Smörgåsbord! Swedish Pals Cap Spectacular 2016 Battle of Malta!
What a way to wrap up the biggest Battle of Malta yet.
A record 1,813 players (9 more than last year) piled into the Hilton Hotel and Portomaso Casino this week to put €550 (or twice that) on the line and strive for poker glory in the Battle of Malta main event.
Combined, they built another record-setting prize pool of €879,305 and from beginning to end delivered on exactly what the BoM promises. A super fun, super high-value poker holiday with a major poker tour feel.
Today the final 9 of those battlers returned to the cash-game area of the casino to divvy up over €540,000 of it. And two best friends from Sweden took the lion's share of it.
Robert Berglund and Rasmus Eriksson began playing poker together six years ago in Falun, Sweden, and every year for the past three years have traveled to Malta to put those skills to the test.
A small cash from Rasmus last year was all they had to show for it until the past two days when they captured our imagination with parallel runs to the final table.
In the end Rasmus fell in third and Robert claimed the title, but when Rasmus stormed from the rail to embrace his friend after the final hand it was easy to see both had won.
Their third friend who made the trip, Johan Hinders, had 15% of each so he also gets to enjoy the spoils, making it quite possibly the best week three poker friends can ever share together.
With an extra side bet last longer for a free dinner, we're pretty sure none of them care who pays for the smörgåsbord. And that's what the Battle of Malta is all about.
Massive thanks to all who played theirhearts out today, including runner-up John Finnighan Linkins and Gonzalo Fernandez, who if not for a wild runout in a three-way pot might be holding the trophy himself tonight.
Good night from the Battle of Malta! And see you all (and a few more of your friends) next year!
Watch Final Table Highlight Video
Today's final table was the most exciting in Battle of Malta history and you can experience it for yourself in just three minutes.
Check out the highlights below and check back tomorrow for a full recap of the 2016 Battle of Malta.
Robert Berglund is the 2016 Battle of Malta Champion! (€160,000)
The man his best friend called "the best player at the table" has proven his friend prophetic.
Sweden's Robert Berglund is the 2016 Battle of Main Event champion and, with no deal in place, will take home the full €160,000.
Coming into the final table sixth in chips Berglund was slightly on the short side but masterfully worked his way up the table throughout the day.
His key hand came six-handed when he got the last 1.8m of his chips in with with A♦ K♠ and won, pushing him back up near 4m inchips and giving him some breathing room.
He won another big pot with 99 to bust Flaviano Cammasuli and surged again when he got John Finnighan to fold in a huge hand.
Once he hit 9 million it was all go and after the amazing AA-88-99 hand that stopped Gonzalo Fernandezfrom taking a massive lead 3-handed, Berglund took control.
With a roughly 3-1 chip lead heading into heads-up he put the pressure on immediately and took John Finnighan out shortly after.
A great performance for the young Swede, who along with best friend and roommate Rasmus Erikssonwill take home €227,000 of the massive €879,305 prize pool.
What a day! What a week for the Swedes! Back shortly with a tourney recap and all the great winner pics! Full final-table results and payouts:
1. Robert Berglund, Sweden - €160,000
2. John Finnighan, Ireland - €110,000
3. Rasmus Eriksson, Sweden - €67,000
4. Gonzalo Pro Fernandez, Spain - €56,000
5. Lawrence Brandt, USA - €46,500
6. Flaviano Cammisuli, Italy - €37,500
7. Robert Sverre Eik, Norway - €29,000
8. Giorgio Ligasacchi, Italy - €21,400
9. Jonas Hähnert, Sweden - €14,540Level37Blinds300000/600000Ante50000Players Left1Tables Left1
John Finnighan Linkins Out in 2nd (€110,000)
After a very impressive run through the Battle of Malta, including two full days on the feature table, John Finnighan Linkins' main event is over.
Facing an uphill climb against the surging Robert Berglund, Finnighan got the last of his chips in just moments ago.
He limped from the button with A♦ 5♦ and Berglund went all-in with J♥ T♦.
Board: 9♠ 8♠ 6♦ 9♠ J♠
With the river Jack the Swede hits his pair to take down the pot and the entire tournament.
