€5,300 Main Event
Tage:

Event Info

Buy-in €5,000
Preispool €4,340,750
Players 895

Level Info

Level 38
Blinds 300,000 / 600,000
Ante 100,000

Highlights

Highlights

Seat 7: Dominik Panka - PokerStars-Sponsored Player (1,680,000)

MarcC
Dominik Panka
Dominik Panka

2014 PCA champ Dominik Panka, who turned 24 yesterday, had his birthday wish come true — he's made the EPT Malta final table and is still in contention for the €810,400 first-place prize.

Panka hails from the tiny town of Brześć Kujawski in Poland and before the PCA only had $8,092 in live tournament cashes to his name, the majority of that from a 42nd place finish in the EPT 10 Barcelona Estrellas €2K High Roller.

The Pole shot to fame in January last year when he took down the flagship tourney in the Bahamas for $1,423,096. At the very next EPT stop in Deauville, he won the €10K High Roller for a further €272,000. His fantastic performance in 2014 earned him a nomination for the European Poker Awards Breakout Player of the Year Award, Tournament Performance of the Year and the trophy for Polish Player of the Year. Panka is the only former EPT champion left in the field, meaning he has the chance to become the second player — and the first man — to win two EPT title.

"I’m surer of myself," Panka told PokerNews earlier this week about how his life has changed over the last year. "Before, I was just playing online and was a winning player but I couldn’t be that financially stable. I was playing a decent amount online and was a winning player although I would suffer losing streaks, but now I have financial stability I feel more mature. I would feel good most of the time, but after PCA, with all the traveling to the EPTs and being sponsored by PokerStars for a year, it’s just a great experience."

Tags: Dominik Panka

Seat 6: Hossein Ensan - PokerStars player (865,000)

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Hossein Ensan
Hossein Ensan

Hossein Ensan, 50, belongs to a group of players here in Malta who already know what it feels like to get this far at an EPT. The 50-year old German came to fame at EPT100 in Barcelona when - firstly, he took down the Seniors event and then won his Main Event seat in a live satellite. It turned to be his life-changing achievement as he finished third at EPT Barcelona for €652,667.

Ensan is originally from Iran, but moved to Germany when he was 25 and now lives in Münster. Last month, he made it to the final table at Eureka Rozvadov, busting in eighth place for €12,770. Ensan will need to win the EPT Malta in order to surpass his score from Barcelona last fall.

*Bio courtesy of the EPT.

Tags: Hossein Ensan

Seat 4: Valentin Messina (7,805,000)

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Valentin Messina
Valentin Messina

Valentin Messina, 34, first came to fame when he beat Freddy Deeb heads-up in the France Poker Tour in 2010 for €131,780. The 34-year-old poker pro, originally from France, has been living in Malta for the last 18 months. He wasn’t originally planning to compete in the Main Event but was talked in to it by other friends in Malta who had won their seats online.

He sold a percentage of himself and decided to buy in after all. Obviously it proved a wise decision. Messina, a former Supernova on PokerStars.fr, has been a Poker Coach Academy coach for several years. He now mainly plans online cash games and only plays tournaments on Sunday - that said, he won the Sunday Warm-up last October for €84K after cutting a deal heads up.

*Bio courtesy of the EPT.

Tags: Valentin Messina

Seat 3: Javier Gomez Zapatero - PokerStars Qualifier (3,800,000)

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Javier Gomez Zapatero
Javier Gomez Zapatero

Javier Gomez Zapatero, 24, originally hails from the Spanish university town of Salamanca but has relocated to London where he shares an apartment with his fellow countrymen Sergio Aido and Adrian Mateos, the former having place 15th in this event for €40,100).

Gomez Zapatero is not as famous as his housemates just yet, but that could all change with the EPT Malta final table. He was leading the Main Event at the end of Day 3 and has now made it to the final eight - already securing him his biggest result at a live tournament. He also has the chance of becoming the first Spaniard to win an EPT Main Event.

*Bio courtesy of the EPT.

Tags: Javier Gomez Zapatero

Seat 2: Stefan Schillhabel - PokerStars player (5,515,000)

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Stefan Schillhabel
Stefan Schillhabel

Stefan Schillhabel, who hails from Dusseldorf/Germany, started playing poker in 2006 with friends and is still a recreational player. The 28-year-old is currently studying for a Masters in sociology and also has a part-time job in sales.

In 2014 he qualified for EPT10 Deauville and since then has also played EPT10 Vienna, EPT100 Barcelona and Deauville for a second time last month – however this is his first EPT Main Event cash. His best result thus far came last summer when he took down a $600 Deepstack Event in Las Vegas for $21,047, meaning he's guaranteed to set a much higher mark here in the EPT Malta Main Event.

*Bio courtesy of the EPT.

Tags: Stefan Schillhabel

French Players Dominate EPT Malta Final Six But Panka Still Looms

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Official Final Table EPT Malta 2015
Official Final Table EPT Malta 2015

The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Malta Festival comes to thrilling conclusion today, bringing to an end 12 days of poker where 69 events were crammed in. The stop has already passed the 10,000 entries mark for only the third time in it's near 11-year history, so it's safe to say the decision to bring the tour to Malta has been wholly vindicated.

Both the High Roller and Main Event - the two blue ribbon events of the stop - will crown champions today. The Main Event will return for the final day with six players remaining, dominated by two French players who hold more than half of the chips in play between them. Valentin Messina and Jean Montury will hope to join the likes of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Lucien Cohen and Ludovic Lacay as Fench EPT champions and will have lots of support today.

Here's how the final six line up:

SeatPlayerCount
1Stefan Schillhabel5,515,000
2Javier Gomez Zapatero3,800,000
3Valentin Messina7,805,000
4Hossein Ensan865,000
5Dominik Panka1,680,000
6Jean Montury7,185,000

Sat in seat five is the last remaining EPT champion left in. Dominik Panka, the 2014 PCA champion and Polish player of the year, survived a bumpy birthday ride yesterday and heads into today send to last in chips. He has the massive advantage of being in this position before and the confident young man with have little fear running through his body.

Cards will be in the air at midday CET but PokerNews coverage will resume at 1:00 p.m. to be in line with the cards up coverage on EPT Live. Join us back here then to find out who will become the first ever EPT Malta Champion.

Tags: Dominik PankaHossein EnsanJavier Gomez ZapateroJean MonturyStefan SchillhabelValentin Messina

€5,300 Main Event
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