EPT11 Malta: Breaking records at the Portomaso Casino
Much has been written this week about the European Poker Tour's arrival in Malta. Not only was it the biggest EPT festival to date with 69 tournaments on the schedule (this will be a short lived record already set to be undone during the Grand Final), but it seems we've set a few records locally as well.
Not so long ago St Julian's was a small coastal town built around farming and fishing. Now, 50 years after it began to appeal to tourists and local alike, the Casino is a permanent landmark, and the Portomaso Tower, opening in 2001, the tallest building in Malta. It stands at 98 meters and has 23 floors, offering breath taking views across the island.
This area isn't unfamiliar with the arrival of hundreds of poker players. Portomaso Casino attendance has been pretty high before, with 1,836 players here for the "Battle of Malta" poker festival.
But we're happy to say that record was shattered this week. Actually a couple of times.
Last Friday, as the IPT Main Event played on, some 2,411 players rolled up to the casino entrance for a colour coded wristband and a seat in one of the two tournament rooms working close to capacity.
Then on Saturday another record followed. The 2,959 players who arrived shattered the Friday best by 545. Even Sunday's total of 2,600 was some way above the Friday record.
This part of Malta was already on the map before we got here. But as far as the world poker map is concerned, Portomaso Casino looks set to stay.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.