With players teeming out of the doors to get in and seated the €200,000 guarantee was smashed within just two hours of play.
When registration finally closed a massive 417 entries had been clocked in with a sold-out Day 1b still to come tomorrow.
Given the casino capacity that puts the expected number of players near the 800-player mark, making for an incredible €440,000 prize pool.
Amato Snags Early Lead
After a full 10 hours of play 110 players bagged up chips for Day 2 with Italian Dario "Trazaman" Amato at the top with 247,400.
An online grinder from Palermo, Amato has close to $200k in online earnings but could add a nice chunk to that if he can hold on to make the final table.
The official Top 5 in chips:
- 1. Dario Amato – 247,400
- 2. Omar Pisani - 221,400
- 3. Federico Petruzzelli – 207,800
- 4. Marco Bognanni – 196,300
- 5. Fredric Hallner – 195,300
Scott, Neuville, Pesonen Set Back a Buy-In
As for the high-profile pros who made the trip not many had much luck on Day 1a.
Kara Scott, Giovanni Rizzo, Pierre Neuville and Lauri Pesonen bit the dust on their first bullet although all but Rizzo (who also busted his second) will get another crack at it tomorrow.
Norwegian Andreas Hoivold made it through the day on his first bullet with 46k to start Day 2. Adult Film star Puma Swede also surprised a few in the crowd and at the table by hitting Day 2 as well.
She'll start back up on Saturday with 39,800.
Holden, Dudesons, Moschitta, Kihara Among Day 1b Runners
Joining the fray tomorrow will be another wide swath of players and pros alike. Among the notables will be:
- Online kingpins Dan "Jungleman12" Cates and Ashton Griffin
- 888poker pro Sam Holden
- Spirit of Poker Award winner Luca Moschitta
- PKR pro Sofia Lövgren
- Most Inspiring Player Naoya Kihara
- Finnish MTV stunt crew The Dudesons
Check our Battle of Malta live updates for a recap of all the Day 1a action and for Day 1b action starting at 2 pm CET.