Back in 2012 the Battle of Malta began as just a single, 349-player freezeout in the basement of the Portomaso Casino in St. Julian's, Malta.
Today the Battle of Malta is a 9-event, multi-million Euro poker festival at Casino Malta that’s a fixture on the European poker circuit and a must-play stop for thousands of recreational and professional poker players from around the globe.
How has the Battle of Malta come so far in such a short time? Here's where to find out with our complete history of the Battle of Malta including:
Summaries of every event since 2012
Complete list of past winners and prize pools
Full archive of live hand updates from 2012-2018
Special Battle of Malta interviews, recaps and feature stories
To jump to a complete list of all past Battle of Malta Main Event winners, click the link below:
Big changes came about for the 2018 Battle of Malta as earlier in the year the BoM brand and tournament was sold by PokerListings to the Eden Group, which runs and operates Casino Malta and the InterContinental Hotel Malta.
The venue was moved from the Hilton Malta to the massive Eden Arena in the InterContinental and the new space was much in demand.
With Casino Malta’s extensive partner casinos holding satellites throughout Europe and increased qualifiers running online, the Battle of Malta crushed its previous attendance records (and its new €1m guarantee) with 3,816 entrants.
The total prize pool for the Main Event soared to just under €2m with €300,000 originally reserved for the winner. After a 5-handed deal all five players walked away with €100,000+ including the eventual winner, France’s Julien Stropoli, who won €168,500.
Runner-up Maxime Canevet, also from France, took home the biggest share of the prize pool at €192,000.
New Host, New Stars
Long-time poker personality Laura Cornelius assumed the hosting duties for 2018 while a full live stream was run for every day of the tournament with hole cards and commentary added for the final table.
The annual Spirit of Poker Awards were discontinued but the pros and celebs still arrived in force. Included on the player sheets in 2018 were:
Espen Uhlen Jorstad
Also launched in 2018 was the first-ever Battle of Malta Ladies Event, sponsored by Lena Evans and her Poker League of Nations organization. The 2018 Battle of Malta final table and payouts:
The 2017 Battle of Malta hit two remarkable milestones:
2,000 entrants for the Main Event
€1 million prize pool for the Main Event
After 2016’s steady but static attendance expectations were modest for hitting the 2,000-entries mark in 2017 but the Main Event in fact eclipsed it fairly easily at 2,074 total entries.
Despite still having just its original €550 buy-in and a €500,000 guarantee the prize pool doubled to €1,005,890 and was the largest in BoM Main Event history.
As is fitting for the BoM, which puts such an emphasis on recreational players, Israeli farmer Nadav Lipsyzc stormed to the victory in his first-ever live tournament. Suggesting he might have “channeled Daniel Negreanu,” Lipsyzc refused to mkae a deal at the final table and walked away with the entire €200,000 first-place prize.
Four Israelis made the final table - all who came to the event on the same charter flight! Sweden’s Jonas Hähnert also made BoM history by becoming the first player to final table the BoM Main Event in back-to-back years. He finished ninth in 2016 and one better in eighth in 2017.
The official Battle of Malta 2017 final table and payouts:
New Host Gaëlle Garcia Diaz
French TV presenter and model Gaëlle Garcia Diaz took over the hosting duties and also played the Main Event but didn’t make the money. The final table was live streamed in its entirety with hole cards and commentary provided by Garcia Diaz and a rotating group of guests.
Eight side events in total were played at the 2017 Battle of Malta festival with over €400,000 paid out in prize pools. The fifth (and final) edition of the Spirit of Poker Awards were also awarded at the 2017 Battle of Malta. The winners were:
Living Legend: Per Hildebrand
Rising Star: Espen Uhlen Jorstad
Most Inspiring Player – Liv Boeree
Watch the interview and recap with the winner below:
For the first time since its humble beginnings in 2012 the Battle of Malta levelled off slightly in 2016 although it still broke its own record for biggest ever poker tournament in Malta.
With 1,813 entrants it was only slightly larger than the 2015 Main Event but the growing schedule of side events blew away all previous records. Just under €1.3 million was paid out across all events, setting another record.
One of the best stories of the BoM’s history played out in 2016 with two best friends from Sweden battling it out at the final table.
Robert Berglund and Rasmus Eriksson are from a small town (Falun) in Sweden and made their way to BoM together to share the experience. They got that experience and more when they finished 1st and 3rd, respectively.
