IPT Malta: Botond takes early lead

The players are heading into level 6 with 370 players on the board so far with a final number still to be confirmed. The field is already fairly well-stacked with a mixture of PokerStars qualifiers and well-known pros, eaching chancing their arm in the hope of a massive payout.

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Eureka4 Prague winner Balazs Botond is one of the early leaders here in Malta

At this point, it looks as though Balazs Botond is the earlier chip leader today. The Hungarian has already amassed a healthy 75,000 and will be looking to repeat his heroics from Eureka4 Prague where he took the title and €206,948 in prize money.

Elsewhere Arnaud Mattern has had a solid start, the Frenchman is up to 55,000 and is doing the best out of the five former EPT champions who are playing today. David Vamplew (34,000), Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree (28,000), PokerStars sponsored player Dominik Panka (20,000) and Jannick Wrang (16,00) are the others still in the hunt.

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IPT San Remo winner Sergio Castelluccio

Others still involved include IPT San Remo Season 2 winner Sergio Castelluccio (11,000), the Italian having picked up €200,00 for his win. Former EPT finalist Sam Chartier (32,000) has made the trip over the pond from Canada for this festival, the French Canadian has a couple of six-figure results in EPT, finishing 7th at EPT5 Barcelona for €178,000 and 3rd in the EPT7 San Remo High Roller event for €111,400. Festival regular Yury Gulyy has also travelled to the Mediterranean, the Russian has already cashed this year in the PCA coming 66th for $24,140 and has previously won Turbo Bounty events at both EPT London and EPT Copenhagen.

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Jonathan Little was an early casualty

On the flip side of things, the list of casualties grows ever longer. Matas Cimbolas, who finished 8th at EPT Deauville for €58,820 was just eliminated after he called all in on the river of a 2♠7♠7♦T♥9♥ board against Nathaniel Nello Falber. The Brazilian player showed K♥7♥ before saying he'd have played it the same with a missed flush draw. Other names to head to the rail include Jonathan Little, Sofia Lovgren, Frank Stumpf, Aleksandr Denisov, Senh Ung, Massimo Di Cicco and Mateusz Moolhuizen.

IPT Malta update:

- 287 players remain out of 378 who entered so far
- Still awaiting the final number of players for Day 1a
- Players go on a 75-minute dinner break at the end of this level (6.35pm CET)
- Ten levels will be played today
- Five EPT winners in the field today including Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree

To get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts, don't forget to download the EPT App on both Android or IOS.

Chris Hall
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour