There was an air of a farewell performance pervading EPT Malta this week.
Dwindling player numbers this time around were the main topic and ii’s a pity, because the venue and location are great and poker players are happy to go there.
Some players even say there’s no better place to go than Malta in autumn.
If you’re one of the people named below, though, you certainly walked away from the Portomaso Casino with a smile on your face.
Astonishing Turnaround for Aliaksei Boika
Belarussian Aliaksei Boika is the winner of the EPT Malta 2016 main event and it took an astonishing, late turnaround to do it.
Leaving Malta in style.
The Swedish runner-up, Mats Karlsson, held a massive chiplead almost all the way through the final table - even having 9 million of the 14 chips in play at one point.
When heads-up began Karlsson had a chiplead of 4 to 3 but his Belorussian opponent needed just a few hands to take the lead and only one level to grind the Northerner down.
Besides the two heads-up combatants he main event attracted 468 players, which made for a prize pool of €2.2 million. Boika received €355,700 for a week of poker while Karlsson had to settle for €260k and second place.
While Boika was happy to win the title the happiest player at the final table might have been Bastia Dohler, who won his ticket online in a €10 Spin and Go.
The final table had no big names on it which was a surprise as Dominik Panka (9th), BOM winner Louis Cartarius (10th), Ole Schemion (13th), Benjamin Pollak (14th), Davidi Kitai (22nd), Ismael Bojang (28th), and Dan Shak (31st) all had deep runs.
EPT Malta Main Event Final-Table Payouts
It was the smallest main event since the EPT Copenhagen in 2012 but it wasn’t just the low number of players that made the whole event feel like a farewell performance.
It was the second last event in the history of the tour and, as PokerStars have shown no intention of coming back, we can be pretty sure Malta won’t be on the schedule of next year’s Championship tour.
Fast, Yan, Jedlicka Take High Rollers
Dietrich Fast from Germany won the first High Roller event to begin the festival - €10,300 single re-entry – for €174,600.
He survived a final table that included Dario Sammartino, Pratyush Buddiga, Davidi Kitai and Vladimir Troyanovsky.
Kitai was also able to make the final table of the €25k event, but it was David Yan who was the last man standing. He cashed for €465,800.
It was the second tournament win for the New Zealander after taking down the main event of the WSOPC in Berlin earlier this month.
Max Silver, Ole Schemion, and Adrian Mateos also final tabled an event that started with just 46 players.
Stefan Jedlicka won the last €10,300 high roller heads-up versus Pierre Neuville. It took more than three and a half hours to decide this battle.
Jedlicka pulled away several times, but Neuville kept finding a way back – until eventually he didn’t. For a full recap of all the events, check the PokerStars blog.