Breaking Down the Action:
  • Setting the Scene by the Sea
  • From History to the Present Day
  • Mostaccio Wins with a Flourish
  • Montealgre Moved by Player Attendances 

5 Minute Read

Mirko Mostaccio won the Malta Poker Festival Grand Event for over $136,000 after a thrilling final table.

The latest huge event to take place in Malta was the partypoker-powered MPF Grand Event. With a mammoth 1,326 entries in total, it was the Italian player Mirko Mostaccio who took the top prize of $136,970 after his first live cash turned into an astonishing first live title.

Setting the Scene by the Sea

Malta like to do things differently. There are daily fireworks displays across the island which are viewed with amusement and delight by all who arrive in the Mediterranean paradise. Poker players are frequently among that number, with many poker players from Europe and the United States settling in the haven which is convenient for travelling around the world in pursuit of the great game.

This Autumn’s Malta Poker Festival (MPF) has featured plenty of new games and even hosted the CardPlayer Lifestyle Mixed Game Festival III last week, to resounding success . Taking place at the stunning  (MPF) Portomaso Casino in St Julian’s from October 24th to 31st, it was helped in part by the online poker platform partypoker, who sent many satellite qualifiers to the island to take part in – above all – the Grand Event. Yes, Main Events are for others, in Malta, they like to do everything in a grand fashion.

With that 1,326-entry field, a prize of $636,450 saw Mostaccio triumph, after a heads-up deal and a final table to remember took place under the lights. That it was Mostaccio’s first-ever ranking title result of any kind is the kind of fairy tale that any poker brand would hire a new marketing team to make happen. Dreams – for everyone it appears – come true in Malta.

From History to the Present Day

Live poker was affected in a hugely debilitating way when COVID-19 struck in early 2020, but after a couple of years of transition, the game is back in a big way, perhaps stronger than ever before. Back in 2018, the first-ever MPF Main Event winner – they weren’t yet grand – was another Italian, Emanuele Onnis.

That inaugural MPF Main Event saw 1,365 total entries, with Onnis winning the $150,000 top prize. In 2019, it was christened the ‘Grand Event’, with Tomas Sujeta winning $150,000 after an almost exact same field of 1,324 entries took part.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the MPF was back on the shelf until earlier this year, when 1,014 entries saw the returning MPF Grand Event won by Daniel Lakerveld, who won the slightly lower top prize of $71,000. This year’s event saw  a return to the expected level of entries and that has already meant that the first MPF of 2023 will take place between April 24th and May 1st 2023.

Mostaccio Wins with a Flourish

As the final table was reached, there was still $400,000 of the prizepool to be played for, with nine players battling to become champion. First out was Karl-Heinz Metz, one of two Germans at the felt. He cashed for $5,990, before Steven Smith for the United Kingdom busted for $9,000.

After Alessandro La Cava left in seventh place for $13,000, the other German at the felt busted in sixth for $18,000, as the short-stacked Tobias Aljoscha departed. The second of two Brits making the final table busted in fifth as Glen Gaines, well, gained $25,000 for his deep run. The final Maltese player busted in fourth place for $35,000 as the popular Andrew Cutajar left the party.

Two of the final three players were Italian, but Luigi D’Alterio reduced those numbers when he exited in third for $57,000. That left Thomas Harnes to finish as runner-up for $97,330 as the brilliantly named Mostaccio took the win after a heads-up deal smoothed out the final pay-jump. With Mostaccio’s ace-queen holding against Harnes king-jack, an ace on the flop spelt success for the overjoyed Italian who won the €136,670 top prize and the beautiful trophy.

Montealgre Moved by Player Attendances 

After the event, MPF tournament director and founder Ivonne Montealegre was delighted with how the event had performed.

“I am so happy to see MPF grow every year,” she said. “The schedule for this autumn edition was full, with amazing events hosted by our sponsors. From partypoker LIVE to Bounty Hunter Days, APAT, The Hendon Mob, FullTilt Catania and CasinoCoin, each bringing a special flavor. But, mostly [it is] our incredible community that makes a simple poker festival into an epic one. Portomaso Casino once again shines as the best poker location on the island.”

With many memories made under the sun for thousands of poker players who arrived in Malta not wanting to leave, the passionate and dedicated Montealegre will surely be welcoming even more visitors to Malta in late April.

partypoker Malta Poker Festival Grand Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Mirko Mostaccio Italy $136,670*
2nd Thomas Harnes Norway $97,330*
3rd Luigi D’Alterio Italy $57,000
4th Andrew Cutajar Malta $35,000
5th Glen Gaines United Kingdom $25,000
6th Tobias Aljoscha Germany $18,000
7th Alessandro La Cava Italy $13,000
8th Steven Smith United Kingdom $9,000
9th Karl-Heinz Metz Germany $5,990

* After heads-up deal.

Arthur Crowson

Arthur Crowson writes for GambleOnline.co about the gambling industry. His experience ranges from crypto and technology to sports, casinos, and poker. He went to Douglas College and started his journalism career at the Merritt Herald as a general beat reporter covering news, sports and community. Arthur lives in Hawaii and is passionate about writing, editing, and photography.

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