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The €500 Grand Event at the 2018 Malta Poker Festival (MPF) attracted 1,366 entries in all, crushing the €500,000 guarantee with a total prize pool of €662,510. Italian player Emanuele Onnis (cover image) bested the field to walk away with a winner’s cheque of €150,000 and the MPF Grand Event trophy.
Onnis defeated Fabian Gumz heads-up to win the inaugural title, and his biggest live score ever.
The event saw the entry field reaching 1,366 entries over three starting flights and 260 players reached Day 2. End of day, 24 hopefuls were left standing and Day 3 began with all them vying to survive through to the final day.
The top 151 players got paid and the payout list featured names like Monika Zukowicz (31st for €2,400), Clint Sammut (33rd for €2,100), Mark Vella (59th for €1,350), Daiva Byrne (68th for €1,200), Andy Hills (72nd for €1,200), Muhamet Perati (79th for €1,150), Traian Bostan (84th for €1,100), Murat Tulek (107th for €1,050) and Day 1A chip leader Ondrej Jakubcik (141st for €1,000).
Michael Jesse ended up as the bubble boy after he ran his ace-queen into Simpson’s jack-ten.
After the elimination of Marko Cosic (9th for €10,500), the remaining eight players advanced to the final table. As the eight-handed final table got underway, Daniel Grytten was seated next to his friend Steven Iglesias who is visually impaired, to help him. Though Iglesias was the first player to exit the final table, he scored his second-best career cash of €14,710, his best score from his 23rd place finish at the 2017 WSOP $10,000 6-Handed Championship for $25,139 still remaining intact. Grytten got a huge applause from the rail for his contribution to Iglesias’ run in the event.
Leading the way coming into the final table was Fabian Gumz (9,845,000), followed by Emanuele Onnis (6,330,000) and Nicolaj D’Antoni (4,685,000).
Action on the live-streamed final table saw its first elimination coming along when a short-stacked Steven Iglesias clashed with Nicolaj D’Antoni with his nine-eight pitted against D’ Antoni’s ace-ten of diamonds. The latter found a flush on the flop that brought four-six-three of diamonds and Iglesias was eliminated in eighth place.
Next up, Borge Dypvik ran his pocket six into Gumz’ pocket jacks to hit the rail in seventh place. He was followed out in sixth place by Espen Uhlen Jorstad, when his pocket nines were cracked by D’Antoni’s pocket aces.
Several hands later, Giovanni Salvatore moved all in from under the gun for 2,500,000 and Onnis led in with a bigger stack from the cutoff, while the rest of the table quickly folded. Salvatore tabled against Onnis’ . The board ran out for Onnis to scoop the pot with the higher kicker while Salvatore was eliminated in fifth place.
Henning Andre was then shown the door by Gumz who shoved from the small blind and Andre called from the big blind for his remaining 1,900,000. Andre’s were trailing Gumz’ and Gumz hit a pair of eights on the flop. Andre did pick up a gutshot straight draw on the turn but the on the river didn’t help and he bounced out in fourth place.
Gumz then completed the small blind and Nicolaj D’Antoni led out a bet of 425,000. Action came back to Gumz, who moved all in putting D’Antoni at risk. D’Antoni quickly called and the cards were on their backs. D’Antoni’s had Gumz’ dominated but the latter paired his queen on the flop and turn and the river wasn’t of any help for D’Antoni.
The heads-up match between Onnis and Fabian Gumz began with Gumz holding a three-to-one chip lead. The chips exchanged hands for a while as Gumz lost one hand and then doubled up with queens against Onnis’ king-nine. Shortly thereafter, Onnis raised to 1,150,000 from the button and Gumz 3-bet to 3,600,000. Onnis considered his options before moving all in. Gumz counted his stack and decided to call, putting his tournament life at risk. Gumz tabled against Onnis’ . The flop came with the ten on the window giving Onnis a set, while Gumz who had hit two pair needed an ace or jack to double up. The turn didn’t help Gumz and the on the river declared Onnis the champion as Gumz was relegated to the rail in second place.
The rail erupted with shouts of “Italy!Italy!Italy!”,as the casino resounded with applause.
1. Emanuele Onnis – €150,000
2. Fabian Gumz – €85,000
3. Nicolaj D’Antoni – €50,000
4. Henning Andre – €40,000
5. Giovanni Salvatore – €34,000
6. Espen Uhlen Jorstad – €28,000
7. Borge Dypvik – €20,600
8. Steven Iglesias – €14,710