IPT Malta February 2011 Results (Italian Poker Tour)
The IPT Malta 2011, a 235 player Texas Hold’em tourney hosted at the Grandmaster Hall at the Hilton Complex (as an extension of the Portomaso Casino) kicked off on the 17thFebruary 2011. This was a debut for the grandiose hall’s use as a poker hall and milestone in Maltese Poker History.
This was the second incarnation of the already popular Italian Poker Tour hosted on Maltese soil. It’s no secret that Malta has quickly become one of the hottest poker destinations in Europe and is especially popular with the thousands of Italian players who come to compete in Malta at tournaments such as the IPT.
Amongst all the foreigners who flew in for the €2,200 tournament, there were also a few select Maltese Players who took their chance at the prize pool which was a fraction short of half a million Euros this time round.
Amongst these players were Mario Sciberras, Jacques Balzan Demajo (Betpro Live Final table placing in January ‘11), as well as poker player, and regular tournament winner Keith Boniface.
Keith Boniface exited the 235 player IPT as the last of the few local regulars who took part in the tournament. He made it to day two of the Italian dominated field starting with just 21,000 chips, but weak cards and a bit of bad luck at showdowns caused him to exit the tournament in 63rd place.
During an entire day where he barely caught any playable hands – the highlights being an AJ and pocket 4’s – Keith Boniface survived most of the IPT Malta Day 2 by calling bluffs from his more ‘daring & adventurous’ opponents.
In what could be compared to a rollercoaster ride of a tourney experience. Keith started off the day with 21K and successfully took his stack up to 40k. He went through a turning point at that stage when his trips 7’s got owned by his opponents pocket kings as they developed into trips on the river. That sent Keith back down to a very threatening 8k, but he eventually managed to resurface and pulled up to 55k. From then on, going back to being considerably card dead, Boniface drifted down to about 45k and eventually lost a suitable and well laid out play to a stronger starting hand held by his opponent.
A good opportunity presented itself when Boniface peeked at his hole cards and found himself holding AK whilst sitting at cutoff plus 1 (2 seats before the dealer). The first player to act fired up a raise, as he had been doing all day, “and was no cause of particular concern” so Boniface shoved to lure a caller by trying to portray weakness. The cutoff called and the rest of the table folded; unluckily for Keith, he landed head on into a pair of speeding bullets held by his opponent (AA) and as the dealer uncovered the flop, turn and river cards, Keith’s caller emerged victorious, taking over his 45k stack and ending his tourney a couple of dozen places before the money.
We sat with Keith as he exited the tournament floor as the best performing of the local regular players who played in the main event. After relating his tournament progress and a few of the most influential hands that he played throughout the 2 days of the tourney, Keith expressed some of his views about the tournament, and the field of opponents he was up against in this year’s Italian Poker Tour.
“The structure was very good, and I could easily say that this is the best standard of Italian poker players that I have played against. They’re still very ‘Italian’ in their style of play – in the sense that they bluff way too often and are often too aggressive – yet the buy-in price of €2,200 probably detracted the less skillful players turning this into a much more pleasant field than what it usually the case with an overly disproportionate frequency of loose aggressive players”
“Today, (on day 2), I got most of my chips by calling. I wasn’t very lucky with the cards I caught though. The biggest hand I won today was when I raised preflop with KQ offsuit and got called by the next player. The flop came down AQ small, I checked, he checked, turn came down small. I followed up with a bet and he called. The river came down giving a flush draw, as well as an open ended straight, plus there was the ace on board. So I checked, and he bets 2/3 the pot at which point I called. That was the biggest hand I won which was around a 20,000 pot.”
After Keith’s exit, we followed the tourney throughout the rest of the week-end and caught up with the final table on Monday 21st February.
The day started with 8 players. Loccarini gave an astounding performance throughout the entire tournament and it was well deserved that he found himself at the top of the 8 player final table when it kicked off, holding 1.2 million chips. The next player in line, Alessandro Isaia, was not too far off, and held 962,000 chips, a little further back was Gianluca Speranza with 606,000 chips and Nicola D’arrigo with 573,000.
