Franco Portell


Player ProfileFranco Portelli - Poker Player from Malta

Name: Franco Portelli

Location: Malta

Poker Roots

Franco started playing poker at a young age in his mid teens. During High School, in lunch breaks and free lessons, one could always find him sitting down with friends around a table playing draw Poker. Then came the internet and with it online poker. Eventually he moved to Texas Hold’em and after studying the complexity of the game began playing in medium stakes moving to bigger ones as time went by. Franco loves the game and all that goes with it. He considers the winnings as a great bonus to a deep and strategic game plan.

Achievements so far

Although Franco has been playing poker for years, he started playing live Tournaments in the last year or so. Franco’s biggest monetary win (although online he has a healthy bank roll), was mid 2010 where during a cruise, he won a couple of thousands playing at the cash tables. Franco also participated in all local Main Events such as:


  • Malta Poker open 2010, powered by XLBet – Finishing 19th – being the only Maltese poker player (apart from Jackie Cachia) left for day 2.
  • IPT Malta – Being the only Maltese to represent Poker Stars since he won the package online starting from just $5 (having to win 3 more tables) and moving to the final table and eventually managing to win it – package worth €2800
  • GSOP – Winning the super satellite and competing in the main event
  • Malta Poker Showdown – Placing 3rd and netting €640 for his efforts.


Franco also had the opportunity of playing against players such as Luca Pagano, Mel Giuda and Michal Polchlopek (winner of the IPT Malta 2010) throughout these main events.


Franco Portelli - Malta Poker


Style of Play
Franco’s favourite poker variant is No Limit Texas Hold’em and plays in tournaments, sit & go’s and at  cash tables.

The greatest influences on his poker style have come from ‘an incredibly astute poker player called ‘Action Dan’, a master of the online game and a brilliant tournament player too’.

Franco’s greatest asset is the patience he displays at the felt.  He  is also very table-aware, changing gears as the environment calls for it.

You need to have 360 vision at the table.  Your game, your opponents game, the game progression, habit formation, deceipt – A sound underestanding of these elements gives me my edge at the poker rooms’.

‘You have to respect your opponent to earn respect on the table.  Having said that I prefer to be outdrawn from a table then being outplayed!’

A regular live poker player nowadays, Franco also plays online games on a daily basis.  He favours live play as tells are much easier to read than in online play where decent players bluff more promptly, and are relatively more aggressive.

‘People think that No limit hold’em is about running outrageous bluffs or interpreting your opponents facial ticks, instead it’s a game of memory, position, calculation, alertness and patience. You need to visualize your position at the table, the changing stack and blind sizes, the demonstrated habits of your opponents and the changing of gears’

Plays on

When playing online, Franco can be found at Pkr and Pokerstars.  He plays under the nickname ‘Bono143’.

Franco Plays live poker at the weekends at Casino di Venezia or at the Portomaso Casino.

At the GSOP Live – Malta 2010, we found some time for a short interview with Franco about his experience playing at the numerous tournaments held at the end of 2010.


Franco Portelli - Malta PokerHow had you heard about the recent schedule of Poker tournaments taking place in Malta?
I’ve heard about the tournaments through local social networks and from local Poker websites (offcourse )


Did you qualify or buy-in directly?
I can proudly say that I never actually bought in for a main event. I did qualify for all Main events through live Super Sats or online Sats. I’m currently the only Maltese player with this record.



Did the events live up to your expectations for tournaments of their kind?
Yes they did. They were  my biggest main events so far.

What were your impressions of the Malta Poker Open / GSOP / IPT? 

I was lucky to play in numerous main events. The experience you nourish is incredible. The venues were changed to big tournament Poker rooms. All events organizers went far, in giving added value to their players. I was impressed with the number of journalists from press sites covering the events. The competition  and attendance were big although one can’t expect less from such big Main events. At the Ipt there were a huge number of  Pros and all in all I was comfortable playing with them. The Gsop was full of Scandinavians. Some ‘kids’ who for their age play poker really well. While there were some fu$%en donks that shove all in with 4/5 (I know – still hurts 😉 )
Had you ever been abroad to play poker? If yes where, and placings, or money finishes?

As said earlier I’ve been twice on a cruise and managed to win loads in cash games. I also entered the onboard tournie finishing in the money placing 3rd.

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