Antonius Eyes "Great Atmosphere" at 2018 Battle of Malta

Patrik Antonius
Patrik Antonius. Photo: Jukka Mykkanen.

The Battle of Malta has hosted dozens of top-level poker pros over its six editions so far but none with quite the high-stakes poker cachet of Patrik Antonius.

The much-idolized Finn's star began to rise during the poker boom of the early 2000s and Antonius has been at the table, live or online, when most of the largest poker pots in history have been played.

In a surprising plot twist the future Poker Hall of Famer will join the field for the 2018 Battle of Malta - an event with a buy-in smaller than a big blind in the games Antonius usually plays.

We caught up with the man who celebrated a huge comeback on the poker stage this year for a quick 10 questions.

PokerListings: You’ve had more results in poker in 2018 than in previous years. Is this coincidence or are you getting back into tournaments?

Patrik Antonius: I don't think it’s a coincidence. 2018 was the year I came back and played more tourneys than in years.

From 2007 to 2017 I played a few events a year but my focus was on cash games. This year I felt I wanted to come back and focus more on tournaments – and the results have been pretty good, I guess :)

Patrik Antonius
Antonius has seen it all before - except the Battle of Malta.

PL: Is poker your main focus these days or is it something else?

PA: Poker is my main focus, I love to play poker. I have also been working on an interesting IT project to improve poker industry. I care a lot about poker and I am hoping to be able to make a positive impact.

PL: The Battle of Malta is a rather low buy-in event for a player like you. What’s the main attraction for an event like this?

PA: Sure, it is lower buy in, but masses create great atmosphere and make fun events.

PL: In recent years, many poker personalities have argued that poker is declining. Meanwhile, the BOM grew every year. In your opinion, what accounts for the BOM’s big success?

PA: I have played at good, successful, events this year and to me poker is growing and doing well. Nowadays poker events are better organized, schedules are good and there is also time for dinners and fun.

The Main Event buy in at BOM is suitable for masses and Malta has a good possibility for some fun and sun.

PL: You were involved in some of the biggest pots ever to be played online or on TV. Do you think that games can still be that big and stakes that high in the future?

PA: Yes. The live games have remained same size and even bigger. Regarding online poker, something needs to change.

I doubt online poker will get the same big games as back in the days.

PL: The largest games on TV are mostly in Europe. Has Europe taken away the poker spotlight from the US?

PA: Europe has not taken the spotlight away from US, I think the poker interest is equally high on both continents. As for big games, I played in a million euro buy in cash game in Europe just this year, at a Triton Event. Big games exist all around.

MaltaSea6
Malta does have good possibilities for fun and sun. Very good.

PL: Does poker need inventions like shot clocks or new variants like Open Face Chinese to stay interesting? Or is it good the way it is?

PA: We definitely need shot clocks! It would be great if everyone could play poker with a good pace. To me there are enough game variants as it is.

PL: Can Short Deck Hold’em be the new sensation? Why or why not?

PA: Short Deck Hold’em has its place but I don’t see it ever competing with the full deck.

PL: Who is your favorite tennis player?

PA: I am a big tennis fan overall and I appreciate all high-level tennis players. I heard Boris Becker is coming to Malta – great news.

PL: If it wasn’t for poker, what profession would you have?

PA: Who knows …

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