Next up were:
PONTUS NIMA KHOSRAVI holding 553.000, JOHAN MATIAS GUNNAR MATTSSON with 487.000, GAVINO BECHEMBAUER VIRDIS stacked up with 260.000 and LITTERIO PIRROTTA in the far distance from Loccarini with his 82.000 chips
By 17.17 at the 23 level, blinds had reached 10,000/20,000 with 2,000 antes, and 5 players were left. Loccarini was still in the lead with 1.8 million followed by Isaia with 1.2 milion. Next was D’Arrigo, followed by Virdis and Speranza.
Just one hour later, with three players a the felt, we saw the exit of Nicola D’Arrigo in 3rdplace with 422,000 chips. Holding 8♠ 9♠ with 6♣ K♠ 4♠ on the board, he went up against the Q♥ T♥ held by Isaia. The turn and river did nothing to help D’Arrigo move forward, and resulted in a sizeable stack booster for Isaia who proceeded ot the heads up against Loccarini.
The game proceeded until Giacomo Loccarini emerged victorious over Alessio Isaia, who recently won the WPT in Venice and who already scored an IPT victory on his belt. Loccarni, an experienced player himself, was a runner up at the Italian Pro Chamnpioship held at Sanremo and ran directly behind Italian Poker Superstar, Dario Minieri.
At the final hand, both players had an almost identical stack, when Isaia pushed all in with his T♠ 8♠ but got called but Loccarini with his A♠ 6♦. The board showed 4♥ 7♦ 9♣ 7♣ 4♠, giving Loccarini the advantage, and winning him the title of 1 prize winner, sending out Isaia in 2nd place.
The Payouts for the finalists were quite substantial in this tourney with 1st place alone being awarded over €120,000. The distribution was as follows
1 GIACOMO LOCCARINI €122.000,00
2 ALESSIO ISAIA €80.000,00
3 NICOLA D’ARRIGO €50.000,00
4 GAVINO BECHEMBAUER VIRDIS €37.000,00
5 GIANLUCA SPERANZA €23.000,00
6 PONTUS NIMA KHOSRAVI €18.000,00
7 JOHAN MATIAS GUNNAR MATTSSON €14.000,00
8 LITTERIO PIRROTTA €11.500,00
9 FERNANDO CIMAGLIA €9.200,00
10 ALESSANDRO FURNERI €9.200,00
11 DOMINIK NITSCHE €6.900,00
12 PAOLO RIGANO €6.900,00
13 CSABA SULYOK €5.300,00
14 ROBERTO SABATO €5.300,00
15 AUGUSTO D’ALESSANDRO €4.200,00
16 VITTORIO FIUME €4.200,00
17 PHILIP BENNY BRAUTIGAM, GRMANIA, €3.500,00
18 PHILIPP HANS OEHMKE, GERMANIA, €3.500,00
19 LORENZO BOZZI €3.500,00
20 FRANK SANDER, OLANDA, €3.500,00
21 WALTER TRECCARICHI €3.500,00
22 CRISTINEL LITA, ROMANIA, €3.500,00
23 DAVID SAMUEL VAMPLEW, INGHILTERRA, €3.500,00
24 ERNESTO MAIORCA €3.500,00
25 LORENZO FEDELI €3.135,00
26 PIERO FEDERICI €3.135,00
27 MANLIO IEMINA €3.135,00
28 LIU XUAN XUAN , CINA, €3.135,00
29 SALVATORE ELIA €3.135,00
30 LAURA TIRONE €3.135,00
31 LUCA MOSCHITTA €3.135,00
32 ANDREA FERRARI €3.135,00
The IPT tournament continues at Nova Gorica for its tenth stop between the 12th and the 21st March. The tournament is expected to make its return to Malta in May 2011. Watch this space for more updates!
Promo of the month – Bankroll Booster Freeroll on Heypoker (OnGame network)