No Hat-Trick Bonavena

One of the iconic players in the recent history of Italian poker took his seat in the biggest Battle of Malta ever.

Salvatore Bonavena – $3.1 million in live tournaments earnings – found his seat close to our desk and told us why he decided to come to the Eden Arena this year.

“This is the second time I’m taking part in the Battle of Malta. But this time it feels special. There’s a new and gorgeous location, a lot of players, really nice atmosphere. I’m happy to be here.”

We spoke with Salvatore about the new structure and payout system with a prize guaranteed for all the players who make it to the end of every Day 1.

“Maybe we should have a deeper stack,” Bonavena said, “so professional players would have more of an advantage. But like this, the best players are on the same level with all the others and there’s less of an edge.”

For sure, Salvatore will never forget what happened to him 10 years ago. The Italian won the EPT Prague Main Event. Many things have changed in poker since 2008 — much more than we can cover in a couple of minutes.

“Tournaments, structures, playing style, everything has changed.”

But what happened to Bonavena’s trademark hat? He lost it. The pain is too strong to get a new one. We guess it’s like getting a new dog after the one that was with you many years died. You just can’t, can you?