September was a month filled with online poker opportunities like the World Championship of Online Poker, which meant many of the world’s poker players were stuck indoors for much of the late-summer month. When October rolled around with the chance to play the tournaments of EPT Malta on a southern European island in the Mediterranean, most players didn’t hesitate to book their flights.
The European Poker Tour is known for its panache as well as its many poker options and attention to detail. Over 12 full seasons, the EPT has grown into a tour that consists of fewer stops but more events and activities at each stop. But as Season 13 of the EPT got underway, PokerStars announced its decision to combine many of its tours into Championships and Festivals. That means the three EPT stops planned for late 2016 are the final ones, and they are expected to be bigger than ever.
Malta is the place to be at the moment. EPT Barcelona took place in August and wrapped with a quite exciting Main Event that resulted in an animated and emotional winner in Sebastian Malec. And after the winners depart Malta at the end of October, the EPT will prepare for its final stop in Prague in December.
But before anyone gets too nostalgic and sentimental, the focus is on Malta and the 80-plus tournaments and satellites — not to mention the cash games — that are already underway.
Heavy Schedule Already Underway
A well-organized crew has the EPT ready to go at the Portomaso Casino. Action started on October 18 with a €10,300 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Reentry event that will run for three days, as well as some super satellites into the Italian Poker Tour Main Event that begins on October 19. The coordination with the IPT offers numerous events on the schedule, including that €1,100 buy-in Main Event set to run through October 23.
The tournaments expected to draw the biggest crowds begin with the two aforementioned events, as well as the €330 PokerStars Cup on October 19, €25,750 NLHE High Roller on October 21, €2,200 IPT High Roller on October 22, €10,200 NLHE Single-Day on October 24, €10,300 EPT High Roller on October 27, and €220 PokerStars Open on October 27. And of course, the primary attraction will be the €5,300 EPT Main Event set to run October 23-29.
Some of the other interesting events include the live version of the PokerStars hyper-turbo Spin & Go tournaments, which are three-handed events with buy-ins ranging from €50 to €500, and the Global Poker League tournament on October 28, which will be a €550 buy-in Team Double-Bounty Shootout. A charity tournament will benefit Right to Play, with action on October 23 with a €150 buy-in and unlimited rebuys.
Cash games are running from 12pm to 6am daily. There will also be a Players’ Lounge with fun activities pegged as #StarsFun, which will include games and events like laser tag and an escape room. Players can book tours of the city of Valletta and attend the EPT Malta Player Party on October 22.
High Rollers in Action
The first event of EPT Malta was the aforementioned €10K NLHE Reentry tournament, which drew more than 30 players only halfway through Day 1. Some of the players who bought in at the beginning of the event were Stephen Chidwick, Pierre Neuville, Adrian Mateos, Sylvain Loosli, Charlie Carrel, and Max Silver. Others who took their seats a bit late included Dan Shak, Nick Petrangelo, and Steve O’Dwyer. With reentries in progress and registration open until the start of Day 2, the field will likely grow considerably, as will the prize pool.
Some of the Team PokerStars Pros who are in Malta or on their way include Johnny Lodden, Fatima Moreira de Melo, George Danzer, Luca Pagano, and Theo Jorgensen.