The 2016 Battle of Malta kicked off from the Portomaso Casino earlier today with 2013 champion Louis Cartarius and defending champ Nicolas Proust joining the action on Day 1a.
For the third straight year Maria Ho started things off with the traditional shuffle up and deal (flanked by a couple Maltese knights).
Nearly 300 entries hit the felt early on but there will be an exact count in the end of the day recap.
Eichhardt Bounced Early, Re-Buys
Among the field were serial WSOP casher Chris Bjorin and fellow pros Andreas Hoivold and Valentin Messina.
Swedish WSOP bracelet winner Peter Eichhardt, who was rocking an 888poker patch, took a seat but busted early.
Eichhardt is expected to return to the fray with a re-entry at some point on Day 1a.
There were some celebs in the field as well including Norwegian rapper Petter Katastrofe and Norwegian glamour model Linni Meister.
Local poker pro Jackie “PokerMama” Cachia was also in the tournament early and built a sizable 50,000-chip stack early.
Premium sponsors 888poker, Betsafe and NordicBet are fully set up at the 2016 Battle of Malta with their respective lounges.
Day 1a is expected to be the smallest starting day of the 2016 Battle of Malta with massive fields expected for Day 1b and Day 1c.
You can follow along in real-time through our BOM live updates.