A €2 million Main Event prize pool? 4,000+ entries? More record-setting side events with their own guarantees?
The Battle of Malta poker festival, now owned by the Eden Group and Casino Malta, reached stratospheric heights in 2018 but, according to the team already planning next year's festivities, that was just a taste of what's to come next.
“The Eden Arena at the InterContinental Conference Centre is a spectacular venue for a poker tournament," said Event Coordinator Telly Bartolo, "and we’re just delighted that it was so full of players throughout the festival.
"Plans are already underway to ensure that registration at next year’s Battle of Malta will be a lot easier. We also plan to have more tables, more rooms – and more side events.”
Biggest BoM Ever ... By Far
The Battle of Malta had set plenty of records over the years but nothing quite like in 2018.
Moving into the expanded Eden Arena space at the InterContinental Hotel and tapping into Casino Malta's extensive casino partner network, poker players and satellite winners poured into the BoM like never before.
By the time the final numbers were tallied on Day 1D 3,816 entrants were registered in the BoM Main Event - almost twice the previous record of 2,074.
That shattered the €1m guarantee and set the prize pool at €1,850,760. It was ultimately shared by 570 players and saw 5 players take home over €100,000 after a deal was made.
For a €550 buy-in, that's an extraordinary return on investment. France's Julien Stropoli (who lives in Malta) was the winner and took home €168,500 but runner-up Maxime Canevet topped him with €192,000.
2018 Battle of Malta Main Event Final Table Results
1. Julien Stropoli €168,500* (€300,000)
2. Maxime Canevet €192,000*
3. Erik Ostergaard €139,500*
4. Mantas Urbonas €121,500*
5. Abdallah Fakhreddine €108,500*
6. Andy Hills €53,000
7. Gustav Vadenbring €41,000
8. Mateusz Moolhuizen €30,000
9. Jerry Mangum €23,000
* denotes 5-handed deal
Including the Main Event and the side events the 2018 Battle of Malta festival saw 13,000 tournament entries overall - a dazzling turnout and easily a record for biggest poker festival held on Malta.
The first-ever BoM Ladies Event, the 888 Crazy Eights and the PLO Double Chance were a few of the new favorites alongside the Siege of Malta Second Chance event and the BoM High Roller.
Needless to say, the tournament venue was packed day-after-day throughout the six-day festival and made this year’s Battle of Malta a spectacular success.
Big Names, Big Plans for 2019 Battle of Malta
Over 55 nationalities were represented in the BoM Main Event and among them were some of the game's biggest names and faces.
Some were here for their first time; some were repeat visitors who were drawn back to the amazing value and great spirit of Battles of Malta past. A short list of some of our most famous attendees in 2018:
- Patrik Antonius
- Boris Becker
- Ana Marquez
- Fabrice Soulier
- Fernando Pons
- Sofia Lövgren
- Espen Uhlen Jorstad
- Anthony Gardner
- John Arne Riise
Past BoM champions back for more included Nicolas Proust and Nadav Lipszyc, alongside the entirety of the 2017 Battle of Malta Main Event final table.
With its enchanting history and spectacular setting, Malta is a place that can win your heart and if you make a few thousand (or a hundred thousand) euro along the way, you tend to come back.
Who will be back for 2019? Well, that list is still tbd but the dedicated staff of Casino Malta are already deep in the planning stages of a bigger and better BoM for 2019.
Registration will be smoother, amenities and side events will be expanded and the prize pool, you can expect, will balloon again.
Is a €2 million prize pool and 4,000 entries out of the question? Far from it. In fact, it may even be the new floor for what has become one of Europe's must-play poker events.
“We’d like to thank absolutely everyone who contributed to making Battle of Malta 2018 such an outstanding success," said Event Director Diane Fenech. "All the players, their friends and families, the tournament, casino and hotel staff, our many sponsors and all the media.
"The numbers were simply staggering this year."
Catch up on last year's excitement over on our Battle of Malta coverage page and keep your eyes peeled for live and online satellites coming soon to Casino Malta partners in the New Year
See you at Battle of Malta 2019 - you won't want to miss it!