Emanuele Onnis Wins 2018 Malta Poker Festival Grand Event for €150k

Italian player Emanuele Onnis Wins Malta Poker Festival Grand Event

Emanuele Onnis has taken down the €550 Malta Poker Festival Grand Event, after overcoming a 1,366 player field at the Casino at Portomaso to lift the trophy, and win a first place prize of €150,000 ($169,979).

Given the island’s proximity to Italy, a good number of Italians were expected at the tournament, and perhaps it is no surprise that it was an Italian player who would eventually claim the title. Onnis, however, had just $16,265 in earnings from six cashes going into the Grand Event, making his accomplishment all the more impressive.

€550 Grand Event

The 2018 Malta Poker Festival Grand Event took place from November 1-6, and offered three starting days to accommodate its expected high turnout. The tournament organizer was not disappointed, either, with its sizeable field helping to create a prize pool worth €162,510 in excess of its €500,000 guarantee.

By Day 3, the final table of eight had been reached, with the remaining finalists then taking an overnight break before returning to the action and playing down to an ultimate winner. There were three Italian, three Norwegian, one German and one Swedish player represented at the final table, with their overall positions as follows:

Fabian Gumz              (Ger) 62bbs
Emanuele Onnis        (Ita) 40bbs
Nicolaj D’Antoni        (Ita) 29bbs
Borge Dypvik              (Nor) 23bbs
Giovanni Salvatore    (Ita) 23bbs
Espen Uhlen Jorstad (Nor) 20bbs
Andre Henning           (Swe) 11bbs
Steven Iglesias            (Nor) 6bbs

Final Table

Fifteen minutes into the action, Nicolaj D’Antoni (A-10) sent the final table’s short stack Steven Iglesias (9-8) to the rail in 8th, while half an hour later Fabian Gumz (J-J) would do likewise to Borge Dypvik (6-6) in 7th. The very next hand, Nicolaj D’Antoni (A-A) eliminated Espen Uhlen Jørstad (9-9) from the competition in 6th place.

Onnis (A-K) subsequently sent Giovanni Salvatore (A-Q) packing in 5th, after which Gumz’s won an A-8 versus A-7 encounter against Henning Andre to hasten his exit in 4th. Fast forward twenty minutes, and Gumz’s A-Q hit a queen on the flop to eliminate D’Antoni (A-K) in 3rd, and usher in heads-up play against Onnis for the title.

Heads-Up Recap

Germany’s Gumz entered the final showdown holding a 3 to 1 chip lead over Onnis. A while later, however, Onnis took the lead after his K-J holding overcame the A-Q of Gumz on a 10-A-7-J-J board. An ascendant Onnis sealed the deal soon after.

In the hand in question, the Italian raised from the button with pocket tens, leading to a three-bet from Gumz holding A-J. Onnis responded by shoving all in, resulting in Gumz putting his tournament life at risk by making the call. The 10-J-A flop still provided Gumz with outs, but a 9 and 3 on turn and river swiftly brought the competition to a conclusion, all the while as the rail chanted “ITALY! ITALY! ITALY!”.

The German player had to then be satisfied with a runner-up finish worth €85,000 ($96,322), representing his biggest score to date and increasing his career earnings to $309,792. Meanwhile, Emanuele Onnis won a famous victory after initially starting out at a huge chip disadvantage.

Final Table Results

1: Emanuele Onnis €150,000
2: Fabian Gumz €85,000
3: Nicolaj D’Antoni €50,000
4: Henning Andre €40,000
5: Giovanni Salvatore €34,000
6: Espen Uhlen Jørstad €28,000
7: Borge Dypvik €20,600
8: Steven Iglesias €14,710

Hendon Mob Championship Event

A number of other colorful sounding events also took place as part of the Malta Poker Festival, including the €220 PLO Knights Crusade, and the €175 Israeli Poker Championship Bounty Hunt.

There was even a €250 The Hendon Mob Championship event, which attracted 491 entrants and was eventually won by Ukraine’s Oleksii Yerema for €17,850. The Hendon Mob brand was bought by Alex Dreyfus for an undisclosed sum a few years ago, meaning none of its original creators were in attendance at the tournament. But as Malta Poker Festival director Ivonne Montealegre, and GPI/THM Poker Content Manager Roland Boothby, explain:

“A lot of people asked us where Barny Boatman was, thinking he was still part of the brand. It’s not official yet, but we are looking at having a THM Championship where the four original Hendon Mobsters will be a part of it. Hopefully, even if one or two say yes it will be very special for us.”