happily chats to his neighbour. He has 320,000 reasons to be happy, this stack putting him right in contention to end the day as chipleader - if he can avoid a rum run of the deck in the closing levels.
Ugo Calzolaro (pictured in seat one, baseball cap) may just have him pipped with 330,000 however. We caught the taciturn chip monster playing out a hand with Antonidi Edoardo, who was brave enough to run a double barrel bluff on his significantly larger-stacked opponent, firing 8.5k then 21k on flop and turn over the board...
Calzolaro was as immovable as a granite statue though, calling both barrels before the pair checked the river.
Just ace-high for Calzolaro with big slick but a defeated Edoardo showed down a worse ace-high () to concede the pot and his stack takes a dive - dropping to around 75,000...
Aiming to get to 45 players to end Day 1A, a few more exits from the room..
Emig Arthur Gerard Mickey
De Desare Shaun
Another three levels wrapped up means the players are now taking another well-merited breather.
We've seen the field cut to 83 meaning around 40 more players need to fall before that 15% remaining milestone will signal the day's end.
Catch up with us in 15 minutes to find out who will rise to the challenge and who will fall crushed under the merciless hobnail boots of variance. See you shortly!
Exits from the tourney as we head towards the break, at the end of level 12.
Janczarski Michal Mariusz
Garama Noam Bener
Van Ravenswoud Stefano
Cappiello Candido Gabriele
Malta Radicchi Andrea
Fraczek Lukasz Pawel
Laszlo Philofer Istavan
Congratulations to Marek Ohnisko who has taken down Event 4 & defeated Kamil Kosmaty (the pair pictured heads up) for €2,465 and the title. He can now proudly tell everyone he is a Battle of Malta champion. Great way to start the week long festival - we bet we'll see some more of him as the week progresses.
For now though, well done! Here are the full payouts from Event 4.
|# 1||27.43%||Ohnisko Marek||€2,465.00|
|# 2||19.59%||Kosmaty Jaroslaw Kamil||€1,760.00|
|# 3||12.80%||TAMM TAAGO||€1,150.00|
|# 4||9.91%||Cybulski Diminik||€890.00|
|# 5||7.79%||Smith Danny George||€700.00|
|# 6||6.12%||Bradley John||€550.00|
|# 7||4.79%||Gribov Alexander||€430.00|
|# 8||3.78%||Cheng Ngo Hin||€340.00|
|# 9||2.89%||Triolo Leonardo||€260.00|
|# 10||2.45%||Mulligan Lee Micheal||€220.00|
|# 11||2.45%||Kazmierczak Benjamin Daivd||€220.00|
The very well known Irishman Dara O'Kearney is playing the BoM, after a very successful Unibet Open, which was held in this very building last week!
His partner in crime of The Chip Race, David Lappin bust early on Day 1a. But Dara is grinding away on 35k, heading to the next break...
There's been a noticable ramp in tension and aggression levels at the tables as the end of the day draws ever closer. Players are being thrown out of contention with abandon as their bids to chip up and find their way into day 2 hit stony ground.
Some are prospering however and these three players in particular have seen their stacks grow impressively over recent levels. We think they may well be the chip leaders at this stage. Congratulations.
|Sihao Zhang (pictured)||280000|
The day is far from done though - 104 players remain and despite their fulsome stacks, even these high fliers could yet perish if variance's icy touch snakes toward their stack.
Exits from the room during the final buy in level of Day 1A
Penev Zlatin Nedyalkov
Lim Robert Jr Cabral
The end of level ten means no more rebuys for today and it looks as though the final number of buy-ins will be just shy of 300 at 297 in total. A very healthy total nonetheless, this means we will be playing down to around 45 players. There are currently 119 players remaining so it might look like there's a while left, however the blinds are a hefty 600/1,200/1,000 which will mean the players are forced to increasingly scrap for those chips in the middle or see their stack swallowed up.
Carnage beckons - hold tight...
Eric Desnos bet 15k on a board of . Gabrielle Cappielo would be all in, if he made the call... After around 3 minutes Eric started the speech.... Do you think I have 7-8 he said.... After another minute or so, Gabrielle called and flicked over for air.. But the air was better than the air of Desnos!!!! Desnos is still well stacked though on over 120k! (Shot from the hand after!)
Nima Shaft just sent one more player spiralling out of contention - taking on a shortstack shove with with pocket sevens.
In theory a coinflip, though the board changed the dynamic considerably in Shaft's favour. His opponent picked up his coat - "Can't beat that" he offered quietly - though there was still a slim chance of a running straight. Any lingering hopes were extinguished definitively on the turn and a final redundant completed the board.
Shaft is still far from out of the woods with 40,000 or so, but at least his chip graph has a welcome fillup on which he can build...
The chance to scoop their very own Battle of Malta tournament, albeit a side event, beckons for these four remaining players - and here are their stacks:
|Kosmaty Jaroslaw Kamil||158,000|
Marek Ohnisko holds the advantage for now and they are playing for this prizepool - good luck!