His buddy Rasmus Eriksson flew in from the rail to give him a big hug and Berglund squeezed through to shake with his respected opponent.Level37Blinds300000/600000Ante50000
Berglund Puts the Pedal Down Immediately
The start of the heads-up has been all Robert Berglund so far.
He keeps hammering in the bets and getting folds from Finnighan.
He's won the first three pots.
Finnighan's down to 7.2m already and the Swedes in the crowd are clapping and roaring for every hand.Level37Blinds300000/600000Ante50000Players Left2Tables Left1
A Short Break Before Heads-Up; Berglund Up 3-1
And we're down to just two players in the 2016 Battle of Malta Main Event!
We're taking a short break to get things in position for the heads-up battle between Sweden's Robert Berglund and ireland's John Finnighan Linkins.
Here are the chip counts:
Robert Berglund 33,500,000
John Finnighan 11,800,000
We'll be back in a flash to watch it play to a thrilling finish! Join us here or on the live stream!Level37Blinds300000/600000Ante50000Players Left2Tables Left1
Rasmus Eriksson Says Hej Då in 3rd (€67,000)
The dream heads-up match between Swedish pals Rasmus Eriksson and Robert Berglund has fallen just short.
With just 5 big blinds Eriksson badly needed a double up and got one with A♠ 5♣ against Berglund's Q♠7♠ all-in preflop.
After the board fell 5♦ J♠ A♣ 9♠ 2♣, Eriksson was up to 5m (10 bigs) but it wasn't enough.
He was all-in again the next hand against his roommate with K♦ 4♦ against 9♣ 7♠.
The board fell 9♠ 5♠ Q♥ 3♣ Q♠ to give Berglund a pair and send Eriksson out in third place.
Berglund now has an overwhelming chip lead for the heads up against John Finnaghan Linkins.
Level36Blinds250000/500000Ante50000Players Left2Tables Left1
Lawrence Brandt is Glad He Came to Malta
Level36Blinds250000/500000Ante50000Players Left3Tables Left1
Rasmus Eriksson On the Brink
Rasmus Eriksson just lost an all-in with K♠ Q♠against John Finnighan with A♣ 5♦.
After the board fell 9♦ 6♦ 3♠ A♦ 2♦, the Swede has less than 5 bigs left.Level36Blinds250000/500000Ante50000Players Left3Tables Left1
Gonzalo Pro Fernández Out in 4th (€56,000)
The massive turn of fortune for Spain's Gonzalo Pro Fernández has come around a full 180 degrees and he's out in fourth.
When talk of a deal began five-handed, Fernández was the chip leader and in line for a six-figure payout.
When the deal was shut down by John Finnighan they resumed play and Fernández was on the brink of becoming the massive chip leader three-handed.
He got Aces in against 88 and 99 but a merciless straight on the board took that away from him.
He then lost two straight to the Swedes, Rasmus Eriksson and Robert Berglund, and found himself the short stack. He just lost the rest of it, again to Berglund
Berglund pushed from the button with 3♣ 3♥ and Fernández called with Q♥ J♥.
Board: T♦ 7♦ 6♣ 3♠ 8♠
And just like that the Spaniard has gone from chip leader to 4th place. Poker can be cruel.Level36Blinds250000/500000Ante50000Players Left3Tables Left1
Massive Reversal of Fortunes for Gonzalo Fernandez
Devastating turn of events.
After nearly becoming the massive chip leader three-handed, Gonzalo Fernandez is now the short stack and on the ropes.
After just losing that all in against Eriksson he lost another huge pot to Eriksson's best friend, Robert Berglund.
The Swede opened to 1.1m from the button and Fernandez went all-in from the big blind.
Eventually Berglund called. Showdown:
Berglund: 8♠ 8♥
Fernandez: A♣ J♣
Board: T♦ 2♠ 4♠ T♣ 3♥
Berglund now has almost half of the chips in play while Fernandez is down to 4.5m.Level36Blinds250000/500000Ante50000Players Left4Tables Left1
Double Up for Rasmus Eriksson
The Swede made a stop and go with 9♥ 5♥ against Gonzalo Fernandez.
The Spaniard opened to 1.1m and the Swede called in the big blind.
Flop: 8♠ 7♠ 4♥.
Eriksson went all-in for 4.3m and Fernandez called instantly with J♦ 7♥.
