With a €1 million guarantee for the flagship Main Event, Battle of Malta 2018 certainly set a high bar for success. But what a week it was! With 3,816 entries for the Main Event – nearly double the expected number – and 13,000 tournament entries overall, the tournament venue was packed throughout the six-day festival and made this year’s Battle of Malta a spectacular success. Now run by Casino Malta, the event took place October 25-30 in a brand new venue – the spacious Eden Arena at the InterContinental Arena Conference Centre.
The new Battle of Malta champion is Malta-based French playerJulien Stropoli who won €168,500 after a five-way deal. He bested a tough final table featuring previous MPN Poker Tour finalist Mantas Urbonas, two-time Unibet Open champion Mateusz Moolhuizen and Grosvenor Ambassador Andy Hills, as well as fellow French pro Maxime Canevet (who was runner-up) and a clutch of talented amateurs.
With 3,816 entries over four starting flights, the €550 buy-in event smashed the previous record for a poker tournament in Malta, which was held by last year’s 2,074-entry Battle of Malta. The total prize pool was €1,850,760, shared by 570 players and nearly double the €1,000,000 guarantee.
Main Event final table results:
The €1,320 High Roller event was won by Itay’s Simone Speranza for €60,000 in a high-speed final that included November Niner Fernando Pons and Estonian poker legend Henri Kasper. 888poker Ambassador Ana Marquez finished 23rd. The Poker League of Nations Ladies Event was won by Latvia’s Madara Sviksa who beat Ana Marquez heads-up, while British player Paul Jux-Holderness won himself a seat in next year’s Battle of Malta by beating tennis legend Boris Becker heads-up in the Pink October Malta charity event.
Event Director Diane Fenech said: “We’d like to thank absolutely everyone who contributed to making Battle of Malta 2018 such an outstanding success – all the players, their friends and families, the tournament, casino and hotel staff, our many sponsors and all the media. The numbers were simply staggering this year – not just in the Main Event which had 3,816 entries, nearly double last year – but also in all the side events. Congratulations to our champion Julien Stropoli who lives here in Malta and won €168,000 as well as a package for 888Live London later this month.”
Event Coordinator Telly Bartolo added: “The Eden Arena at the InterContinental Conference Centre is a spectacular venue for a poker tournament and we’re just delighted that it was so full of players throughout the festival. We are very aware that queuing and registration was an issue at the event and plans are already underway to ensure that registration at next year’s Battle of Malta will be a lot easier. We also plan to have more tables, more rooms – and more side events. Do come join us in 2019 and let’s break records yet again!”