EPT12 Malta: The Big Game goes Italian

October 29, 2015


The Big Game returns at EPT Malta

Anybody really new to poker might not have encountered The Big Game, a made-for-television poker show that first aired in 2010. It was attractive for its format, which was appealing to recreational amateurs and professionals alike, and is still remembered fondly by its co-host, Joe Stapleton, who has since gone on to be a fixture on coverage of the European Poker Tour.

The Big Game was essentially a high-stakes cash game, as popularised by High Stakes Poker, but with one amateur player thrown in among the sharks. The so-called “Loose Cannon” was given a bankroll by PokerStars, the show’s sponsor, with which to gamble, but any profit made was his or hers to keep.

Want to get involved? Click here to get a PokerStars account.

The Loose Cannon element livened things up, with the pros trying to figure out the best approach to relieve the less-experienced player of his or her (sponsor’s) money. Most players bent over backwards to make the newcomer welcome, which worked both as good entertainment but also to butter up the visitor. In some memorable cases the Loose Cannon fought back.

It’s been a while since the Big Game was on English-speaking TV (every episode is still available on PokerStars.tv) but here in Malta we were treated to a blast from the past when our Italian hosts recorded two episodes.

The producers invited some of the game’s biggest international names to play, which explains the presence of Jake Cody and Kevin MacPhee in the two heats, while the well-known Italian players Dario Sammartino and Umberto Vitaglioni also participated.


Kevin MacPhee: A non-Italian

An edited version of the show will likely appear on Italian TV in the coming months, with commentary from Luca Pagano, but they streamed live as they were being recorded, which gave everybody across the world a chance to see the warts-and-all version.

Rene Velli, our photographer, was handed an Access All Areas pass to the recordings, and a gallery of photos is below. If you want to know who won what, then you can also scroll to the very bottom of this post for the final standings. Players began with €10,000 stacks and could re-load if required.


Gianluca Irpino: Heat 1’s Loose Cannon


Jake Cody joins the Italian sharks


Dario Sammartino: Italian poker’s poster boy


Francesco Cipolleschi and Kevin MacPhee: A Loose Cannon and a WSOP winner


Eros Nastasi, Umberto Vitagliono and Clavio Anzalone

Big Game Italy results

Heat 1

Seat Player Reload Final stack Profit/loss
1 Dario Sammartino € 12,320 € 2,320
2 Cristian Favale € 5,000 € 11,675 -€ 3,325
3 Jake Cody € 9,835 -€ 165
4 Pasquale Braco € 9,475 -€ 525
5 Davide Suriano € 10,000 € 16,845 -€ 3,155
6 Gianluca Irpino Loose Cannon € 14,850 € 4,850

Heat 2

Seat Player Reload Final stack Profit/loss
1 Francesco Cipolleschi Loose Cannon € 0 -€ 10,000
2 Kevin MacPhee € 8,000 € 23,660 € 5,660
3 Yohan Viral € 10,000 € 17,375 -€ 2,625
4 Eros Nastasi € 23,375 € 13,375
5 Umberto Vitagliono € 12,000 € 14,265 € 7,735
6 Clavio Anzalone € 11,325 € 1,325

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the Main Event is on the Main Event page and everything from the side events is on the side events page.

No really, begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS


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