The first tournament in Season three of the GSOP tour saw Team Betfair assemble 36 players from all over Europe and further afield like Ukraine and even Brazil for the Main event at The Portomaso Casino on the beautiful sunny island of Malta. On day 1a Team Betfair had 8 players go into battle. Altogether 165 players sat down with 20,000 chips to try and navigate through eight one hour levels to try and make day 2. By the end of the play 79 players remained but only two from Team Betfair, Paul Woloszyn and Zoltan Bozoki. That evening saw the GSOP welcome party at the Nordic Bar in Portomaso and as usual it was well organised and a great way for the players to socialise. The party broke up quite early as most attending were playing the following day but they all went back to their hotels happy. Day 1b Team Betfair was strongly represented with 28 of the 174 entries including Betfair sponsored players John Tabatabai and Elisabeth Hille. As on day 1a players would have to get though eight one hour levels to make day 2. At the end of play an impressive 15 Team Betfair Players were still seated at their tables so 17 in total would be coming back the next day. The players and chip counts were as follows:- Kevin Stearn 65,700 John Tabatabai 63,700 Jesus Montes 60,700 Zoltan Bozoki 52,800 Danny Dibden 46,000 Risto Haavistola 36,700 Claus Peter Kraemer 24,800 Paul Woloszyn 24,000 Zsolt Vasvenszki 22,900 Andreas Panayides 21,700 Nikita Savva 19,800 Alan Turner 19,200 Elisabeth Hille 14,600 Jacob Pedersen 13,500 Robert Sherwood 12,800 Andrey Shatilov 9,100 Ondrej Beran 8,500 Day 2 was always going to be tough for a lot of the Team Betfair players as many were relatively short stacked. We lost several in the first level of the day. Kevin Stearn and Zoltan Bozoki both accumulated a 100k+ chip stack and looked good for a deep run but faltered and went out in the second half of the day. Our WSOP Main event 11th finisher Elizabeth Hille doubled up in her first hand of the day and soon had a decent stack but ended up getting crippled in a 3 way all in AK v AK v 66 which the 66 took down. She exited shortly after this. Meanwhile John Tabatabai was steadily building a very healthy chipstack and at one point looked a certainty to move onto day 3 but ran his KK into 55 on a JT5 board and finished in 54th place just 9 places short of the money. There were now only two Team Betfair players left in contention, Alan Turner who had played with great discipline and patience, he went from a low of 10k to a high of 150k but was now really struggling with around only 30k and the blinds now getting very serious. Danny Dibden who had also played a tight disciplined game was also struggling having never been above 75k but got a big double up with KK right near the end of play to get back up to around the 75k mark. Day 2 would be over when the cash places had been reached and once we got to 50 players left the game tightened up incredibly and Alan and Danny had a worrying couple of hours. Once down to 46 players the tension was high but both our heroes hung in and suddenly two players went out at the same time and Danny and Alan had qualified for Day 3 and guaranteed themselves a payday. Danny sat down with 75k and Alan with 30k for Day 3 with the blinds a punishing 2.5k/5k and a 500 running ante. Alan unfortunately did not last long and finished 42nd for a 2196 euro payout when his A3 was cracked by T5! Alan was really chuffed with his win as he had qualified via a $5 satellite to the $320 satellite to win a package. It was easily his largest win and his interview can be seen here Danny Dibden was hanging around the 70k mark for quite a while but doubled up to nearly 170k when he cracked QQ with AT all in pre flop. The Ace on the flop certainly brought a smile to his face. By the 5th level of the day there were around 20 players left and Danny had worked his stack up to 270k and was beginning to exude confidence at the table. In the following couple of hours Danny dropped to below 100k and then back up to over 270k by the time there were 14 left. Shortly after this Danny met his ill fated end when he called a four bet shove with AJ but was horrified to see his opponent turn over AA. No miracles on the board and Danny exited a very worthy 12th and took home his biggest ever payout of 4710 euro. He was a bit gutted about how he played his final hand but when he reflects back he should realise that he played three excellent days of poker and did himself proud. Shortly after this 2 players went out simultaneously on separate tables and day three was over with nine players left coming back on day 4 for the final table. That night was the Team Betfair meal and party. It started with a 20 minute coach ride to Valletta and dinner at an outdoor restaraunt Pepe Nero which is actually on the waterfront. Once the players had all been fed and watered the real fun began. Betfair had hired a converted traditional Maltese fishing boat to sail Team Betfair to The Bedouin bar one of Malta's finest nightclubs which again was open air on the Dragonara resort waterfront. There was the usual abundance of complimentary drinks and the players danced and chatted until the early hours before departing on the short walk back to their hotel. The final day of the main event saw the final table last for 8 long hours but eventually was won by Nikos Grammis after a prolonged heads up battle with Michal Polchlopek. Nikos took home a mouth watering 69,085 euro for his four days of effort totalling over 30 hours of poker. On a great final note for Team Betfair Jacob Pedersen of Denmark won the 200 euro Friday side event and landed himself a 6,000 euro first prize. So the players all had a great time and many will be at the first event of the second Betfair Poker Live tour at the Macau Sporting Club in Cork Ireland which takes place from the 12th to the 14th of October. A video of the players experience at GSOP Malta can be seen here
The final day of the main event saw the final table last for eight long hours but eventually was won by Nikos Grammis after a prolonged heads up battle with Michal Polchlopek.