Gaëlle Garcia Diaz is coming back to the Battle of Malta. But this time the Belgian model, TV presenter and actress will do more than just play a little poker.
Garcia Diaz is stepping in as the Battle of Malta host this year three years after taking part in the tournament as a player.
As a player she reached an impressive 14th out of 593 players in the Siege of Malta Second Chance event. Now she'll also be in front the cameras as the new BOM headliner.
Before seeing her mic in hand in November we wanted to find out what she's been up to and what all this means to her.
Fond Memories of Battle of Malta
PL: What does it mean to you to become the Battle of Malta’s host?
Fond memories of BoM as player.
GGD: I’ve been to the Battle of Malta before and have very fond memories of the event.
It combines both the excitement of a big tournament in terms of prize pool due to the massive turn-out every year together with the vibe of a lower buy in tourney which is more friendly and easy going.
Presenting this poker tourney is presenting a tourney for the kind of player that I am -- not professional but just in love with the game. Which is a great feeling. But I also think that’s why it makes it such a good fit.
PL: How did you experience the tournament as a player in 2014?
GGD: Playing in the Battle of Malta Main Event was awesome. But to quote the ultimate poker movie Rounders, "Few players recall big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career.”
I guess that says enough how my main event went (laughs). I did had a nice run at the one of the side events where I remember I drew the dream opening table. it was chatty, fun and the chips where flowing my way.
PL: What made you want to accept the role as the BOM’s new host?
GGD: No one really had to convince me but the way tournament director Ivonne Montealegre approached me with so much drive and passion was certainly an added bonus!
PL: You’re always on the move and doing a million things, so a lot must have happened since 2014. Tell us a bit about what has been going on.
GGD: I’m not sure you’ll have enough space to write all of this (smile). The most important thing that happened is that I got engaged!
I’m super excited and we recently moved into a great place just outside of Brussels with our 2 cats, Gilles & Tibalt. I’ve played a bit less of poker lately than before but that made me able to do some acting work and I’m working hard on my Youtube channel.
PL: How do you see the Battle of Malta’s success?
GGD: When I think of the Battle of Malta I think of it as being an event that presents poker in its purest form for me: poker as a fun game played by hundreds of enthusiasts at the same time with the promise that one of them will go home with a nice wad of cash and every one will go home with a story.
PL: Being able to enjoy "summer" in Malta in November is always an exciting prospect, isn’t it?
Pure poker fun.
GGD: Exactly. It makes it a bit easier on those with only the story to tell as they can tell it poolside with some cocktails watching a sunset. (smile)
But I'd rather be at the final table then at the pool to be honest!
PL: The Battle of Malta is a very relaxed, very social tournament. That also seems like a good fit for you.
GGD: Of course. I’m not a pro player. I play to win but also to have fun. I’ve simply lost count of the number of great people I got to know during my years in poker and I hope to have many more great moments like this.
PL: As a host coming after such popular figures as Kara Scott and Maria Ho, what’s the hardest part? Bringing a new style, your own style?
GGD: I have a lot of respect for what Maria and Kara did, both on and of the felt. Personally I feel awesome in front of the camera due to the many EPTs and other poker shows I presented.
I don’t want to copy anyone’s style as I feel the way I am personally works the best for me. Behind my stack of tournament chips I also feel pretty good -- especially the kind of stack you have trouble finding me behind due to the height of it.
PL: Do you have a host role model (in poker or elsewhere)?
Inspired by Stapes!
GGD: In the poker world I love Joe Stapleton’s style! He has this fun approach which really makes poker accessible to a lot of new players.
I’m also a huge fan of Ellen Degeneres, she’s always so relaxed and natural behind the camera. My dream is to have a show like hers.
PL: Do you like to use your 'sexy' side when you’re hosting? What are some of your tips to play with the camera?
GGD: The Gaëlle in front of the camera will always have a bit of glamour without overdoing it. I feel this is part of the history of poker and the old Vegas days and I would like to keep this a bit in my presenting.
However those who have played me at the poker table can also attest that I can be very casual and not always the girl that you see in the glamour pics online. I’m also just your girl next door.
Much more than just a glamour girl.
PL: Do you have any advice for people who would like to become hosts?
GGD: Do it because you love it and don’t give up chasing your dreams. Also don’t pay too much attention to negative things other people say but take honest advice at heart.
PL: Do you already have a few surprises planned (without revealing too much)?
GGD: If I would tell you now it wouldn’t be a surprise. (smile)
PL: Are you ready to be escorted by armour-clad knights?
GGD: Of course! I'm planning to have them stay behind me when I play to intimidate my opponents. (laughs)
PL: Last year three Swedish players had a side bet to get a horse tattoo if one of the others reached the final table (two of them did and one won the tournament). Would you make a similar bet? And what tattoo would you get?
GGD: As opponents I would chose Christophe DeMeulder and Jonathan Abdellatif.
As for a tattoo I would chose: A little butterfly on a nice pink flower for Chris, a cute cat with big kitten-like eyes for Jonathan and a bad-ass dragon for myself!Poll
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