Everyone Knows Antoine Degiorgio

13 Jun 2024
Jonathan Raab 13 Jun 2024
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  • Antoine Degiorgio finishes 3rd in Festival Series Main Event
  • Scoops lifetime best cash of €33,900 at Kings Casino, Rozvadov
  • Hugs on the final table
  • Secures a €10,350 WSOPE Main Event Seat
Antoine Degiorgio on the Festival Series Feature Table
Antoine Degiorgo wearing I Love Malta t-shirt on Final Table of The Festival Series Main Event. Photo by Mairo Toom, courtesy of The Festival Series
Antoine Degiorgio, the godfather of Maltese Poker, finished third in the Main Event of The Festival Series at Kings Casino, Rozvadov.

“Who do you know out of the last remaining players?” I was asked by The Festival’s Social Media Mogul Melvin Schroen during the latter stages of the second day of The Festival Series in Rozvadov’s Main Event. 

“Well, I know Antione Degiorgio” I replied, much to both Melvin’s and my own amusement, because as Melvin chuckled back Everyone knows Antoine!” 

And because everyone knows Antoine, I don’t need to tell you that he’s the one of the best-known poker players in Malta. 

I also don’t need to tell you that Antoine is the administrator of the Malta Poker Fish facebook group, which has over 5,000 members and is a focal point for the island’s poker playing community. 

Nor do I need to tell you about his charismatic, friendly and outgoing character, which is perfect for making new players and visitors feel welcome when they take their seats at one of Malta’s frequent poker events.

It’s also so painfully obvious that Antoine loves all forms of poker, especially mixed games, that I really didn’t need to tell you that either.

And I would simply be wasting my time if I bothered to tell you that his presence lights up a poker room and ensures that a great time will be had by all.

Live Streamed Final Table of The Festival Series Main Event

But while everyone knows Antoine, they may have never seen him on the final table of a Main Event live stream before. However on Sunday 9th June, 2024, Antoine, sporting an 'I Love Malta' t-shirt, took his seat at the final table of €500,000 guaranteed The Festival Series Main Event at Kings Casino, Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

As most people won’t have witnessed the stream when it was live, I do need to tell you that you haven’t missed out, as it can be re-watched on The Festival Series Twitch Channel with energetic and enthusiastic commentary by Václav 'Lemon' Dušek. 

And you really should watch it, because not only will you see Antoine pulling off some masterful strokes as well as a few unfortunately timed bluffs, but you will also see how his great enthusiasm for the game and friendly table presence lights up a poker table. 

Antoine, sponsored for this tournament by Guts Poker, finished in third place in the €550 Main Event, for a lifetime best cash of €33,900 plus a seat into the €10,350 Main Event of the World Series of Poker Europe. 

The Loneliness of the Recently Busted Poker Player

Anyone who has played live poker will at some point (and quite frequently) experience the hollow emptiness of being sent to the rail. Many simply stand and walk away without a word being said when they bust. Others say their goodbyes and wish good luck to their former opponents before toddling off. 

It’s not uncommon to be completely ignored when you offer your farewell salutations to players you were previously enjoying a little friendly banter with, just a few minutes before you got felted. But that will never happen when you play with Antoine Degiorgio.

Whenever someone was knocked out on this final table in Rozvadov, Degiorgio was the first player to jump out of his seat and immediately console them with a big hug, much as he does every week in live games in Malta. 

It is a much better experience than the ghosting that often happens when a player is dumped out of a tournament. Kudos to Antoine for these selfless acts of humanity.

The Journey Home

Malta has been my adopted home for almost ten years and I recall meeting Antoine on my first visit to Portomaso casino in 2014. Although I haven’t been able to play in the poker room there as often as I like (largely due to fathering duties) and I’m therefore not familiar with everyone in the community, I know that there is always someone there who will make me feel welcome when i do venture onto the tables. 

I suspect that many occasional players in Malta also experience this same welcoming presence from the Godfather* of Maltese poker.

I shared the long journey home from Rozvadov to Malta with Antoine and the time flew by, barely checking my phone during the two hour road trip to Munich airport. We talked about many things on the ride, including the World Series of Poker in Europe later this year, which Antoine now has a ticket for. Is he looking forward to playing it? 

*There are others who have greater claim to godfather status in Malta, we'll get to them in another article later coming soon.

World Series of Poker in Europe

The answer is not straightforward. For sure if he does play in the €10,350 WSOPE Main Event, he will undoubtedly have the time of his life once again, but he also recognises that it will be a really tough event that maybe he would prefer for someone else to play in his place. 

I really hope he does take his seat in the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event, as his modesty is too much, he would certainly be in with a great chance of cashing, maybe even final tabling and then who knows what could happen…

He would certainly improve the experience for those lucky enough to share a table with him in such a big event. 

But if he doesn’t play it (and crucially that depends on whether the powers-that-be at Kings Casino allow him not to), he might prefer to gift the seat (but retain some equity) as an added prize to the winner of a poker tournament of his choosing in Malta. 

We certainly won’t hold him to this and it would be preferable if he takes the seat himself. The fact that this was Antoine's very first thought when asked about it, shows the magnitude of his desire to share his recent success with the regulars he plays with week-in, week-out in Malta. 

The €35 Tuesday night Sviten Special is one that Degiorgio instigated and I for one will be attending at some point in the near future. 

All rise for original poker King of Malta!

The Festival in Rozvadov Final Table Result

1Presiyan TsvetanovBulgaria€90,350*
2Michal RiczakCzech Republic€58,250*
3Antoine DegiorgioMalta€44,250*
4Barnabas NagyHungary€35,950*
5Yann LormelFrance€30,550*
7Erik PolluveerEstonia€ 11,000
8AnonymousGermany€ 7,500
9Rickard OlssonSweden€ 5,950
*Includes €10,350 WSOPE Main Event Seat

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