Giulio Astarita came within sight of the 1 million mark on Day 2 of the Battle of Malta.
16 players remain in the PokerListings Battle of Malta with Italian Giulio Astarita leading the way to the €35,000 first-place prize.
The pace was breakneck from start to finish on Day 2 with the 165-strong field that started the day chopped down to two eight-handed tables by the time all was said and done.
The final 16 players represent nine different countries with Roger Hardy stepping up as the only non-European still in this event. Hardy is originally from Victoria, British Columbia in Canada but works in Libya.
The players still in with a shot at the first ever Battle of Malta title are certainly an eclectic group, but unfortunately we had to say goodbye to a few truly big poker names before action was halted for the day.
Dan “Jungleman” Cates, Gaelle Baumann and Battle of Malta host Kara Scott all went broke on Day 2. Gaelle Baumann was the only player to squeak into the money, finishing 31st for €1,270.
It was a far cry from the almost $600,000 she earned for her 10th place finish at the 2012 WSOP Main Event but not a bad take by every-day standards for two days of poker on the Mediterranean.
Italian PokerStars Room Manager in the Lead
No one was able to crack the 1 million chip mark today but chip leader Giulio Astarita came close.
Down to just seven big blinds early in the day Astarita managed to bag 986,000 by end of day, almost 100k more than his closest competition Nicodemo Piccolo.
Gaelle Baumann finished in 31st.
Astarita is no stranger to the poker world. He’s the poker room manager for PokerStars.it but told PokerListings.com that he’s a recreational player.
“I am inside this world but actually I am not a professional player. I am a donk,” he laughed after action ended for the night.
Astarita’s best poker result to date was a fourth-place finish in a €2k re-entry event at this year’s EPT San Remo for €57,600.
Astarita told us that while the money is important, he’s really after the thrill of winning a live tournament.
“€35,000 is a lot of money because I’m not a pro, but if I have to be honest I’m more into winning this. Winning a tournament is always something you adore and you never forget winning, especially live, so I really hope I can hold on tomorrow night,” he said.
But the money and the competition aren’t the only things players are enjoying at the Battle of Malta.
“The atmosphere was very relaxed and I personally endorse the choice of Kara Scott as host because she’s very cute and she tries to interact with players and everything. I spent some time at her table and it was a fun experience because there’s always a crowd around her," said Astarita.
Official End of Day 2 Chip Counts
Keep reading for the full end of day chip counts. Tomorrow one of these players will become the first ever Battle of Malta champion.
Pieter De Goede
Day 2 Video Show with Kara Scott and Dan “Jungleman” Cates
Battle of Malta host Kara Scott gives you an inside look at the action and checks in with high-stakes online legend Dan Cates before he went bust.
About Matthew Showell
Matt Showell was born and raised in the fair city of Vancouver, Canada. He now spends the bulk of his time traveling the globe, reporting on the world’s biggest poker tournaments.
Matt has lived and breathed poker since the end of high school when he learned the most common variants at home games with his friends. In university he made his living playing low-stakes cash games and multi-table tournaments online while following the professional circuit on television and the Internet and in magazines.
PokerListings.com is the world's largest and most trusted online poker guide, offering the best online poker bonus deals guaranteed, over $1m in exclusive freerolls every year and the most free poker content available on the Web.