Turn and river fell 8♥ 6♦ to give the Swede a lucky straight and lucky double up.Level36Blinds250000/500000Ante50000Players Left4Tables Left1
Lawrence Brandt Out in 5th (€46,500)
Gonzalo Fernandez just got one of those bustouts back.
After that crazy three-way basically gave everyone their bets back, Lawrence Brandt got his stack in with J4 against Fernandez' TT.
The board came T♥ J♥ 4♦ 8♣ 6♥ and our student from the US is back out into the wilds of Europe on his poker journey.
He'll have a nice €46,500 to keep him company though.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000
WOWOWOWOW! AA v. 88 v. 99 Ends in Straight On Board
We just had one of the craziest hands we've ever seen at the Battle of Malta.
Gonzalo Fernandez thought he was about to become the massive chip leader of the 2016 Main Event when he found aces once more and got it all-in preflop against two players:
Lawrence Brandt with eights and Rasmus Eriksson with nines.
The board had other ideas, though.
It fell 34526, giving all players a straight on the board!
Brandt and Eriksson high-fived each other and Fernandez threw up his hands in despair, as if he couldn't believe his misfortune.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
BOM Freeroll at Betsafe/Betsson/NordicBet at 8 pm CET
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If you have an account at Betsafe, Betsson or NordicBet you can jump in right now with the password BOM2016.
Check out Betsafe and sign up right here.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000
No Deal! (Yet)
Word is that John Finnaghan kiboshed the deal for a couple of reasons - he didn't like the 10% that would be reserved for the winner and wasn't happy with his share.
So we're back in play and Rasmus Eriksson shoved his 5.5m stack on the first hand back.
Nobody called.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
Five-Way Deal Being Considered
It appears the final five are already discussing what a deal might look like and the tournament director is willing to facilitate this time, even though there's still 12 minutes left before the break.
Action is paused while they talk it over. Here's the basis for the discussion.
Gonzalo Fernandez 12,130,000
John Finnighan 11,330,000
Robert Berglund 9,525,000
Lawrence Brandt 6,330,000
Rasmus Eriksson 5,540,000
They're trying to split up €439,000 btw.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
Brandt Battles Back
Not done yet.
After that devastating blog from Gonzalo Fernandez, Lawrence Brandt was all in on the next hand.
Brandt shoved his 2.5m all-in from the cut-off and Robert Berglund called in the big blind.
Brandt: K♠ 8♠
Berglund: J♦ 7♦
Board: 3♦ 5♥ 8♦ Q♣ 5♣
Brandt is back up to 5.5m just like that.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
Gonzalo Gone Wild! Double Up Shoots Him Over 11m
Gonzalo Fernandez just scored a major double up against Lawrence Brandt.
The American made it 1m from the button and the Spaniard moved all-in from the small blind for 5.8m.
Brandt: A♥ T♣
Fernandez: K♠ J♦
Board: 9♣ K♥ Qc 5♦ 6♥
And the former shorty doubles up to over 11m.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
Unhappy Chip Leader
Right after Berglund took a huge chunk out of Finnighan's stack, his buddy Rasmus Eriksson did the same.
Finnighan opened the very next hand from the cut-off to 850k.
Now Eriksson moved all-in for 5m.
Finnighan folded once more, grumbled a bit more and looks like a very unhappy chip leader right now.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
Berglund Bags Huge Pot; Now Breathing Down Finnighan's Neck
Robert Berglund is now second in chips after a huuuuge pot against John Finnighan Linkins.
Finnighan opened up from the button to 850k. In the small blind Berglund made it 2.35m to go. Finnighan called.
Flop: A♠ J♥ 3♥. There were 5m chips in the middle already (one ninth of all the chips in play) and the pot was destined to grow even bigger.
Berglund bet 1.25m and Finnighan called.
Turn: 8♠. With 7.5m in the middle Berglund immediately moved all-in for 4.4m.
Finnighan moaned and groaned but eventually shrugged and folded.
Berglund is up to more than 11m now and Finnighan's lead is shrinking.Level35Blinds200000/400000Ante50000Players Left5Tables Left1
Sally Jane Stephens is on a High-Roller Heater
While the main event final is drawing all of our attention over here our High Roller event is on in the other cash-game room of the Portomaso Casino.
