Italian Nicodemo Piccolo is the first ever Battle of Malta champion.
PokerListings.com’s first ever live poker tournament is over and retired Italian doctor Nicodemo Piccolo is the inaugural Battle of Malta champion.
Piccolo, a former anesthesiologist who has been playing poker for more than 40 years, wasn’t fazed by the long days and said after the win that he felt happy and relaxed throughout the entire final table.
“I love the game. I used to play with friends and we used to play more than 72-hour sessions at a time,” he explained as to how he was able to deal with the long hours.
Despite playing poker for more than four decades the first BOM champion has only been playing No-Limit Hold’em tournaments for a few short years.
In that time he’s racked up well over $150,000 in live tournament earnings, the biggest score being a $65,000 win on the Italian Poker Tour in Nova Gorica.
Piccolo defeated start-of-day chip leader Giulio Astarita heads-up who received €22,300 for his runner-up finish.
Also making strong finishes were Canadian ex-pat Roger Hardy who cashed twice at this year's World Series of Poker, and UK pro Chris "DOOFUS86" Kiefert.
Giulio Astarita began Day 3 with the chip lead and made it all the way to heads-up play before making his exit.
The Italian was at a severe chip disadvantage at the beginning of the one-on-one match but managed to fight his way back to almost exactly even before losing a massive preflop all-in.
The money went in with Piccolo holding A-Q against Astarita’s A-9. The best hand held up and when the stacks were counted down it turned out Astarita was left with a single 10k chip.
Astarita was all-in blind and doubled up. The same thing happened the very next hand.
It seemed like an epic comeback might be in the works but on his third all-in his luck ran out.
So while A-Q wasn’t technically the hand that ended the tournament for Piccolo, it was definitely the one that earned him the Battle of Malta title.
Battle of Malta Daily Show with Kara Scott
Host Kara Scott gives you the lowdown on Nicodemos Piccolo's charge to victory at the first ever Battle of Malta.
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.
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