Henrik Juncker Wins the 2022 Unibet Open Malta Main Event (€75,000)
The 2022 Unibet Open Malta €1,100 Main Event has crowned a winner at the five-star Intercontinental Hotel in St Julian's. Out of a field of 359 entries, Denmark's Henrik Juncker claimed the lion's share of the €359,000 prize pool after he defeated Mats Karlsson in an all-Scandinavian duel for the title.
Juncker entered the final table, in which the nine contenders represented nine different countries, third in chips. The Dane quickly assumed control with his aggressive playing style to dominate the action and earned the top prize of €75,000 after a short but topsy-turvy battle with Karlsson.
The 15th anniversary edition of the popular mid-stakes tour headed to the Mediterranean island for the fifth time and set a new attendance record for the island stop. Tournaments took place in the Convention Center of the hotel, while cash games ran in the adjacent Casino Malta situated in the same venue. It was the second record turnout for the operator in the current year as the Unibet Poker Belgian Championship at Casino Blankenberge also exceeded all expectations.
More than 100 players had gained their entry through the online Unibet Poker platform, ensuring a very recreational field. Besides the poker action during the five-day series with five-star accommodation, the brand also provided the usual fun activities and parties to bring back the usual jovial atmosphere for which it is widely known.
Nataly Sopacuaperu, Unibet Open’s Head of Events, was certainly happy with the outcome of the first live edition of a Unibet Open stop in more than two and a half years: "It is great to be back after such a long break of over 2 years. We are grateful to see that the players have found their way back to our tables from all over Europe and even beyond. The numbers speak for themselves however it doesn't say anything about the amazing vibe in the tournament area. We are back!"
2022 Unibet Open Malta €1,100 Main Event Final Table Results
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in EUR)|
|6||Daniel Illingworth||United States||€14,070|
|8||Samuele Lo Presti||Italy||€9,000|
The international line-up included 2019 Unibet Open Malta finalist Serdar Demircan, who broke his curse of finishing in sixth place in poker events on the island. Much of the spotlight during the last two days belonged to the Swede, who filled the entire room with a very active table presence. His elimination in fourth place was one of the pivotal moments on the final day as it propelled eventual champion Juncker into a commanding lead.
Rene Kuhlman was the sole Dutch player out of a strong contingent of countrymen to enter the competition and tangled back and forth with Demircan on several occasions. Three-handed play left the Dutchman card-dead, and he was crushed by the aggression of Juncker to settle for the bronze spot.
Perhaps the most high-profile contender besides 2016 EPT Malta runner-up Karlsson was Daniel Illingworth, who has more than $1.3 million in cashes to his name. The American, now based in Belgium and traveling the European circuit, nursed a severe short stack and laddered up to sixth place for a payday of €14,070.
Irish businessman Raymond Wheatley reached the second major final table in a live poker event after his fourth place at the 2019 Irish Open Main Event, in which he came fourth for €85,000. Railed by fellow countryman and Unibet ambassador Dara O'Kearney, his student Wheatley became the first casualty on the final table but left the tournament room with a smile on the face.
O'Kearney said: “The festival has been an amazing success with record numbers and a huge buzz among players who hadn’t seen each other for years. And shoutout to my student Ray Wheatley who put the advise in “Endgame Poker Strategy” to good use to make it all the way to the final table of the Main Event,” the professional poker player and book author concluded at the end of a busy festival in the heart of Europe.
O'Kearney and Wheatley may very well be back at the poker tables on home soil when the next Unibet-sponsored live event in Ireland kicks off. The popular International Poker Open returns to the European poker calendar in a few weeks from now and takes place from October 26 to 31 at the Bonnington Hotel in Dublin. Ongoing satellites for the six-day festival are available on the online Unibet Poker platform.
As far as the Unibet Open live tour is concerned, planning for the next stops is already underway, and further news regarding the schedule for 2023 can be expected in the near future.
This concludes the PokerNews live updates from the largest Unibet Open Malta Main Event in history.
The Unibet Open Malta Stops at a Glance
|Year||Entries||Prize Pool||Winner||Country||Top Prize|
|2016||292||€292,000||Martin Soukup||Czech Republic||€65,000|
|2019||327||€327,000||Alan Carr||United Kingdom||€53,400|