The €1,320 Grandmaster High Roller drew 107 entries and, although it was planned for one day, there was no way we could finish it last night. Instead the tournament was stopped with 28 players left, which was still 16 away from the money.
There are now just nine players left. Here’s an overview on who’s still there and what stacks they’re taking to the finale.
Seat 1: Sally Jane Stephens (England) - 344,000
Seat 2: Michael Korna (Switzerland) - 487,000
Seat 3: Andreas Per Noster Wedin (Sweden) - 484,000
Seat 4: Ronni Borg (Denmark) - 270,000
Seat 5: Aladin Mrkaljevic (Denmark) - 324,000
Seat 6: Kework Besiktasliyan (Holland)- 378,000
Seat 7: Matan Hazut (Israel) - 141,000
Seat 8: Luca Beretta (Italy) - 390,000
Seat 9: Vladislavs Petrovs (Latvia) - 421,000
For the first time a female player has reached the high roller final, which is a nice development. Sally Jane Stephens has been on a heater lately and she’s managed to run her stack up enough to be in the middle of the pack.
Plenty of big-name players took part in the Grandmaster High Roller – Chris Bjorin, Maria Ho, Charlie Carrel, Jackie “Poker Mama” Cachia, and former BOM main event runner-up and local hero Konrad Abela included - but fell short of making the money.
The main prize is over €37k in this event so it’ll still be a long battle.
Huge 3-Way Pot Sees John Finnighan Retake Lead!
John Finnighan opened up from UTG to 630k and both Rasmus Eriksson on the button and Lawrence Brandt in the small blind called.
Flop: 6♥ 9♦ 3♥. All players checked.
Turn: A♠. After two checks Eriksson took a stab at the pot and bet 730k. Both other players called.
River: 8♠. Now Finnighan bet 2.6m after a check and Eriksson immediately folded.
Brandt thought for two minutes and slid over 26 grey chips.
Finnighan turned over A♣ 8♥ for a back door two pair and the American mucked his hand.
Finnighan is up to almost 17m now.Level34Blinds150000/300000Ante40000Players Left5Tables Left1
Flaviano Cammasuli Clipped in 6th (€37,500)
Our semi-local hero, Flaviano Cammasuli, is out.
The Italian went all-in from the small blind with A♠ 3♣.
Robert Berglund found 9♦ 9♣ and called from the big blind.
Board: 2♦ 3♥ K♦ 2♠ 6♦
And with that our last Italian is out.Level34Blinds150000/300000Ante40000Players Left5Tables Left1
Arriba Abajo al Centro pa Dentro!
That means a double up for Gonzalo Fernandez
The Spaniard hasn't played many hands today but just found one that was quite decent: Aces.
He shoved UTG all-in for his (rather tiny) remaining stack and behind him John Finnighan tagged along with sixes.
The board fell T-3-3-3-J and the Spaniard took down the pot.
He's up to 3.8m now and his rail is heading back to the bar for another round of pints.Level34Blinds150000/300000Ante40000Players Left6Tables Left1
Flaviano Folds to Finnighan Aggression
Third hand after the break John Finnigan Linkinsopened up to 660k from the cut-off.
Italian Flaviano Cammisuli repopped it to 1.4m.
Finnighan had non of it and slid another 2m over the betting line.
The Italian once more folded his hand to Finnighan's aggression and is dwindling rapidly.Level34Blinds150000/300000Ante40000Players Left6Tables Left1
PokerListings Editor-in-Chief on Live Stream
You haven't forgot about our 888poker/NordicBet sponsored live stream have you?
Not only is the action up-close and personal but PokerListings Editor-in-Chief Matt Showell is holding it down on the mic with Roland right now.
We don't want to overstate things but he has a pretty sultry baritone you might find appealing over some live poker.
The Twitch counter says there's over 500 fellow poker fans watching along so feel free to jump in the discussion and ask him just how he keeps his voice sounding so silky smooth.
Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Chips and a Break
We've hit the first break of the final table and the six combatants have taken 15 minutes to catch their breath.
Each of them has locked up €37,500 at minimum but the pay jumps get a bit steeper from here on in.
American Lawrence Brandt has taken over the chip lead from John Finnighan Linkins but it's slight.
