The Portomaso Casino was filled up to maximum capacity at the second edition of the ‘Stage 1’ live poker satellites for the Malta Poker Open 2010 – Powered by XLBet. With 53 players who signed up for the tournament – which was held on Tuesday the 17th August 2010 – the night promised to be one filled with action and a massive prize payout at the end of the low entry poker tournament.
The Malta Poker Open 2010 €1,100 main event is taking place on the 30th and the 31stOctober 2010 at the Portomaso Casino and is expected to attract over 150 players making up for a prize-pool in excess of €150,000. The event, powered by XLBet is accessible to European poker players who are looking for a VIP Poker holiday experience, as well as local players who have access to an entire schedule of live satellites to help them gain entry at a fraction of the main event cost.
The live satellite schedule includes 2 stage qualifiers. The stage 1 tournament takes place every Tuesday at the Portomaso Casino and features and entry of €10+1, whilst the Super satellite [stage 2] features a buy-in of €110+€10. Those Poker players who prove successful enough at winning both stages, will be rewarded with the Malta Poker Openmain event seats, which are worth €1,100.
50 participants for the second edition of the Malta Poker Open ‘Stage 1’ satellite were at their seats by 20:15hrs, and received 5,000 chips at the start of their tournament after paying up the low entry €10+€1 buy-in. The blind intervals were set at 15 minutes and players had the opportunity of making use of two re-buys as well as one add-on before the start of the first break. The tournament set-up allowed a more forgiving structure where players could still participate in the tournament even if they were to lose all their chips in what poker players usually refer to as a ‘bad beat’
Amongst the players present, were some of the previous week’s winners, including Jason Deguara, and Maude Smith. There were also various players who attempted their chances at winning their ‘Super Satellite’ tickets from the previous week, but never made it into the money – This was their second shot in their personal journey to the Malta Poker Open – Powered by XLBet..
The game kicked off at 20:20hrs, when players quickly got into their poker mindsets and started taking shots at each other’s precious stacks for that ‘edge’ at the start of the tourney. With re-buys being available for players holding 5,000 chips or less, several players loaded up their stack at the beginning of the tournament in order to place additional pressure on their more conservative adversaries.
After the 4th level of blinds and by the end of the first break, there were a total of 53 entries in the tournament. Players were being accepted up till the first break thus increasing the tournament capacity as seats became available as a result of player exits. The total amount of entries made up for a pool which would pay-out 12 ‘Super’ satellite tickets as well as 2 seats for the upcoming ‘Stage 1’ satellite, with roughly €1,460 in the pot. To the poker participants, this meant that all they had to do was make it to the final 12 placings and they would be guaranteed a seat in the ‘Super Satellite’ qualifier for the Malta Poker Open main event!
There was a high level of multi-national participation at the tournament with several Italian players as well as a number of French players who took their seats at the tourney. Amongst these, we met up with a young French player, Fabien Mezanger to hear about his journey to the Malta Poker Open.
“Having recently moved to Malta following my employment at a leading recruitment company, I’m still new to the place, but quite excited about the poker scene here on this little speck in the Mediterranean.”
“I’m a very active poker player and equally enjoy live and online poker. My new colleagues were aware of this and suggested that I should check out the Malta Poker Events website for a current schedule of poker tournaments taking place at the Maltese land based casinos.”
“It wasn’t at all difficult for me to find out about the Malta Poker Open, you do a good job at letting players know what is going on with your news and the poker tournament reports. I was actually surprised to see that even for a low buy-in tournament like the €10 + €1 which I’m playing today, you provide a detailed tournament report with photos… it’s brilliant!”