More eliminated players from level 9 and the start of level 10.
Vanelderen Soner Mario
Juutilainen Henri Tapio
Persent Jon Per
Uytfanghe Jochem Van
Gouguet Florian Adrien
A few chip counts from around the room.. We will have more during the evening as the stacks increase...
Jones Gareth Richard 172,000
Meusburger Reinhard 100,000
Kuertoesi Janos 98,500
Aquilina Kenneth 73,400
Kulesza Michal 68,300
Nardin Sebastien 54,800
Dvorkin Mary 49,000
Thiemer Frederik Paul Caspar 49,000
Connor Stephen David 47,600
Haro Clement Jean-Michel 44,400
Level 10 has just started and this is the final level to buy in or re-enter for today..
132 left in and we play down to 15% of the field tonight....
If your stomach's rumbling, you're in good company. There's a dull thunderous roar building round the casino as players and staff alike are preparing to stampede toward the dinner area and alleviate their gnawing hunger pains.
The first 9 levels of the day have seen the 286 strong field reduced to 132 players. The end of level ten will mean no more rebuys so we anticipate the field blasting past the 300 mark at some point - impressive stuff for a Day 1A!
For now though, let's join the stampede. Enjoy your break - we'll be back in 75mins for the run in to the end of the day. Bye!
We have a contender for chip leader in the room...
Richard Jones from the UK has around 160k
Although things are heating up in the Main Event right now, we also have a number of other tournaments taking place right now at the Battle of Malta.
There's Event 4 - a NLHE €130.00 + 20.00 event that has attracted 72 entries so far.
Event 5 is an €80+€100+€20 Bounty tournament with 97 runners entered so far BUT there is even more to come!
At 21:00 players can take a stab at event 6 - another NLHE €130.00 + 20.00 tournament with a fast and furious 15 minute blind level structure.
And if 4 card games are your bag, there's a €180 +20 PLO, 8-Max Event (Event 7) that will also kick off at 21:00 and features 15 minute levels.
Rounding off the feast of poker for today is a late night €55+15 satellite event (8) for the Main Event, offering players the chance to enter this €1 million Grtd tournament for a cut-price, offering a great opportunity to take part in this historic event.
Jump in and enjoy the myriad options available - there's something for everyone - and this will be going on for the next 8 days.
Here's the full schedule if you want to plan your poker week...
More exits from the room as we head to the 75 minute dinner break..
Van Ravenswoud Carlo Stefano
Massimo Oreste Segatto
Gauchet Goulven Jean Leon
Janos Kuertoesi just witnessed a pleasant runout, calling a 26k jam with and, after being shown pocket 8's and a much smaller stack with pocket 3's, he duly collected the pot as the board ran out a Janos-friendly .
"J'ai perdu" (I've lost) came the tortured lament from his defeated Gallic foe, his 8's bested, though Kuertoesi was too busy stacking up his new 90,000 in chips to notice this. The pocket 3's slithered off without any further commentary.
More exits from the room during level 8
Sorainen Luka Arno Oskari
Sandoff Karl Eric
Szabo Levante looks like he may hold the chip lead with approximately 100,000 at the moment. This seems a touch low at this stage, but as we scanned the current 17 or so tables - we noticed the chips are relatively evenly dispersed.
Not for the well-stacked Levante though who's been tucking into his table's chips and is now near or at the top of the counts. He looks nonplussed however. Crack a smile Szabo - there's a long way to go, but the dream is on!
We have a stack as close to the 100k mark as anywhere in the room.. Ben Mahmoud is the man.
Level 8 has just started and he has 4x his starting stack..
Daniele Profiti just gained a healthy boost to his stack, watching a tablemate jam around 8k from MP into the middle before Profiti re-shoved for his remaining 32k with .
His timing was astute as once the rest of the table laid down - his opponent sluggishly turning over pocket deuces, at a huge disadvantage and at risk of elimination.
His fortunes didn't turn around - Profiti's strong equity advantage holding over the board to give him the pot and reduce the remaining player roster by one.
As we strained to check his chip count, Profiti playfully covered up his stack protectively to hide it from us, before breaking out in a broad grin and showing us he had about 50,000 after the hand...
Eliminations from the end of level 6 and the start af level 7 here in Malta.
Most who bust, head straight to the re-entry desk, for more pain!!
Well those first six levels have flown by. Despite the regularity of players busting out and facing that tough decision - rebuy today for 6 or so levels more, or head off for the last few hours of sunshine by their hotel pool - the numbers of remaining players are not dropping significantly.
This is thanks to fresh arrivals and numerous rebuys, meaning 170 players still remain though the number of entrants has risen to 245.
The end of level six means it's now time for a 15 minute break before level 7 commences so we'll enjoy a quick break and see you shortly as we play through to dinner. Adios amigos!
We realise this topic is not entirely related to the Battle of Malta - but indulge us for just a moment before we return to the poker.
