Poker Returns to Malta with the Battle of Malta in October

Posted on: July 8, 2022, 11:20h. 

Last updated on: July 8, 2022, 11:55h.

Most people don’t need an excuse to visit a Mediterranean island. However, for those that do, the Battle of Malta (BOM) poker tournament could be an option.

Valleta, Malta
Valleta, the capital city of Malta. It’s just a short drive from St. Julian’s, the location of the Battle of Malta poker tournament in October. (Image: Shutterstock)

The BOM returns to Malta from October 5 to 12. This is a great time to visit, especially for those looking to escape the onset of winter weather. The Hotel InterContinental in St. Julian’s will host the tournament series.

The BOM, now in its 10th year, took an unwanted break for more than two years because of COVID-19. However, it returned this past April amid considerable enthusiasm, presenting 25 events for players of all levels. With the upcoming October event, 2022 becomes the first year two BOMs have been held.

Over $1 Million Up For Grabs

There are a number of events on the schedule for the festival. However, the Main Event, a No-Limit Hold’em tournament, is likely to grab the most attention.

The Main Event will run throughout the course of the series, with the final table playing out on October 12. The buy-in is a respectable €500 + €55 (US$508.90 + $55.98) and the tournament comes with a guaranteed prize pool of €1 million (US$1.01 million).

The Main Event will have six total starting flights, including two Turbo Day 1. Day 2 is scheduled for October 9. The festival will also feature numerous other tournaments, including a High Roller, bounty tournaments, turbo, and Pot-Limit Omaha.

The turnout for the Spring edition was really great, but we’re confident to destroy those numbers when the Battle returns this fall. In addition to the guaranteed €1 million Main Event, there will also be plenty of side events and 24-hour cash games,” said event organizer Casino Malta.

The spring edition of BOM 2022 offered a €500,000 (US$509,050) guarantee and attracted almost 2,600 entries. In the end, 389 players of the original 2,592 entries shared the prize pool of €1,244,160 (US$1.266 million), with Italian player Giuseppe Rosa taking the Main Event trophy and €200,340 (US$203,865).

There were several big names that made deep runs in the BOM Main Event in April, including 2019’s second-place finisher, Steven van Zadelhoff. 2018 BOM champion Julien Stropoli survived to cash in the event, as did Mateusz Moolhuizen and Joe Grech.

However, not all those who survived to pocket some money were experienced players. The spring BOM attracted a lot of novice and newer players, who also cashed in the events.

Poker Integrity Gets Tweaked

For years, there have been rumblings that the poker community wasn’t doing enough to prevent cheating or collusion. If players discovered a cheater, nothing prevented the individual from appearing in another event, online or in person. That could soon change.

Along with the push for more integrity in poker, many players want online poker sites to force players to use their real identities. Unfortunately, that won’t happen yet. But a community-wide initiative could go a long way to preventing known cheaters from accessing tournaments.

GGPoker is helping spearhead the Poker Integrity Council (PIC). This will be an international organization that will work to eliminate cheating and punish those who try to steal their way to a victory.

Among those that are helping get the project off the ground are Jason Koon, Fedor Holz, Seth Davies, and others. Eventually, the council will include other members, enough to sufficiently blanket the poker ecosystem.

PIC council members will review each case of alleged cheating individually to determine if integrity concerns exist. If GGPoker has flagged a player for cheating, members of the council will review his hand histories and make a ruling as warranted.

The fallout could be severe. Punishments include warnings, account suspensions, permanent bans, and loss of funds. However, the PIC isn’t limiting its actions to just GGPoker activity. A ban will lead to the individual landing on a live tournament blacklist as well.

There’s already substantial support for the initiative. The World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, and others – including BOM – are on board.