Berglund took home the title and the biggest BoM payout to that date at €160,000 while Eriksson took home €67,000. Ireland's John Finnigan Linkins was second for €110,000.
As part of a bet the two Swedes made before the tournament, Eriksson had to get a tattoo of a Swedish horse for busting first.
The full final table and payouts from Battle of Malta Main Event 2016:
John Finnigan Linkins
Gonzalo Pro Fernandez
Robert Sverre Eik
First-Ever BoM Live Stream
Introduced for the first time at the 2016 Battle of Malta was a full live stream with commentary for the final table. Hosted by Roland Boothby and Rikard Åberg with a rotating stream of guests, the stream covered all 5 hours of the final table live.
Attendance was consistent with the year before and so was the star power as dozens of pros and celebrities again turned up to play. Included among them:
Poker pro Maria Ho hosted the event again for her third time. The fourth annual Spirit of Poker Awards, which recognize contributions to the game beyond just big tournament results, were awarded as follows:
The 2015 Battle of Malta continued the trend of perpetual record-breaking with another big leap. Not only did it again break the all-time record for biggest poker tournament on Malta it crossed the 1,800-player mark for the first time, finishing with 1,804 entries.
That made for an €875,000 prize pool (smashing the €500k guarantee again) and six-figure payouts for the top 3 finishers.
France’s Nicolas Proust was the last man standing this time and took home €110,000. Hendrik Koops, the third-place finisher, had the largest payout at €125,000 after a three-handed deal.
Norway's Henrik Jacobsen finished 2nd for €102,000.
Well known online high-stakes poker pro Carlo van Ravenswoud (Ravenswood13) finished 5th.
Five side events were played including the Siege of Malta Second Chance, a Deepstack Turbo, the PLO Knight's Crusade, the Grandmaster High Roller and the Win the Button.
The 2015 Battle of Malta was again nominated for a European Poker Award in the Best Poker Tournament Under 2k Buy-in category.
The full final table results and payouts for Battle of Malta Main Event 2015:
Carlo van Ravenswoud
Celebs Can't Stay Away
The tournament was again played upstairs in the Grandmaster Ballroom at the Hilton while the final table was played below in the casino. Host Maria Ho returned for her second time.
A raft of poker pros and celebrities were in the field for the BoM Main Event again in 2015 with notables being:
American Idol legend William Hung
Finnish model/singer Kim Herold
Dutch Field Hockey star Fatima Moreira de Melo
Tennis pro Raemon Sluiter
Norwegian TV star Tone Damli
Italian reality TV star Sabina Hiatullah
The list of established poker pros that attended was long and esteemed, headlined by:
The third annual Spirit of Poker Awards were awarded as follows:
Living Legend: Humberto Brenes
Rising Star: Charlie Carrel
Most Inspiring Player – Anatoly Filatov
Watch the final highlight video from the 2015 Battle of Malta below:
With the stakes now definitely raised from 2013 and a clear sign the demand for a low buy-in, recreational-centric poker tournament was almost bottomless, the Battle of Malta 2014 was again a record-breaker.
Several notable firsts came at the 2014 Battle of Malta including:
Four additional side events
Over 30 professional players took part
New Host Maria Ho
A new €500,000 guarantee for the Main Event
First six-figure payouts
First time played in the Grandmaster Ballroom
The extra space of the larger ballroom upstairs from the Portomaso Casino was very much needed as the 1,447 entries smashed the previous record for biggest poker tournament ever held on Malta. The two finalists – Bulgarian Antoan Katsarov and Malta’s Alan James Brincat – both earned six-figure paydays.
The two played the longest heads-up final to date and actually hit the hard stop of the casino’s 5 am closing time. They split the remaining prize pool according to chip counts. Katsarov claimed the title as the chip leader at the time and took home the now iconic BoM Main Event trophy.
Full results and payouts for the 2014 Battle of Malta Main Event final table:
Alan James Brincat
First European Poker Award
The 2014 Battle of Malta also won the European Poker Award that year for Best Poker Tournament Under 2k Buy-in. Among the notable professional players in attendance at BoM that year included:
Gaëlle Garcia Diaz
The second annual Spirit of Poker Awards were handed out as well as follows:
Living Legend: Thor Hansen
Rising Star: Dominik Panka
Most Inspiring Player – Shannon Shorr
Watch the final highlight video from the Battle of Malta 2014 below:
Building on the modest success of 2012, the 2013 Battle of Malta aimed even higher with popular poker personality and ESPN reporter Kara Scott brought back as the Battle of Malta host.
