Behind the Scenes: PokerListings and the Battle of Malta

Published on 17 December 2014 by Pokerlistings 2156

For the second year in a row the PokerListings Battle of Malta set the record for the largest poker tournament ever held in Malta and this year we're taking you behind the scenes to find out what goes into one of Europe's hottest low buy-in poker events. Starting at the PokerListings video studio in Vancouver we fly to Malta to see if the 2014 Battle of Malta will cover the €500,000 guaranteed prize pool. We also go inside the head office to learn the story behind one of the most successful online poker affiliate companies in the world. Watch the full video and check for more action from the 2014 Battle of Malta.

Matthew Showell: Alright, packing for the 2014 Battle of Malta, Take one.

So, I was first hired by Poker Listings almost 10 years ago, as a tournament reporter at the 2006 World Series of Poker and since then, the website has just gotten huge. A couple years ago, we moved our head office to Malta. And for the last 3 years, we've hosted our own poker tournament called The Battle of Malta. This year, we put a 500,000 Euro guarantee on the main event, and right now we're packing our stuff. We're flying to Malta. And we're hoping for big crowds because 500,000 Euros is a lot of money so only time will tell. We'll see you in a couple of days. Good?

Man 1: Yeah, Good.

Showell: That's good?

Are you excited about the prize pool? It's pretty big. I mean, we knew it was gonna be big, but I think it's even bigger.

Man 2: Yeah, actually, it's my first tournament. My first real tournament ever, so I'm pretty excited.

Showell: Are you happy with the size of this tournament? It's the biggest tournament ever in Malta and its going to be a big prize pool.

Man 3: Of course, it is. I've played it the last two years and it's getting just bigger and bigger every year. So its really good.

Woman 1: Pretty much, we're gonna win it.

Woman 2: Yeah.

Woman 1: It's gonna be good. We're gonna party a lot tonight.

Woman 1 & Woman 2: In it to win it.

Showell: Alright, so to start with this, I'd like to hear the story. Think back, a few years, when there was no Battle of Malta poker tournament. Where did this idea come from? I've been told you were the original one to pitch this idea to Poker Listings. So tell us the story.

Ivonne Montealegre: It started with a very small idea. I went to Poker Listings. Pitched the idea. And I left the room thinking this is never going to happen. And it happened. It was incredible. From an event with 300 people, which was the first Battle of Malta, my expectations were just to enjoy it. Provide a fun event. Battle of Malta 2, packed. Record breaking. Largest poker tournament in Malta. And now, to this. It's pretty, pretty amazing. It's starting to become the milestone yearly tournament that makes the Maltese poker community proud.

Sirp de Wit: Poker Listings, yeah, almost now closing into 12 years, being online. Set up by 2 Swedish entrepreneurs. Basically just came out of school and they played in on the internet boom. And came up with a site with lots of reviews, strategy, news, basically to learn the game. And also to give you the possibility to play the game.

Now 12 years later, we have a very nice product. An online poker guide offering the latest news, strategy, rules. Still good signup bonuses for each player around the world to start playing straight on it. The headquarters is now here in Malta, so around 60 people, content managers mainly. But also we have the business side here. Quite a young company, lots of young people. Everybody loves the game of poker, so there's quite some poker going on here. Whatever department you're working with at Poker Listings, we try to get the best. We have some very skilled poker players. At the same time, we keep tracking to look for those competent in, who actually have a journalistic background. And that's, of course, a brilliant mix. Everybody full focuses. We're all better off. Development, the conflict managers, everybody, they're so much a part of it.

Montealegre: If you compare The Battle of Malta with an EPT, an LAPT, a big, big WSOP, 10,000 or more. This is a 550. It's quite affordable, but yet we're delivering a quality product. So you get small buy in, with the feeling of an international, well-delivered event. We're just growing every year. So the sky's the limit.