“I’ve been playing poker for quite a while now. I’ve had several live experiences with tournaments in Austria, Ireland, France and Morocco. I usually play at entries between €500 and €1,000. I would consider myself mostly a tournament player and I’m working hard to increase my consistency and achieving better placings at bigger tournaments. I even run my own Poker blog for French visitors [mr4b-poker.com] where I keep track of my performance, and blog about strategies I’m using, as well as reports about my poker experiences”
“I joined the tournament today primarily because I wanted to get a feel of the atmosphere in the local casinos, I’m new here, and live in St. Julians, so when I found out that there was a cheap tournament which can win me a seat to the €1,100 event – minutes away from home – , it was a no-brainer, I dropped by, and was happy to see such a high participation rate in the tournament”
“I’m looking forward to my first big event in Malta. I’m determined to play the super satellite whether I win tonight or not. At €110+€10 it’s incredible value for a seat at the Malta Poker Open main event. I want to win the Malta Poker Open, and at the same time I want to have fun while doing so. I will do my best to get as far as I can…watch me!”
“Being part of the growing Maltese Poker community is a new exciting chapter in my life. I love the fact that there are many like-minded people on the Maltese islands, who love the game of Poker as much as I do. It also pleases me see all the effort that goes into the Poker community in itself!”
As the end of the break drew nearer, tournament director Mark Vella, signalled the end of the break, and we left Fabien at the tables to get back to his game. With ‘just enough chips for the next 6 blinds’, he was hoping to catch some goods cards after a night of careful play.
Players were at the 9th level of blinds and there were 32 players left in the tournament from the original count of 53, meaning that there were 20 players to go before the tournament could come to a close. At that point, the more aware poker players of the bunch had acquired a good feel of their opponents and were taking advantage of this information to put themselves in advantageous positions with their decisions.
Several hands later, we noticed a clear lead which was held by Mario Bugeja who kept over 65,000 chips at the 600/1200 level of blinds.
At approximately 23:45hrs. The game was down to the last 15 players and was now led Philippe Landy from France. Gaetano Caruana [Malta] following closely, with Mario Bugeja trailing with the third largest stack at the two remaining tables.
With three seats left to go before the tournament came to a close, David Zammit was the first player out of the money after he faced off against Silvio Messina. Zammit made an attempt to steal a pot holding Ace high by pushing all in against Messina. Messina insta-called as soon as the words ‘All’ left Zammit’s lips and uncovered a K4 diamonds. With 3 diamonds on the flop Messina was a sure winner holding a King high flush.
Francis Cassar was the next player out of the tournament followed by Jason Deguara who placed 13th in this edition of the live satellites for the Malta Poker Open. Blinds were at 3,000/6,000 when Jason pushed his 22,600 chips on the felt pre-flop holding A6. The other players at the table folded to Jason’s call, yet Messina called after a several seconds of consideration. He uncovered an A9, a reasonably stronger hand than Jason’s. The flop came out as a 3J378, which gave Messina the advantage, sending out Jason’s in 13thplace – ending the tournament with his exit.
12 players made it into the money at the second edition of the ‘Stage 1’ live satellite tournament.
Runners up included:
The next edition of the ‘Stage 1’ satellite will be held on Tuesday the 24th August at the Portomaso Casino, St. Julians, Malta. Poker players are advised to register early for the event to ensure participation and avoiding queuing up in the tournament waiting list. The event is capped at 50 players.
Winners of the ‘Stage 1’ satellites may use their tickets for the ‘Super Satellites’ which are taking place at the Portomaso Casino on the following dates: 5th Setpember / 3rd October / 28th October / 29th October. In the two ‘Stage 1’ satellite events that have taken place so far a total of 20 ‘Super’ satellite tickets have been given out.
The Malta Poker Open 2010 – powered by XLBet.com, will take place between the 29th and 31st October 2010 at the Portomaso Casino. The tournament’s main event will feature a buy-in of €1,100 and is expected to attract several poker players from around Europe to compete for a potential prize-pool in excess of €150,000. For more details about the Malta Poker Open event as well as satellite schedules and qualifying options, visit Malta Poker Events at http://www.maltapokerevents.com