December 2009 – Portomaso Casino – NYE Special Edition


Event: Special Edition – December 2009 Tourney
Dates: 29th & 30th December 2009
Host: Malta Poker Events
Venue: Portomaso Casino, Malta
Buy-in: €300 + 30
Registration options: Direct Buy-in, Live satellites & Online satellites []
Registered players: 30
Money finishes: 6
Starting stack: 10,000 chips
Blind Levels: 45 minutes

Another quality poker tournament took place on the 29th and 30th December 2009 for poker players to bid farewell to 2009 in true Poker fashion.  The live event was hosted by Malta Poker Events at the Portomaso Casino, Malta, and was the final Poker appointment of the year 2009.

Many local players attended the event which also included previous winners and regular players like Dave Meli [November tourney winner], Jacques Balzan Demajo, Kenneth Ellul, Jackie Cachia, Anthony Ciantar, Giovanni Tozzolino, Anna Colley and Jacob Nielsen []

The two-day tourney reached a pot-size of €9,000 this month giving cash prizes to the final 6 players who made it to the final table.  At 16:30Hrs, players took their seats in the larger smoke-free hall of the Portomaso Casino when Raffaele De Nicola, the tournament director for this event, wished the players good luck and gave the poker dealers their cue to ‘shuffle up and deal’

Blind intervals were set to a relaxed 45 minute structure which allowed players to take their time and play at their own pace without worrying about the blinds ‘running after them’ and pushing players to forced plays.  Players were given 10,000 chips as their starting stack, which also equipped them with a comfortable buffer of volatility throughout the earlier hours of the tournament.

After about 8 hours of play on day one, the tournament was down to the final 10 players and had Nassim Benaccer in the lead with his 49,100 chip stack.

Chip count at the end of day 1
1. Nassim Benaccer – 49,100 chips
2. Giuseppe Cali – 44,400
3. Kenneth Ellul – 37.700
4. Jackie Cachia – 35,900
5. Tony Ciantar – 33,100
6. Gaetano Caruana – 29,900
7. Alexander Fenech – 26,500
8. Vanja Torbarov – 16,200
9. Giovanni Tozzolino – 15,300
10. Raphel Toledo – 11,900

Vanya Torbarov was the first player to exit the scene on Day 2, when he experienced a terrible beat in a heads up challenge against Toledo.  The two players were all-in with JJ [Toledo] and AA [Vanja].  Vanja pushed all in with his stack which was slightly lower than Toledo’s.  Toledo, hesitated slightly but eventually called Vanja’s bet at which point both players showed their cards. The flop showed 9dTd6d, giving Toledo a possible runner runner with Vanja still a favourite. The turn came as a seven of clubs giving Toledo an up and down straight draw, meaning he was still a 1 to 5 underdog. Toledo got lucky with an 8d on the river, amazingly hitting his straight and sending out Vanja in tenth place.

Kenneth Ellul lost about 80% of his stack when he walked straight into Ciantar’s full house of 7’s full of Aces.  Kenneth held AK at the time and only had a pair against Ciantar’s monster hand.  Ciantar took the chip lead with this win which caused severe damage to Kenneth’s reserves, reducing his chances of a money placing considerably.  By the tenth level of blinds 600/1,200, Tony Ciantar was in the chip lead with around 67,000 chips.

Kenneth, who was then crippled with about 8,000 chips, managed to triple up to 24,000 when he pushed in a hand which ended up as a 3 way all-in made up of him, Gaetano Caruana and Toledo.  Kenneth held JJ vs. Toledo’s KK and Gaetano Caruana’s A9. The flop showed a T4798 giving Kenneth the winning hand with a straight on the river, sending out Gaetano in ninth place, with his pair of 9’s.

Toledo entered another pot against Cali with pocket 4’s against Cali’s A9. Toledo placed a preflop raise and got called by Cali. The flop showed J96 and Toledo pushed all in, thinking that Cali didn’t hit. Cali called this bet, and his pair of 9’s kept it’s strength till the river sending out Toledo in eight place, and propelling Cali to chip leader.

Giovanni Tozzolino was holding K8c when he went heads up against Alexander Fenech. Alex, held a pair of aces which won him all of Tozzolino’s chips, approximately 10,000, sending out Tozzolino in 7th place, as the first player out of the money.

All the remaining players were going to make it ‘in the money’ at this stage and the chip count had now changed from the start of the day with Benaccer in the lead being replaced by Giuseppe Cali.

1. Giuseppe Cali – 96,000
2. Jackie Cachia – 81,800
3. Tony Ciantar – 57,500 chips
4. Kenneth Ellul – 24,000
5. Nassim Bennacer – 20,100
6. Alexander Fenech – 19,800

Nassim suffered a bad loss whilst holding QQ against Jackie with her Snowmen [88].  He placed a 17,000 pre-flop bet which got re-raised all-in [40,000] by Jackie.  He called Jackie’s bet and players showed cards at the mercy of the community board.  Nassim kept his lead at the flop, but lost it to Jackie when an 8 surfaced on the turn, giving Jackie trips 8’s.  Jackie’s hand kept it’s strength doubling her up to around 80,000, leaving Nassim with a mere 25,000.

With a relatively short stack, Nassim entered a pot holding A7 against Ciantar who held QQ. Nassim was all-in against Ciantar [who more than covered him] and was hoping for an Ace to turn up on the board.  Luckily for Ciantar, who was in the lead pre-flop, the Queens kept their strength till the river sending out Nassim Benaccer in 6th place and taking home €300 for his efforts.  Alexander Fenech followed shortly after another hand with Ciantar sent him out of the tourney in 5th with €600 in winnings.

The tourney was down to 4 players, when Giuseppe Cali, who had lost a few pots in the previous level, lost a crucial hand to Ciantar, which ended his tournament progress in 4th place.  Giuseppe Cali took home €1,300 for his placing.

The tournament came to a close, with three players left, as they agreed to split the winnings amongst themselves, giving a slightly fatter share of the prize-pool to Ciantar, the chip leader at the time.

From left to right: Kenneth Ellul, Jackie Cachia and Tony Ciantar
The three finalists in the tournament were, Kenneth Ellul, Jackie Cachia and Tony Ciantar who won a total of €6,930 in the ‘Special Edition – December 2009 NL Hold’em Tournament’ by Malta Poker Events.

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