28 Players Survive Day 1a of the 2018 Unibet Open Malta Main Event
For the third time since it's inception, the Unibet Open has set up shop on the popular island of Malta. The first of two starting days at the 2018 Unibet Open Malta, held in the Intercontinental Hotel in the city of St. Julians, attracted a total of 88 runners. After ten levels of 60 minutes, 28 of them were able to make their way to Day 2, with French's Charly Grenet claiming top honor. Grenet bagged 197,400 to distance himself from his nearest challengers Jenny Israel (168,500) and Ilkka Heikkila (154,300).
2017 Unibet Open London Main Event winner [Removed:158] (lead photo) had a strong showing as well, bagging 131,400 to strengthen his bid for a second title. Besides the title, Van Lancker also finished third in this event back in 2016, making him one to watch going forward.
Other notables that made it through were French pros Johan Guilbert (77,100) and Erwann Pecheux (36,900). Guilbert survived a brutal full house over full house situation halfway through the day, which left him short, but climbed back up after it to a near average stack.
It was a bad day for the hosts as all participating Unibet Ambassadors fell by the wayside throughout the day. Daiva Byrne, Espen Uhlen Jorstad and Sophia "djarii" White ran out of chips during the ten levels on Day 1a. Byrne lost a coin flip with pocket tens against ace-queen, White lost ace-eight to pocket tens when a ten hit the river after an ace flopped, and Jorstad was short early on and never could get anything going.
The same empty-handed faith awaited defending champion Martin Soukup, who won this event two years ago. Dehlia de Jong, Niko Koop, Bas de Laat, Paul Berende, and Jorma Vuoksenmaa were other notables who's attempt at Unibet Open glory ended on the first day.
All 28 surviving players return on Saturday, May 19, at noon to play the second of three days. On Friday, the same ten levels await the players that join Day 1b. A bigger field is expected to show up, including a slew of Unibet Ambassadors and eSporters.
At the feature table, the winner of the €330 Unibet Deepstack Open Cup was crowned today, and it was none other than 2017 Unibet Open Copenhagen champion Kaarel Lepik who reaped the top reward. Lepik conquered a final table that also contained Dan Murariu to capture his second Unibet title and win €13,860.
PokerNews will be on the floor to cover the Main Event event from start to finish as the Unibet Open rolls on. There will be a special treat for the early birds: from 10 a.m., the stream will feature the Tag Team tournament that was held on Wednesday. This four-hour Sit 'n Go features all the eSporters as well as Unibet Ambassadors.
Once the tournament has concluded, the live stream will switch to broadcast the action of Day 1b. Check the Unibet Open Malta Live Reporting for live updates.
A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.