Denmark’s Henrik Juncker defeated Sweden’s Mats Karlsson in a heads-up battle of Scandinavians on a small island to win the 2022 Unibet Open Malta €1,100 Main Event for €75,000 at Casino Malta.
The €75,000 haul was the largest cash for Juncker, whose previous biggest cash coincidentally also came at a Unibet Open Main Event. Back in 2014, Juncker also came close to winning the Unibet Open Denmark DKr 8,250 Main Event but lost the heads-up battle to eventual champion and fellow Dane Theis Hennebjerre to collect the DKr 425,000 ($64,632).
Largest Unibet Open in Malta
The Unibet Open has been visiting the island of Malta for more than a decade dating back to 2011 when Mateusz Moolhuizen navigated through a field of 293 entries to win the €117,000 top prize. While Moolhuizen collected the largest Unibet Open Main Event prize in the five visits to Malta, this was not due to the field size but rather that the buy-in was €1,650 back then as opposed to €1,100.
The 2022 Unibet Open set a Malta attendance record for the tour with 359 entries entering this no-limit hold’em affair to generate a €359,000 prize pool. Martin Soukup (2016 – €65,000), Daniel Jacobsen (2018 – €60,090), and Alan Carr (2019 – €53,400) also have found Unibet Open glory in Malta.
|2016||292||€292,000||Martin Soukup||Czech Republic||€65,000|
|2019||327||€327,000||Alan Carr||United Kingdom||€53,400|
2022 Unibet Open Malta Main Event Final Table Results
|6||Daniel Illingworth||United States||€14,070|
|8||Samuele Lo Presti||Italy||€9,000|
Final Table Action
Mats Karlsson began the live-streamed final table with the chip lead with eventual champion Henrik Juncker not too far behind in second place.
Early on, two of the short stacks got tangled up in a hand. Raymond Wheatley jammed for about 10 big blinds with nine-seven suited and was on the first final table player on the rail after Tal Sardal called with ace-queen suited and the board ran blank.
The lead bounced back and forth between Karlsson, Juncker, and Serdar Demircan both before and after Karlsson sent Samuele Lo Presti to the rail in eighth place when his queens held against ace-queen.
Demircan temporarily snagged the lead again after his eights held against ace-eight to eliminate Sardal in seventh place but Juncker quickly won a hand off Demircan shortly after to regain the captain’s seat.
Shortly after, Demircan was at it again. This time, he won a flip with big slick against tens to oust Daniel Illingworth in sixth place. Juncker then padded his chip lead by winning a flip of his own when his treys were good against queen-eight suited to send Rain Mölderkivi packing in fifth place.
Karlsson managed to take the lead back during four-handed play but this was not to last as a big hand took place that ended Demircan’s impressive run. It was another coin flip with Demircan with big slick and Juncker with eights. If Juncker lost this flip, there was a good chance the event would end with a different champion. But instead, Demircan bricked the board and Juncker took the lead once again.
Rene Kuhlman found himself down to just four big blinds during three-handed play when he jammed with nine-eight. Karlsson called with king-five suited while Juncker came along for the ride with queen-seven. All three players bricked the board and Karlsson won the pot with his king kicker to eliminate Kuhlman.
Juncker began heads-up play with a 3:2 chip advantage before quickly extending it to a 4:1 chip advantage. It wasn’t over from there as Karlsson mounted a comeback and temporarily took the chip lead. Juncker then doubled through Karlsson when his sevens were good against king-nine suited and the stacks were around the same as the start of heads-up play before the final hand took place.
The final hand with blinds at 100,000/200,000 began simply enough with Juncker limping with Q 4 and Karlsson checking back his option from the big blind with J 2 . The Q 7 6 flop already created action with Juncker holding top pair and Karlsson with a flush draw. Karlsson check-raised from 200,000 to 700,000 and Juncker called.
The Q turn improved Juncker further to trip queens. Karlsson fired out for a cool 1,000,000 and Juncker called. Karlsson was unable to complete his flush draw with instead the 6 river completing the board. He tried to steal it away with a jam for 2,200,000 but his timing was off with Juncker calling with his rivered full house to win the coveted trophy.
Congrats to Henrik Juncker for his epic win in the 2022 Unibet Open Malta Main Event. The action doesn’t stop at Casino Malta as the 2022 Battle of Malta began straight after the conclusion of the Unibet Open. Likewise, while the Unibet Open is over, players at Unibet Poker can still qualify for another amazing event in The Festival Series Bratislava from Oct. 10-16 featuring the €500,000 guaranteed The Festival Series Bratislava €550 Main Event.
*Photos courtesy of Unibet Open photographer Tambet Kask