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The Festival Series Meets – Antoine Degiorgio – Maltese Trophy Hunter

The Festival Series Meets – Antoine Degiorgio – Maltese Trophy Hunter

Eight years ago, I went myself to live on an island called Malta. I was directly sold within the same day with this amazing place. The culture, the language, the poker offers in live casinos, the i-gaming Walhalla of Europe, the Azure Window (Nature decided otherwise nowadays) and other great natural landmarks, the people in general. One of the people I had the honour of meeting back in the day, was Antoine Degiorgio. And safe to say, it’s not that difficult to meet him, because he has this characteristic thing which everyone just can adore. People like Antoine, really make the poker environment far beyond a much nicer place. Let’s introduce him to all of you.

Melvin TF: Hi Antoine. You are the admin of the biggest poker community on the island, Malta Poker Fish. And a trophy hunter above all, Hold’em and all mixed games passionate, known all around by personality, with a big heart for people in general. How are you doing? Is life treating you well after winning yet another trophy in mixed games last week?

Antoine: ‘’Hi Melvin, everything is going all right here. Yesss, a trophy! You know I love them trophies! It was good that it was in a mixed games event, and not Hold’em, you know. I’m playing for 14 years poker now, you can imagine the happiness of winning that event.. Beautiful!

What was nice this year, especially now The Festival Series is coming down. We created an 8 game tournament for locals. Jeremy Tan, Martin, Jerran, and Wouter; thanks to them we made an 8-game every Saturday. All local events are PLO and NLHE. Did help there was The Festival coming up, so we could practise.  It’s thanks to the casino and the local players that we could expand from No-Limit Hold’Em and PLO.’’

Melvin TF: Besides poker, what are your other passions in life?

Antoine: ‘’At the moment I am retired from work. Or semi-retired, sabbatical, name it how you want it. I’ve got plenty of time now for poker, having fun at the tables, drink a couple here and there. With Festivals coming up like this, I am super ecstatic about it. I don’t play poker just for the game, it’s mostly to meet people, socialize with them, have a good time and trophies. That’s all that matters to me. Money comes and goes, and Trophies and friends are forever.’’

Melvin TF: You have visited our event in Tallinn, always happy to join in on some banter on and off the tables, spreading a great positive vibe. You are a true live poker player, right? How was your experience of the previous event you experienced?

Antoine: ‘’Tallinn was one of my worst runs in live tournaments, to be honest with you, but one of the most fun poker holidays I have had. I’ve been a couple of times before in Tallinn, and this was actually the first time I got to see the beauty of what Tallinn has to offer. Off course, Maltese love snow and -14 degrees and that, because we are not used to it as Maltese, but this time the weather was great in June, and I loved every bit of it.

At The Festival Series, all is about friendliness at the tables, the fun, joking, and drinking. It’s a great mix of good players, recreational players, and sometimes a bit weaker players, but it’s all about having fun as well. For us Maltese, it’s what we like at the poker tables, so your festival is coming at the right time, at the right moment!’’

Melvin TF: You are one of the key players in Maltese poker and its community. How is the Maltese poker community doing nowadays? Are any differences visible compared to the early days, or even like 5 years ago?

Antoine: ‘’As mentioned, I’m playing poker now for 14 years on and about, and our Maltese community is doing pretty well, I have to say. It can always be better, but our community is strong. But we are missing out on some events, such as a team event. When you have 3 players in your team, one bluffs the stack away from the other one who gained some chips before, it brings a lot of fun and brings the community close.

Lately, some of our players from the community had some great results in big tournaments, winning side events.. It’s going the right way, as we would like to keep more trophies in the local area.’’

Melvin TF: Living on an island with such great weather, sea, beach, happy hours at The Compass Lounge, and poker tournaments every day anywhere. Is it the ‘American Dream’ for a poker player to reside in Malta nowadays?

Antoine: ‘’You know it, we have a great poker scene here. There are multiple casinos, of which some like Portomaso Casino are offering continuous tournaments and cash games. We have a big amount of international events coming over every year, and we are liking them very much. It’s good to be here for poker. I just love what Franke and you guys are building with your Festival Series, it should be the standard per definition of all festivals.’’

Melvin TF: You met many international poker players at the tables throughout your poker career. If some lost Swede, Fin, or Dutch player will come up to you, asking for any recommendations on what to do on the island after having had an epic bad beat? What would that sound like?

Antoine: ‘’Portomaso Casino has an extremely good location, where there are a lot of restaurants and bars around. It’s safe to say it’s a good time over here. Personally, I am a big fan of a restaurant called Zeri’s, which is at the Marina Hilton. Furthermore, lots of poker players love the Libanese cuisine of a place called The Aft Galley. Another great place is Le Majoliche in St. Julians, a very nice place to go to.

But in the end, what I would suggest to all international poker players coming here to Malta; There is so much to see on our little island, it’s really a very beautiful piece of the world. Going for poker trips should not just be about poker, but also about visiting places, it’s so much fun!’’

Melvin TF: It was a pleasure speaking to you. And we see each other very soon! What comes in mind if I would ask you to close our interview?

Antoine: ‘’I do need to have mentioned that the schedule you guys are offering is just amazing. It really should be the standard in poker nowadays. To have so many events to choose from, to jump from one to another tournament.

The choice to put the PokerListings Championship on Sunday is also just great. I hope a lot of locals will turn up, especially because of the great starting time of 14:00 in the afternoon. I am going to try to qualify directly for the second day, so I can get the mixed-game tournaments to start going.

Really good poker players should be able to play more than just one format. Not just the boring Hold’em hehe! (needle, needle)’’