Spanish pro Gonzalo Fernandez has taken over as the short stack with just 2.2m. He'll be making a move pretty quickly after the break.
Lawrence Brandt 13,900,000
John Finnighan 13,200,000
Flaviano Cammisuli 6,000,000
Rasmus Eriksson 5,500,000
Robert Berglund 5,000,000
Gonzalo Fernandez 2,200,000
A reminder of the payouts from here on in:
6. €37,500Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Not Bad for Your Second Live Tournament Ever
Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Levelling War, Huge Pot, Chip Lead for Lawrence Brandt!
That’s what we want to see here!
Lawrence Brandt and Rasmus Eriksson just played an epic hand.
Eriksson raised pre-flop from the cut-off and Brandt made it 1.075m from the button.
Eriksson came over the top with a 4-bet to 2.5m and Brandt called.
Flop: A♠ 8♦ 7♥. Both players checked.
Turn: 4♥. Now Eriksson slid out a 1.35m bet. Brandt called.
River: T♠. With more than 8m in the middle, both players checked.
Showdown: Eriksson showed K♥ 3♥ for a busted flush draw and a very creative 4-bet preflop.
Brandt showed 9♦ 7♦ for an equally creative hand and 4th pair. That was good enough to rake in this huge pot and propel the American to the top of the leaderboard.
Brandt is on about 14.5m now; full updated counts at the break in 7 minutes.Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Big Double Up for Robert Berglund
John Finnighan Linkins opens from middle position with K♥ Q♣ and a rather short-stacked Robert Berglund goes all-in for 1.8m with A♦ K♠.
Finnighan calls getting decent odds and, after the board falls A♣ Q♠ A♥ 3♣ 3♥, the Swede doubles up for a bit of breathing room.
Berglund doubles up to 4m.Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Not Bad for Your First-Ever Live Tournament
Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Have You Tried the Live Stream?
Live right now!
While we're glad to have you here on the live updates, we've also got a live stream going for your viewing pleasure.
Global Poker League anchor Roland Boothby is holding down the fort as the main host with a revolving group of great guests.
VideoSlots' Rikard Åberg, NordicBet poker manager Jorstein and PokerListings' own Dirk Oetzmann have all taken a spin and likely will again.
Right now it's Roland and our fantastic host Maria Ho running the show. Check it our over here.Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
Robert Sverre Eik Succumbs in 7th (€29,000)
Our short-stacked Norwegian Robert Sverre Eik has finished his second-ever live tournament in 7th place.
Primarily a freelance photographer, Sverre Eik was getting desperately short after that last go-round with Rasmus Eriksson and shoved with K♣ 5♥ for 1.8m .
Lawrence Brandt called in the big blind with Q♦ J♠.
Brandt hit top pair on a J♣ 8♠ 9♦ T♥ 9♣ board and no king arrived to help Sverre out.
Any way you look at it it's an amazing run for someone in just his 2nd tournament live. His other was the Norwegian Championships, which he also cashed.
2 for 2. We wish we all had that kind of success rate.Level33Blinds120000/240000Ante20000Players Left6Tables Left1
888poker, Betsafe Make BoM Final Table Happen
Can do it without 888poker
As we've said before you can't make a gigantic spectacle like the Battle of Malta happen without the help of some generous sponsors.
This year we're blessed with plenty, highlighted by our principal BoM Main Event Final Table sponsors 888poker.
Our co-Platinum Sponsors Betsafe, Betsson and NordicBet are also essential for providing our first-ever live stream in expert fashion along with PrimeProductionTeam.
Silver sponsors Guts Poker and PlanetWin365aren't to be overlooked either along with our Classic Sponsor partypoker.
Again, our unending thanks. Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left7Tables Left1
Norway-Sweden Stand-Off Ends in Stand-Down
On the ropes.
Robert Sverre Eik is on life support now after losing a big hand against Rasmus Eriksson.
The Swede opened UTG and Eik called in the big blind.
Flop: A♠ 7♦ 6♣.
Sverre Eik bet 475k and Eriksson called.
Eik checked and Eriksson bet 2m, putting the Norwegian all-in. Eventually Sverre-Eik folded. He has only around 1.5m left now.Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left7Tables Left1
John Finnighan Takes Some Back
Flaviano Cammisuli and John Finnighan go at it once more in the very next hand.
