Unibet Open celebrates record-breaking event in Malta

British player Alan Carr has won the record-breaking Unibet Open Malta Main Event for €53,400. There were a total of 327 entries for the €1,100 Main Event, creating a €327,000 prize pool – the biggest in Unibet Open Malta history. More than 730 unique players turned up to compete in the festival.

The #ShuffleUpAndSea Unibet Open, held in conjunction with Casino Malta, ran September 11-15 at the luxury InterContinental Hotel in St. Julian’s. It was the Unibet Open’s fourth visit to Malta and featured a packed schedule featuring 14 different tournaments.

Alan Carr launched his campaign to become the new champion after winning a €5 satellite on Unibet Poker. He turned that €50 ticket into a €250 ticket and then won his seat into the Main Event, one of over 190 players who qualified for the tournament online. Carr usually plays online cash games and his Malta victory gave him by far his biggest live score. He has now earned more than €80,000 in live tournament winnings.

The final three cut a deal to secure fairly level pay-outs. Italy’s Luca Beretta snagged €48,550 for his runner-up finish while Christopher Heidelbacher took €44,880 for third place. It was a pretty lucrative week for Heidelbacher; the Romanian software developer also took down last Wednesday’s €330 Superstack for €7,780.

Both Beretta and Heidelbacher have enjoyed success at Unibet events before. Beretta, who lives in Malta, narrowly missed the final of a Unibet Deepstack Open event in Malta in 2015 – finishing in 11th place – while Heidelbacher has now topped his seventh-place finish in the 2017 Unibet Open Bucharest Main Event. Fourth-placed Deivis Rinkevicius, who also made the final table at Unibet Open Copenhagen in 2017, won the Unibet Open Battle of the Champions event in Sinaia in February securing €10,000 in prize packages.

Final table results:
1 Alan Carr, UK, €53,400
2 Luca Beretta, Italy, €48,550
3 Christopher Heidelbacher, Romania, €44,880
4 Deivis Rinkevicius, Lithuania, €22,740
5 Tonio Roeder, Germany, €17,490
6 Serdar Demircan, Sweden, €13,450
7 Henri Jantunen, Finland, €10,760
8 Matthew Ireland, UK, €8,610
9 Gedas Petrauskas, Lithuania, €6,890

A total of 39 players took a share of the record €327,000 prize pool with a min cash worth €2,300. Among those who made the money were Unibet Ambassadors Ian Simpson (22nd, €3,220) and Alexandre Reard (29th, €2,570) plus former Miss Earth Hungary Krisztina Polgar (32nd, €2,300).

Nataly Sopacuaperu, Unibet Open’s Head of Events and Sponsorship, said: “It’s been an amazing event in Malta and massive congratulations to our new champion Alan Carr. Malta is always one of our most popular stops, but we were thrilled this year to attract record-breaking numbers. It was also fantastic to see everyone having such a good time. We look forward to welcoming a ton of players at the final stop of 2019: Unibet Open Paris starting November 28.”

This year’s 327-strong field attracted a wealth of big names including Unibet Ambassadors David Lappin and Dara O’Kearney, winners of Best Podcast for “The Chip Race” at this year’s inaugural GPI Global Poker Awards. O’Kearney brought along copies of his celebrated Poker Satellite Strategy book for a signing session.

Other stars who took part included Espen Jorstad, Monica Vaka and two-time winner Dan Murariu, former Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman, two-time Unibet Open Champion Mateusz Moolhuizen, local hero Jackie Cacchia, French veteran Fabrice Soulier, Unibet Belgian Ambassador Charlotte Van Brabander and former November Niner Kenny Hallaert. A number of popular Twitch streamers and influencers also took part including Suntouch, kiocsgo, CasinoDaddy, VeniCraft, ONSCREEN and OliPocket.

Side event results
Belgian player Ann Roos Callens was celebrating back-to-back victories in Malta after taking the €90 #QueenRules Ladies Event for €620. Callens also won the event last year. Runner-up Emelie Svenningson and third-placed Latifa Guennas, who lives in Malta, also took a share of the €1,280 prize pool.

The biggest side event win went to Malta local Thomas Erik Lind who took down the Unibet Deepstack Open for €13,520, Lars Olaf Hole from Norway won the €165 NL Turbo for €2,075, 2016 Unibet DSO Malta champion Daragh Davey from Ireland snagged €2,540 for victory in the €150 Hyper Turbo and Finland’s Mikka Mustonen took down the €220 PLO event for €2,980. Victor Fryda took down the €220 Turbo Bounty for €2,400 and Michal Kulesza won the final tournament of the festival – the Progressive Super Knockout – for €1,590.

Unibet Ambassador David Lappin and his Dutch/Greek team-mate Melania Mylioti won the invitational Tag Team Championship after beating former Miss Earth Hungary – Krisztina Polgar – and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive streamer Phil “syrinxx” Schönebaum heads-up.

Warcraft III and Starcraft II streamer Yoan “ToD” Merlo won the invitational €10,000 Battle Royale event for €5,000 after beating fellow Frenchman Fabien ‘kiocsgo’ Fiey heads-up. Fiey, a pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, took €3,000 for his runner-up finish while CSGO streamer Phil “syrinxx” Schönebaum from Germany was third for €2,000.

A live stream ran throughout the festival covering the Tag Team Championship, the Unibet Battle Royale and Main Event – on Twitch and facebook – hosted by Unibet Open Ambassador David Vanderheyden and co-commentator Henry Kilbane. You can also find the Unibet Open on: YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram.

Unibet Open Malta history

2018: Daniel Jacobsen, Denmark, €60,090; 273 entries, total prize pool €273,000
2016: Martin Soukup, Czech Republic, €65,000; 292 entries, total prize pool €292,000
2011: Mateusz Moolhuizen, Netherlands, €117,000; 293 entries, total prize pool €417,525


Unibet Open 2019 season so far
Unibet Open Sinaia, February 2019:
Czech player Martin Soukup became a two-time Unibet Open champion when he won the tour’s debut event in the Romanian ski resort of Sinaia for €71,000 in February.

Unibet Open London, May 2019: Unibet Open smashed its London track record in May with the biggest field, biggest first prize and biggest prize pool. British player Daniel James beat fellow countryman Ben Winsor heads-up to take the £80,200 first prize. There were 456 entries for the Main Event, creating a total prize pool of £410,400.

The final stop of 2019 will be Unibet Open Paris from November 28 to December 1.