The 2019 Battle of Malta proved to be one of the biggest live tournaments of the year, outside of Vegas! The series boasted a massive €1,000,000 guaranteed Main Event, and that number was obliterated!

The series has been running since 2012 when winner, Nicodemo Piccolo, bagged €35,000 in the Main Event with just 349 entries for a total prize pool of €169,265.

This year, an unbelievable 2,691 unique players and 4,657 entries built a gigantic prize pool of €2,258,645 – smashing the €1 million guarantee.

888poker Ambassadors Out in Force,

Due to the popularity of the Main Event, a fifth starting day was added with over 13,000 runners taking part in the series. Unfortunately, although both Team888 ambassadors, Sofia Lövgren and Ana Marquez made Day 2.

Ana finished in 648th place for €1,100, and Sofia Lövgren went a little deeper, finishing in 245th place for €1,810. Friend of 888poker, Patrik Antonius, was also in attendance. However, he did not cash, but his wife Maya Geller did – finishing 170th for €2,030.

Team888 ambassadors, Sofia Lövgren and Ana Marquez made Day 2

Final Day of Action

The final day of the Battle of Malta Main Event action was a long one! Eleven players returned to do battle for the top prize of €300,000.

In short order, that number was whittled down to nine with Vincenzo Pinna departing 11th place for €22,360. Just minutes later, the final table of nine was set when Valerii Firstenko hit the rail in 10th for €24,620.

It would take several hours to reach heads-up action when the real action began!

Heads-up play between Moldova’s Serghei Lisii and Steven van Zadelhoff from the Netherlands lasted an epic five hours plus! The lead changed places several times, going back and forth between the amateur and the more-experienced poker circuit player.

For Steven, it was a game of attrition, losing all of the all-ins when he was mostly ahead and dragging smaller pots whether by bluffing or holding the real deal.

Several hours in an ICM deal was struck with both players splitting the remaining prize money. They agreed to take €217,167 each and play for the remaining €30,000 and that eye-popping trophy!

Moldova’s Serghei Lisii and Steven van Zadelhoff from The Netherlands

However, it was to be few more hour with the blinds escalating for Serghei to finally get the upper hand in the tournament.

Severely short-stacked and with time running out, van Zadelhoff pushed with 76o to run into Lisii’s K7o. With a K on the flop, it was all but over for the Dutchman who was gracious in defeat. He took home the second-place prize money of € 217,167, which is still his most significant single cash to date.

Serghei got to lift the trophy high and walk away with an extra €30,000 for top winnings of €247,167.

Congrats, and what a payday!

Final Table Results:




Payout (EUR)


Serghei Lisii


€ 247,167


Steven van Zadelhoff


€ 217,167


Josef Gulas

Czech Republic

€ 102,050


Colum Higgins


€ 64,540


Leo Worthington-Leese

United Kingdom

€ 56,470


Rune Moerk


€ 42,910


Bruno Massimo


€ 33,880


Shaun De Cesare


€ 27,100


Flavio Laudani


€ 24,620

About the Author
Hyacinth Swanson is a part-time live and online poker player who enjoys writing and editing poker content. She currently runs marketing firm
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