This time Finnighan raises from the button, c-bets the T♥ 6♦ 5♠ flop and bets on a K♠ turn.
The Italian calls and there are more than 3m chips in the middle.
The Q♣ river is checked by both players.
Finnighan shows down K♦ 7♥ for top pair.
The Italian can only muster 7♣ 7♦ and loses a decent chunk of his stack.Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left7Tables Left1
Chip Leaders Clash, Cammasuli Gets There
A big pot just transpired between the two chip leaders John Finnighan Linkins and Flaviano Cammisuli.
Finnighan raised from the small blind to 500k. Te Italian called in the big blind.
Flop: A♠ 7♦ 3♥.
Finnighan bets 535k, Cammisuli calls.
Turn: 8♦. Finnighan checks, the Italian makes it 875k to go and the chipleader calls.
Both players check. Finnighan shows down K♠ 8♥ for a turned pair; the Italian J♠ T♠ for a rivered better pair.Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left7Tables Left1
Giorgio Ligasacchi Out in 8th (€21,400)
Italian Giorgio Ligasacchi, who came into the final table eighth in chips, just went out in 8th.
He was down to 1.2m and moved all-in against John Finnighan Linkins.
Ligasacchi: A♦ 7♦
Finnighan: J♦ 6♦
Board: A♠ J♥ 8♠ 6♥ 4♣
The chip leader just keeps getting richer as he hits a big two pair.
Ligassachi's departure leaves Flaviano Cammasuli as our last italian at the final table.
Said Ligasacchi as he left the table: "Too bad I'm already out -- and in a very similar hand to last year when i busted in 152nd. Next BOM I will do better!"Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left7Tables Left1
1m Pot for Gonzalo
Camminsuli opens to 350k, Brandt calls, Gonzales Pro moves all-in for 2.6m.
After two folds, he's rakes in the 1m pot.
His rail makes some stand-out noises and he goes over for a quick clap.Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left8Tables Left1
Big Scoop for Rasmus Eriksson
Limping ... sure why not?
That’s probably what the Swede Rasmus Erikssonthought and opened up by limping on the button. The small Blind and big blind called/checked and they saw a flop:
K♦ T♠ 3♣
After two checks Eriksson slid out 340k. In the small blind the American Lawrence Brandt quickly made it 900k to go.
After Giorgio Legsacchi folded in the big blind, Eriksson called after some deliberation.
The 2♠ turn was checked again by Brandt. Eriksson eventually bet once more, this time 640k. But instead of check raising once more Brandt this time elected to fold his hand, leaving the 2.4m pot for the Swede.Level32Blinds100000/200000Ante20000Players Left8Tables Left1
A Bit of Flavor from the Casino Floor
Here's what things look like around here:
Out of Nowhere, A Flop
Eik breaks the hammerlock
Table bully and chip leader John Finnighan Linkinsraised from the CO.
Robert Sverre Eik called in the big blind.
Flop: K♥ 7♥ 2♦.
Sverre Eik bet 500k and after Finnighan folded the Norwegian took down this 900k pot.
This was the first hand Finnighan has lost at this table.Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left8Tables Left1
John Finnighan Linkins Comes Out Firing
Unleashing the big stack
The big stack, John Finnighan Linkins, has definitely come out firing.
Finnighan took down 4 pots in the first orbit, def. bullying the shorter stacks.
The pots haven't been huge but he's added around 1m to his stack.
That puts him up around 12m, which only cements his position as the man to beat.Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left8Tables Left1
A Lot of Raise and Take It
Other than Jonas' bust out hand, no other flops to be seen so far.
Robert Berglund was all-in once, but nobody wanted to tag along.
All other pots have been raise and take pre-flop. But we're still in the first orbit. Things should oosen up pretty quickly.
John Finnighan Linkins has added a few small pots to his stack to increase his lead and Lawrence Brandt also has a couple.Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left8Tables Left1
Hähnert Goes Quickly in 9th (€14,540)
With just 1m in chips coming in we knew Swede Jonas Hähnert needed to make a move quickly.
He did in just the second hand at the table.
Lawrence Brandt calls with A♦ Q♦.
