Don Ford traveled day and night to get here five minutes before shuffle up and deal.
While the vast majority of the 349 players at the Battle of Malta are European, two Americans won freerolls and came all the way from the US to play poker on the Mediterranean.
Mark Mattson and Don Ford won their seats through different freeroll promotions but shared a common goal: Win the first ever BOM title and experience Malta for the first time.
And although neither of them will become the first BOM champ, having busted their respective Day 1s, they’re both keen to get out and see what the island has to offer.
Mattsson won his seat via a qualifying satellite on free poker site HogWildPoker, and it all started when he submitted a blog post to PokerListings.com about his most memorable poker experience.
That earned him a spot in the qualifying tournament and two weeks later he was here in Malta playing.
“I did miss the turkey and I think my mother actually cooked it this year because she’s hosting my family for Thanksgiving while I go off to play poker,” explained Mattson.
It’s safe to say he’s going to owe his wife big for the privilege.
Last-Minute Trip for Don Ford
The second freeroller from the United States came all the way from Illinois and wasn’t even the person who originally won the seat.
Michael Schmidt won one of 20 BOM packages given away on the
Mirror UK website, but decided the trip was impossible because his wife is 36 weeks pregnant.
At that point Schmidt called in his best friend Don Ford and less than 36 hours later Ford was in Malta playing poker.
Ford didn’t make it through his Day 1 heat but we caught up with him at the VIP party.
“I was playing to go deep, not to make Day 2,” laughed Ford.
“I don’t even know if a min-cash would be worth giving up a full day in Malta,” he said. “If I was going to bust I’m glad it was early so I can get out and see the island.”
Action in the Battle of Malta continues and you can
keep an eye on it all right here.
Kara Scott Interviews Mark Mattson
Battle of Malta host Kara Scott caught up with Mark Mattson while he was still in the tournament to find out how he convinced his wife to let him take a poker trip on Thanksgiving weekend.