We've come across this strange item and we're in two minds about it. It is an attempt to mingle two much loved foodstuffs...but can you combine them without crossing several boundaries of good taste & decency. You tell us.
*Chocolate Pizza.* We are imagining your shocked faces.
"What is chocolate pizza?" some of you may be asking. Good question. Well, it is basically a pizza base that someone has covered with chocolate.
A stunning invention from a madcap genius that could alter history for the better? Or a blasphemous sacrilege that should be immediately doused with holy water and entombed in concrete?
What do you think?
A few more bust outs as we head to the 15 minute break..
Mortensen Sebastian Lund
Garratt John Samuel
Ward Igbareya and Maradonna Abaz were involved in an all in moment on table 7. With the screams coming from there, we head over to see the outcome!! for Ward and for Maradonna... Unlucky for Maradonna as he hits the flop, but the killer river sees the chips heading to Ward, who got lucky, to scoop a nice pot.
Massimo Segatto just pushed the last of his chips into the middle. We joined this action on a board (we didn't notice any possible flushes) with Segatto's final 10,400 in chips being called by Janos Kuertoesi. (Around 30k in the middle.)
Segatto showed down pocket tens for a set - Kuertoesi quietly acknowledging defeat as he passed those chips over to drop to around 19k. There was a small discussion about whether he had to also table his hand - ultimately he wasn't forced to however.
Segatto meanwhile is up to around 50,000 or double his starting stack. An auspicious start to his BoM...
Don't let that title put you off, we have a featured table streaming right now.
There's no commentary, though feel free to add your own in the style of your favourite poker commentator. Or you could create some sort of hybrid commentator frankenstein that amalgamates the best aspects of each.
Imagine a commentator with the infectious enthusiasm of Jesse May, the sharp genial analysis of Nick Schulman and the quiet gravitas of Dara O'Kearney. No need for pitchforks and scythes, there's a frankenstein we can get behind...
Anyway, enjoy some of the action from the Battle of Malta.
Players eliminated during the last hours play....
That's the first three levels of the day in the bag - with 17 eliminations in the early stages. This early slew of bustouts speaks to the aggressive poker we're likely to see over the coming days.
Bad luck to the following recent eliminations but a second or further chance to parlay up a stack and vie for a share of that €1,000,000 guaranteed prizepool is just a short trip to the registration desk away.
We'll be back for level 4 in the shake of a lamb's tail - provided that lamb takes precisely 15 minutes to shake it. See you soon!
|#175||Brzezinski Tomasz Piotr|
|#177||Paillot Sylvere Felix|
|#181||Shellum Jason Shane|
|#183||Nardin Romain Patrick Sebastien|
|#184||Gritz William Sylvain Charles|
|#186||Connor Stephen David|
|#188||Bluethgen Juergen Karl-Heinz|
4 early eliminations from Day 1a
Level 3 of the day..
Blinds are now 100/200 200bba
Well, we're off with the classic pomp and ceremony we've come to expect here at the battle of Malta.
As the lighting director's spotlights flew around like whirling dervishes and a fanfare echoed round the arena, Laura Cornelius drew on her dulcet tones and cut-glass enunciation to slice through this sensory maelstrom and announce the start.
The light show wasn't the only thing to catch the eye though as the now-standard Medieval knights - replete with swords, chainmail armour and helmets solemnly approached the front of the announcing stage, where the trophy resides...
There's no doubt the Battle of Malta has an iconic look and entrance. We loved it!
Level 2 of the day... 124/126 at the start of the level... Playing down to 15% of the field tonight..
2 Eliminated players during level 1..
Numbers have increased since Shuffle up and deal was announced just 30 minutes ago.. 101 in the mix as we head towards level 2 of the day.
No real changes from the original 25k starting stack.
Welcome to Day 1A of The Battle of Malta!
Malta's an island rich with history, the site of numerous critical battles in its illustrious past. Some have been naval conflicts, some have seen medieval knights clashing swords but no less fierce have been some of the poker battles we've witnessed since The Battle of Malta was first birthed as one of Europe's premier poker events.
This year's second Battle of Malta will be no exception.
The delicious and enticing €1 Million Guaranteed prize pool will ensure players will come from far and wide in a bid to add their names to the pantheon of BoM winners.
They will have no less than 6 days to make their mark and traverse through to Day 2 with as large a stack as their skills and luck permit. Each player will have 25,000 chips and 40 minute levels to fuel their bid for a run at the title and will have unlimited rebuys up to the start of day 2. All players who reach this point will be assured of a cash at least.
We'll be aiming to catch every twist and turn along the way.
Chip counts, significant hands, star names - we'll bring you all the ins and outs here on the blog so make sure you bookmark us and refresh regularly - you won't want to miss a second.
I'll be ably assisted by the legend that is Phil "The Tower" Heald as we detail events and we can't wait for the start!
The tournament will kick off at 1:00pm with the usual pomp and ceremony we have come to expect (brace yourselves....). More on this shortly but for now welcome to the Battle of Malta. It's going to be epic.