Board: 9♦ 3♥ Q♠ 5♠ K♣
The 1st Swede is out but given how thrilled he was just to make the final table yesterday we're pretty sure he's none too worried about it.
There's also that beer to enjoy.Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left9Tables Left1
"Normal Table, Except You Play for 160k Euros"
Our TD summed things up nicely in his opening remarks:
"Have fun, good luck, normal table, except you play for 160k euros."
That pretty much covers it.
One player who's clearly taking the "normal table" idea to heart?
Short stack Jonas Hähnert, who has a beer on the go already.Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left9Tables Left1
Seat 3 for the chip leader
Seat 1: Giorgio Liggasacchi 2,200,000
Seat 2: Gonzalo Fernandez 2,900,000
Seat 3: John Finnighan Linkins 10,840,000
Seat 4: Flaviano Cammasuli 6,215,000
Seat 5: Robert Berglund 2,950,000
Seat 6: Robert Sverre Eik 2,500,000
Seat 7: Jonas Hähnert 1,000,000
Seat 8: Rasmus Eriksson 8,795,000
Seat 9: Lawrence Brandt 8,000,000Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left9Tables Left1
Unbagged and Ready to Go!
The players have taken their seats, unbagged their chips, made some pretty stacks and we're about ready to go.
Maria Ho is prepping for her speech and we'll be underway with the action momentarily.
We'll start things off in Level 31 with blinds at 80k/160k and a 20k ante.
Follow along right here or on the live stream!Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left9Tables Left1
Gonzalo Fernandez is Not Alone
Gonzalo Fernandez will not be alone at the final table of the 2016 Battle of Malta.
The Spaniard will be joined by many players who have both played in the tournament and who also reside in Malta.
The "Rail" so far belongs to the Spanish, who are already warming up their throats to support "Monsalinho."
Gonzalo has also received a lot of support through Twitter @PokerListingsES with the hashtag #BattleOfMalta:Level31Blinds80000/160000Ante20000Players Left9Tables Left1
The Battle of Malta is Known for Miracles
Nine combatants return in less than one hour to determine this year's champion at the 2016 Battle of Malta.
One of them comes in with almost 1/4 of all the chips. John Finnighan Linkins from Ireland has over 10.8m - almost 70 big blinds - and he’s definitely the early favorite to take down the whole thing.
Three other players also have a strong fighting chance: Rasmus Eriksson (8.8m chips), Lawrence Brandt(8.0m) and Flaviano Cammisuli (6.21m).
The other five remaining players all have roughly 18 big blinds or less, thus needing a bit of good fortune to make something happen.
Under the most pressure is certainly Jonas Hähnert. The Swede has less than 10 big blinds and will need something big to happen to survive the first hour.
But the Battle of Malta is known for miracles – last year's winner Nicolas Proust was all-in for his tournament life 6 times at the final table (5 times as the underdog) and eventually took the tournament down.Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000Players Left9Tables Left1
2 Hours to 2016 BoM Final Table; €541,440 to Pay Out
The day we've all been waiting for is here.
We're just 2 hours out for the 2016 Battle of Malta final table and the buzz is already building down here in the Portomaso Casino.
An eclectic and endearing group of nine players, which you can read more about below, will take their seats around the table to play for, in most cases, life-changing money.
And that, really, is what the Battle of Malta is all about. An accessible buy-in for the average poker player, a chance to experience a 'major poker tour' feel and, if it all works out in the end, the chance to win more money playing poker than they might have ever imagined.
In this case the top prize is €160,000; there's also €110,000 waiting for the runner-up, too. Last year our three finalists decided to chop it up so all three took home six-figures; third-place finisher Hendrik Koopsgot the most at €125k.
However it all shakes down this time the final 9 will split up €541,440 - an astonishing number. It's sure to be thrilling and an experience none of our final tablists are likely to forget.
We'll be writing about all the big hands/bustouts as we go right here on this page but you can also watch it all "live" without hole cards on our live stream page here.