Poker pros including Dan “Jungleman” Cates, Naoya Kihara, Pierre Neuville, Ashton Griffin, Johannes Strassmann, Sam Holden, Giovanni Rizzo, Sofia Lövgren and Andreas Hoivold, among others, were brought on board to help add some cachet value.
It worked. The Battle of Malta main event drew an impressive 888 entries to jack the prize pool up close to a half-million Euros (more than double the €200k guarantee) and made the wider poker market around Europe sit up and take notice.
Semi-pro player Louis Cartarius from Germany took home €68,000 after a deal (the top prize was €80,000, originally) and the BoM had built some serious momentum for the years to come. Local Maltese player Konrad Abela finished 2nd.
The final-table results and payouts from the 2013 Battle of Malta Main Event:
Alessandro de Ioco
Biggest Poker Tournament Ever on Malta
Among the other additions for the 2013 Battle of Malta included the wild and fun-loving Dudesons from Finland as celebrity guests, an equally wild VIP party and plenty more celebrity guests.
The 888 entries in the Main Event set a record for the biggest-ever poker tournament ever held on Malta – a record the BoM has gone on to surpass every single year after.
The first annual Spirit of Poker Awards, which aimed to recognize poker players who contributed much more to the game than just tournament victories, were also handed out in three categories.
The first-ever recipients, who were on hand to receive their awards in a live ceremony at the 2013 Battle of Malta, were:
Living Legend: Pierre Neuville
Rising Star: Luca Moschitta
Most Inspiring Player – Naoya Kihara
Watch the wrap-up video from the 2013 Battle of Malta below:
Battle of Malta 2012
The first-ever Battle of Malta was, really, a shot in the dark. With plenty of poker festivals around Europe for the professional player, including the tour-de-forces of the European Poker Tour and WSOP Europe, it was hard to see a one-off, low buy-in tournament in Malta in November finding its footing.
As it turns out the Battle of Malta’s €550 Main Event – the same buy-in it still offers – was a much needed sweet spot to hit a growing group of recreational poker players that found the atmosphere at the big events a bit too stifling for their liking.
They wanted to play poker, and maybe win a nice take home prize, sure. But they also wanted to have a good time, share some laughs with fellow poker enthusiasts and relax in the sunshine of one of Europe’s most scenic destinations.
So the Battle of Malta was born and, despite some last-minute fears of a minuscule crowd, it did well.
A burgeoning local poker community fuelled by the expanding iGaming industry and the convenience of being so close to Sicily helped, and 349 players came through the doors to battle it out for the first-ever BoM crown.
Popular poker personality Kara Scott was brought in to host and a few notable pros, including WSOP Main Event Last Woman Standing Gaëlle Baumann, came along too.
Retired Italian doctor Nicodemo Piccolo won the event for €35,000 over runner-up, fellow Italian Giulio Astarita, but, more importantly, the seeds were planted for what might be the future for poker in Malta.
Watch the final highlight video from the first-ever Battle of Malta below:
All Past Battle of Malta Main Event Winners
Below find a list of all past Battle of Malta Main Event winners from 2012-present.
Listed are the number of players in the Main Event, the total prize pool, the winner, the second-place finisher and the final hands:
2018 3,816 €1,850,760Julien Stropoli vs. Maxime Canevet5♣ 3♣ vs. K♥ K♣
2017 2,074 €1,005,890Nadav Lipszyc vs. Yaron Borenstein4♣ 4♦ vs. A♣ 4♥
2016 1,813 €879,305Robert Berglund vs. John Finnigan LinkinsJ♥ 10♦ vs. A♦ 5♦
2015 1,804 €874,940Nicolas Proust vs. Henrik JacobsenA♥ K♠ vs. A♦ 2♦
2014 1,447 €701,795Antoan Katsarov vs. Alan James BrincatA♣ 8♥ vs. A♠ 5♠
2013 888 €430,680Louis Cartarius vs. Konrad AbelaA♥ Q♥ vs. A♠ J♣
2012 349 €169,265Nicodemo Piccolo vs. Giulio AstaritaA♣ Q♦ vs. A♦ 9♦
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