Not the face you're hoping to see at your table.
Dan “Jungleman” Cates was the 150th player to register for the PokerListings.com Battle of Malta, meaning this tournament is already halfway to making its €150,000 guarantee.
Cates took advantage of late registration but wasted no time getting involved in the action. In the first orbit after sitting down he was all-in against the player to his left, check-shoving the turn and getting a fold to instantly increase his chip stack.
Players were visibly surprised to see one of the most successful high-stakes poker pros in the world sit down at their table, given the €500 buy-in, and the player who lost the pot described above couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of it all.
Cates continued his aggressive approach and was soon up to almost three times the 20k starting stack. Although his chip counts has waned since then he’s still well above average.
Day 1A of the Battle of Malta at the Portomaso Casino.
153 players in total have registered so far, and since the Battle of Malta is a re-entry tournament we can expect some of the players who bust today to return tomorrow to take another shot.
And since local recreational players will only be able to take one day off work to play poker, expectations are very high for Friday’s Day 1B.
Battle of Malta on Pace to Beat Guarantee
Tournament staff and players are estimating that the Battle of Malta will get more than 300 runners, meaning it will surpass the €150k guarantee promised by PokerListings.com.
Italian professional poker player Giovanni Rizzo said that before the event began he considered taking the over on a line of 400 players for this event.
Speaking to him today he says he’s even more confident in that estimate now.
Tomorrow will also see more online qualifiers play, including players from as far away as Missouri and North Carolina.
And while we’ll still have to wait until roughly 6pm tomorrow to find out exactly how many players will enter, it’s looking very likely the prize pool will swell past the €150k mark.
Keep an eye on our Battle of Malta page for continuing updates, and check out our blog for videos from the event.