Over the first four editions of the PokerListings Battle of Malta, from 2012-2015, our focus has been on "making" history.
Breaking the record for biggest poker tournament ever held on the island in each event, we did that.
In 2016, for our fifth edition, we again broke our records for biggest tournament ever held on Malta and our largest collective prize pool at €1,295,853.15.
But this time around, we also spent some time bringing some of Malta's fascinating and important history to our players.
If you're a history buff - and particularly a European history buff - you've surely come across and been intrigued by the unique and bloody legacy of the Maltese islands.
Smack in the middle of the Mediterranean between Africa and Europe these small islands have been at the center of some of the most iconic events in Europe’s history. They've been occupied by numerous empires and taken back and forth amongst them as a stronghold and military launch point in dozens of wars.
Over all of those historical moments their most enduring touchstone is probably The Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, or simply the Knights of Malta. And they're at the heart of our inspiration for the Battle of Malta poker tournament.
Unfortunately, because the poker schedule is so plentiful, players hand't found much spare time to venture outside of St Julian's to visit the island’s pre-historic temples or the Baroque Cathedral of St John’s.
That’s why this year, with some help, we brought some of that history to the Hilton Hotel and Portomaso Casino instead.
Heritage Malta Generously Donates Spectacular Artefacts
In partnership with Heritage Malta, the island’s predominant historical preservation society, this year’s Battle of Malta had several spectacular artefacts on display outside of the tournament room.
A real Ottoman sword and shield, one of the burgonet helmets worn by the Knight’s Hospitaller ... those were just a couple of the amazing pieces of Maltese history on display.
Every day players lingered over their breaks to marvel over the incredible remnants of the some of most significant eras in Europe’s history. It was a one-of-a-kind opportunity to examine century-old relics and the items displayed by Heritage Malta transported players back to a time of grand conquests and the atmosphere of a Medieval battle ground.
It was a special way to pay tribute the iconic history from which the tournament derives its name and without the efforts of Heritage Malta it wouldn't have been possible.
Many thanks to the committed and passionate folks from Heritage Malta who shared their time and passion with us. It helped make the 2016 Battle of Malta not just a history-maker, but a history sharer.
If you enjoyed seeing the artefacts around the poker room and wish to learn more about the great work Heritage Malta does, please visit their website here.