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The Festival Series Malta – A Sweltering Mixed Games Success
The Festival Series landed last week at the grand Portomaso Casino in St. Julians, Malta. The series, best known for its wide range of mixed games, had its fifth stop in its two-year existence. It promised to be a real spectacle with a big Main Event, mixed games such as H.O.R.S.E, 8-Game and OFC, but also the first Mystery Bounty event in the history of The Festival Series and of course our own PokerListings Championship was part of the crowded schedule. Three full months in advance, players from all over the world were able to qualify online and turned out in large numbers for this eccentric event, this time held in the Mediterranean sun.
In previous editions of The Festival Series, the PokerListings Championship has always been at the top of the schedule, and this time would be no different. However, this time the event had no less than three starting days, a very promising initiative. They weren't disappointed as 354 players eventually turned up, resulting in a €250 buy-in for a total prize pool of €76,464. Never before has the prize pool been as big as in Malta, and it eventually resulted in a first prize of €16,200. In the end, a Dutchman would walk away with the gross of the prize money, as well as the unique trophy awarded by The Festival Series, and of course eternal fame!
Younes Jarir Celebrates After a Class-Act at the Final Table
Younes Jarir, a Dutch poker player who also gave act-de-presence at The Festival Series in Bratislava in 2022, was also this time together with a group of friends who came to this event. As we know, this group of friends is always there to support each other when necessary, and this time it was necessary. In Bratislava, ninth place in this eponymous event was a disappointing end, but he was confident enough to blast through to the end this time. He was opposed by not the least players; Colin Lovelock from England, our winner from the previous edition, was actually playing with a good stack throughout the event. Manuel Blaschke, the winner of the edition in Bratislava ’22, was also there. So there were two players who participated back-to-back here to go.
No one could stop Younes Jarir, however, as he was determined to win this event and finally did so by settling heads-up with former champion Manuel Blaschke from Austria.
The Festival Series Malta - Main Event
The Main Event is the flagship of a tournament series, both online and live. Unfortunately, The Festival did not give a guaranteed prize pool this time, but this should not spoil the potential of this great event. It started with a quiet day 1a, in which 89 registrations were recorded, but eventually, due to a good turnout on days 1c and 1d, the total eventually came to 617 participations. The €550 Main Event, with so many registrations, within a prize pool of €296,610, is not bad for a tournament with no guaranteed prize pool! However, it was the second time in history that the event had no less than five starting days, and sufficient consideration was given to the working Maltese citizens.
|Main Event||Malta '23||Nottingham '22||Bratislava '22||Tallinn '22||Bratislava '21|
The event had 617 players registering nicely, and with 193 players returning on Day 2, it didn't take much for the fireworks to erupt. This included players who were still able to register two levels on Day 2, another unique element in this series, who started the day with just 10-15 big blinds.
In the end, 71 players would secure a minus cash in this event, a cash for €1,000. Oystein Brenden, a poker player from Norway, had enough chips during the opening day and day 2 and even ended the day as the chip leader. They would eventually end the day with 16 players. Here are the chip counts at the start of the third and last day of the Main Event.
The moment had arrived; The third day of the Main Event. 16 Players returned and all eyes were on the first prize of €60,700. With a couple of notable names such as Jelmer Schuurmans, Andras Balogh, Luigi D’Alterio, and Oystein Brenden, it would be a potential battlefield right until the end. Poker fans from all over the world wouldn’t be disappointed, as many big pots went up and down.
Nice detail, the final table consisted of eight different nationalities! The man with the largest rail, Oystein Brenden, eventually turned the battle in his favour by taking first place. Balasz Somodi, from Hungary, ended up being the runner-up for €40,500. Another nice fact, only Matthew Micallef from Malta managed to play his way to the final table from the last 16 with one of the shortest stacks.
The Main Event was a great success in Malta with 617 players.