Read on below to find out a bit more about our final-tablists!Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000Players Left9Tables Left1
Malta 9 Bio: John Finnighan Linkins, Ireland (10,840,000)
Name: John Finnighan Linkins
Chip Count: 10,840,000
Occupation: Online gaming; works for a betting company
Playing poker since: Played a bit of poker online on the side, some 500-1k events in Malta. Went home last year to play the Irish Open. This is his biggest run in a live event.Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Rasmus Eriksson, Sweden (8,795,000)
Name: Rasmus Eriksson
Chip Count: 8,795,000
Occupation: Office job
Quote: "The money means a lot for me. I have a normal job back in Sweden so even to make the min-cash at the final table is pretty huge. But I will try to play my best and not think of the money but the place of €160,000 is really huge and I want it so I will go for it."
Fun fact: Eriksson is best friends with fellow final-table player Robert Berglund. They (along with one other friend) have a bet where if one player made the final table the other will get a tattoo. Looks like a few people are getting inked.Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Lawrence Brandt, USA (8,000,000)
Name: Lawrence Brandt
Chip Count: 8,000,000
Residence: Phoenix, Arizona
Occupation: Student (Finance and Business)
Twitter Handle: @whothatlb
Plays poker since: Age of 12. "I grew up in Texas!"
Hobbies: Traveling and sports
Why he's at BOM? Originally from Texas, Brandt has been traveling around Europe. He went to France, Sweden, Italy ...
How his tournament went: End of Day 1 average stack. Then first hands of Day 2 he was down to 20k. Hit a straight and went up. At 99 players left he won a coin-flip AK > QQ to stay alive (flush on the river!) Finished strong.
About the tournament: "It's an awesome experience. Of course I’m hoping for the win now."Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Flaviano Cammisuli, Italy (6,215,000)
Name: Flaviano Cammisuli
Chip Count: 6,215,000
Residence: Pachino (Siracusa)
Occupation: Owner of a pizzeria and professional poker player
Playing poker since: 7 years
Hobbies: Plays football as a midfielder.
About your tournament?: "It's been a great tournament for me. I won a couple of coin flips and a lot of important small pots. 11 left I lost a big pot but I'm very happy nonetheless"Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Gonzalo Fernández, Spain (2,900,000)
Name: Gonzalo Pro Fernández
Residence: Malta (Hometown: Madrid)
Occupation: Poker Pro
Twitter Handle: @monsalinho
Playing poker since: 2011
Hobbies/Other Stuff: Going out with friends.
Quotes: “I started the day very short. I had been between 10-17 big blinds before the bubble burst yesterday … and today as well. I won my first four hands today and I doubled up after that. After that, I felt very comfortable in the table, quiet ... and here I go.
"I’m not worried about the shortstack. I’m playing well in this position. Let’s go for the trophy! For the Spaniards!”Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Robert Berglund, Sweden (2,895,000)
Name: Robert Berglund
Chip Count: 2,895,000
Occupation: Aspiring poker pro
Quotes: "It's been a tradition for us. We hadn't had much success so far but this year we both made the final table."Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Robert Sverre Eik, Norway (2,500,000)
Name: Robert Sverre Eik
Chip Count: 2,500,000
Occupation: Freelance photographer
Twitter Handle: @PhotoRobertEik
Playing poker since: For 15 years; says this is his second live tournament ever
Hobbies/Other Stuff: I have 3 children, they take all my time.
Quotes: "It has been up and down. I went from 37k to 550k on Day 2, that was pretty amazing. I have been short much of the tournament, but I also like to play the short stack. I like to take risks and let the flips decide."Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Giorgio Ligasacchi, Italy (2,200,000)
Name: Giorgio Ligasacchi
Chip Count: 2,200,000
Residence: Toscolano Maderno (Brescia)
Playing poker since: 7-8 years
Hobby: all kind of sports
About your tournament?: "This is my third Battle of Malta, last year I finished in the money (150th). I was lucky at the beginning of Day 2 (K-Q vs K-K), then everything ran very smoothly."Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000
Malta 9 Bio: Jonas Hähnert, Sweden (1,000,000)
Name: Jonas Hähnert
Chip Count: 1,000,000
Playing poker since: For 20 years, played professionally online for three years
Hobbies/Other Stuff: Tennis, family and friends
Quotes: "It was actually a pretty smooth ride for me except during the final two tables where I was very short. I have really enjoyed playing this tournament.
"I usually drink only water the first 3-4 hours when playing and then I start loosening up and have some drinks to make it more fun."Level30Blinds60000/120000Ante10000