The 2013 PokerListings Battle of Malta is now over and Louis Cartarius has emerged as the winner.
It ended up being the biggest live poker tournament ever held in the small southern European country, with a total of 888 entries for the event. Cartarius won €80,000 (around US $108,000) for his stellar play in the tournament.
The win was a major come from behind victory after Norwegian Ambjorn Haga held a dominating chip lead throughout the event’s late stages. It was a lead Haga further increased at the final table when he eliminated Sonny La in seventh place and Alessandro De Ioco in sixth.
Haga looked unstoppable as players continued to go down one by one, but Cartarius soon started to show himself as a potential threat to Haga’s reign. It came as the eventual winner eliminated Finnish player Lauri Pesonen from the final table in fifth place.
The short-stacked Pesonen moved all-in before the flop with Nine-Seven suited and was called by Cartarius, who was ahead with Ace-Eight offsuit. Cartarius hit a pair of Aces on the flop, which was enough for him to win the hand and put the tournament down to its final four players.
However, Haga stayed ahead of Cartarius by knocking Arthur Popov out of the final table in fourth place. Haga was actually severely behind the short-stacked Popov before the board, with Popov’s Ace-Three of Hearts being the better hole cards to Haga’s Nine-Six offsuit. Things changed on the board, though, after Haga hit a set of Nines on the turn, which won him the hand and put him further in the chip lead going into three-handed play.
Haga would soon lose the chip lead after Cartarius managed to double up through him, which completely changed the scope of the event. The lead seesawed between the remaining players, with hometown shark Konrad Abela even getting into the action and grabbing the chip lead.
The dust soon settled, however, when Cartarius eliminated Haga in third place. Both players went into a showdown with pocket pairs, as Haga had Fives and Cartarius had Eights. Cartarius grabbed a bigger lead after hitting a full house on the flop. There was almost no way Haga could come back from that, and even though he also hit a full house on the turn, it just wasn’t enough and the one time favourite was now out of the event.
Haga’s elimination put Cartarius and Abela in heads-up play, with Cartarius holding the advantage when play began. It stayed that way as the German chipped away at Abela’s stack, getting him to five million before the last hand of the event was played.
In the event’s final hand, Abela had Ace-Jack offsuit, but was dominated by Cartarius, who had Ace-Queen of Hearts. Abela took the lead after the flop, however, when the Jack of Diamonds appeared on the board.
Cartarius then took back the hand after the Queen of Diamonds was shown on the turn, which gave him the higher pair. The Four of Diamonds came on the river, which was of no help to Abela, and Cartarius was crowned the winner of the 2013 Battle of Malta.