The Festival Malta 2023 Recap

1 year ago

It’s been an action-packed week, but unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. We’ve loved every minute of The Festival Malta 2023, and we’re sure all of you have as well. There’s been plenty to talk about, from huge tournament guarantees to crazy cash game challenges – so let’s dive into what’s happened this week.

Huge Tournament Success

One of the highlights of this series has been the huge success of the tournament schedule. Almost every tournament has had a significant prize pool and a large number of participants, no matter the entry size, meaning that the players at this year’s Malta stop were rewarded with some huge prizes.

Nowhere is this better exemplified than the 8-game tournament on Day 3 of the series. Many people would assume that any tournament that isn’t NLHE or PLO would struggle to attract players, but this tournament had a record 93 entrants, creating a nearly €10,000 prize pool! Lithuanian player Jonas Jurksaitis took home the top prize in this event, bagging €3350.

Jonas Jurksaitis

Winner of the 8-game event, Jonas Jurksaitis

There was also a great turnout in the Festival Queens event, with 47 participants creating a nearly €5000 prize pool. The title of “Queen of The Festival Malta” was won by Beate Etim, along with the €1750 first place prize.

Beate Etim

Winner of the Festival Queens Event, Beate Etim

You could even pick up a five-figure prize in some of the bigger events, like the PLO High Roller and the PokerListings Championship. In these events, Levani Rozomashvili took home the top prize after chopping the PLO High Roller heads-up, and Younes Jair picked up €16,200 after taking down the PokerListings Championship.

Main Event

But of course, what we were all here to win was the Main Event. This tournament had a huge turnout, with a total of 617 entrants across all Day 1s. 16 players came back on Day 3, all vying to be the one to take home the over €60,000 first place prize. Brenden Oystein came into the day with the chip lead, but it was the Hungarian player Balazs Somodi that had the best start, dominating the early stages of the final table.

However, after the dinner break, Brenden came out swinging, picking up pots left and right, so it’s no surprise that we quickly found ourselves in a heads-up match between Balazs and Brenden. Brenden’s uptick in form continued into the heads-up match, as he slowly whittled down Balazs stack, before winning a huge pot with KK vs Balazs’ flush and straight draw. With only 7bb left, Balazs shoved 87 from the button, only to be called by Brenden’s K8. While Balazs picked up a straight draw on the turn, the K8 held, and Brenden claimed the Main Event trophy, and €60,700 for his hard work.

Let’s take a look at how the other final tablists fared:






Brenden Oystein




Balazs Somodi




Luigi D’Alterio




Dario Barone




Stian Nostdahl




Andreas Holmsten




Matthew Micallef




Gytis Juskevicius




Mischa Wieten



The final table at the Festival Malta, Main event

The final table at the Festival Malta, Main event

Cash Game Challenge Madness

Throughout the whole Festival, there were a series of cash game challenges taking place where players could take a break from the tournament grind and battle it out in the cash game streets. As an added incentive, there was a The Festival Bratislava 2023 package on the line for the player who won the most big blinds across the week.

With such a tantalizing prize on offer, it’s no surprise that dozens of people were drawn to these cash games, but I don’t think anyone expected what we saw on the first night.

Hugo Loustrau set the pace in the first Cash Game Challenge, winning 208 big blinds at €2/€2 NLHE. Later that evening, the PLO Challenge started, and The Festival’s very own Martin ‘Franke’ von Zweigbergk sat down to play. He declared that he was here to “win big,” but no one could have predicted just how big he would win.

Franke won a staggering €6300 at the €2/€2 PLO game – that’s over 3000 big blinds! The man behind The Festival poker series has all but certainly won himself a package to the next stop in Bratislava, as well as a tidy profit to boot!

Hospitality Hijinks

As well as all the fantastic poker on offer, there were a number of special hospitality events, specifically for those who opted in for the hospitality package or won themselves a package to The Festival Malta 2023.

The week started off with a welcome drinks party where the players got to meet the staff behind the event, where the alcohol was flowing freely! Throughout the week there were lots of fun events for everyone to enjoy, such as bowling (where players had to take a shot every time they bowled a strike!), a Michelin star dinner at the Smokehouse, and a midnight swim on the beach!

You can find out all about what went down by checking out The Festival Malta’s social media pages, as well as some great pictures of everyone having fun.

What’s Next?

After the success of the Malta Festival, what’s next for The Festival Series? There is already another tournament series lined up in Bratislava from the 27th of November to the 3rd of December, giving you plenty of time to win yourself a package for what will surely be another fantastic event. We hope to see you all in Bratislava this November!

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