If you look at the schedule of The Festival Series, you'll see that they don't just focus on the Main Event, which many other tournament series around the world still focus on. Side events, and especially mixed games, are the most important factor for these series and it paid off big time this time. With 50+ events, there were an incredible number of events available to players, events that did not exceed their expectations can probably only be counted on one hand.
The side events that topped the Leaderboard were the €250 H.O.R.S.E (69 registrations), €125 8-Game (93 registrations), €1,100 PLO High Roller (60 registrations), €1,100 NLHE High Roller (70 registrations), €250 Open Face Chinese (38 registrations), and the €250 Mystery Bounty (201 registrations).
In the end, it was the founder of The Festival Series, Martin 'Franke' von Zweigbergk, who won two winners’ portraits. He won the HORSE and the CashGame Challenge. The Norwegian Coolbet ambassador Svein-Olaf Eidsaeter also managed to get two by winning the Win The Button tournament and the Mystery Bounty.
Here is an overview of all the winners of the side events:
|Tournament Name||Buy-in||Entries||Prize Pool||Winner||1st Prize|
|Sviten Special||€ 250||79||€ 16,353||Totti Lind||€ 5,200|
|Texas Knock Out||€ 125||130||€ 13,986||Linus Lauermann||€ 1,700|
|Heads-Up||€ 250||28||€ 6,048||Mantas Petrauskas||€ 2,380|
|PLO Championship||€ 250||75||€ 16,200||Mirko Romeo||€ 5,150|
|Roulette||€ 125||19||€ 2,006||Martin Geiba||€ 1,000|
|Half 'n Half||€ 125||70||€ 7,084||Mikael Gronvik||€ 2,045|
|Win the Button||€ 125||88||€ 9,292||Svein Olav Eidsaeter||€ 2,380|
|8-Game||€ 125||93||€ 9,820||Jonas Jurksaitis||€ 3,350|
|Blackjack||€ 125||25||€ 2,640||Angelo Vietti||€ 1,100|
|PLO High Roller||€ 1,100||60||€ 57,600||Levan Rozomashvili||€ 15,400|
|Texas Progressive Knock Out||€ 250||150||€ 33,000||Joseph Jackson||€ 3,500|
|HORSE||€ 250||69||€ 14,904||Martin 'Franke' von Zweigbergk||€ 2,850|
|Texas High Roller||€ 1,100||70||€ 67,200||Cory Desmond||€ 18,000|
|PLO 4/5/6||€ 250||72||€ 15,550||William Lynch||€ 2,900|
|Matching Visions Slots||€ 125||18||€ 1,900||Tobias Bollmann||€ 1,000|
|Turbo Midnight Madness I||€ 125||112||€ 11,827||Kai Muller||€ 3,190|
|OFC||€ 250||38||€ 8,206||Aaron Kupin||€ 2,880|
|Queens Ladies||€ 125||47||€ 4,963||Beate Etim||€ 1,760|
|Texas Surprise||€ 125||131||€ 13,834||Salvatore Ritrovato||€ 2,230|
|PLO/PLO8||€ 125||64||€ 6,758||Frank Visser||€ 2,220|
|The Hendon Mob Championship||€ 250||102||€ 22,032||Jonas Engedal||€ 6,100|
|Turbo Midnight Madness II||€ 125||64||€ 6,758||Guido Sanzione||€ 2,250|
|Sportsbook||€ 125||12||€ 806||Sami Korpela||€ 526|
|PLO FO||€ 250||66||€ 14,256||Daniele Marchesani||€ 4,480|
|Mystery Bounty||€ 250||201||€ 44,220||Svein Olav Eidsaeter||€ 6,400|
|PLO Midnight Madness||€ 125||90||€ 9,504||Andreas Sanden||€ 1,600|
|Low Roller||€ 60||159||€ 7,632||Miguel Cuevas||€ 1,800|
|OFC High Roller||€ 1,100||20||€ 19,200||Aaron Kupin||€ 9,600|
|Seniors 49+||€ 250||22||€ 4,752||Gerhard Brimmers||€ 1,950|