Meet the man who won the 2014 Battle of Malta Main Event and €122,750 in only his second ever live cash
PokerPlayer: Congrats on your win last year at the Battle of Malta! How long have you been playing?
Antoan Katsarov: Thanks! I was studying in college when a friend of mine told me about his poker winnings. I was impressed and I decided to try it for myself. I started playing in 2011 and six months later I stopped my studies and started playing full time.
Your first live result was in May last year at the MPN Poker Tour in London, which you won. How did that feel?
It felt incredible. I was insanely happy. When did you decide to play BOM? After I won the MPN London I felt that I needed to play more live. I won a €160 satellite on Betsson which gave me the BOM package.
The field at BOM was much bigger than at the MPN Poker Tour. What was your strategy going into it?
I just tried to play my best game. The variation in live events is insane, so even if you play great you can’t expect to cash lots of tournaments in a row.
How did you finish Day 1?
I was around average but in the middle of the tournament I had less than a big blind. Luckily I found a few good spots!
So Day 3… You’re in the money. Were you thinking about the win?
No, I was only thinking about the pay jumps.
You were fairly short stacked when you had to make an all-in call with K-9 with about 20 players left. Was this the start of you building a stack?
I was picking up any +EV situations. I didn’t think about strategy, I just wanted to play optimally and get as far as possible. You played a big hand on the final table with Hugo Lemaire when you called a raise preflop and then called bets on the flop and turn, before shoving the river on the K♦-4♥-7♠-K♥-2♦ board.
Monster bluff or monster hand?
I took most of Hugo’s chips in the space of three hands, I think. I’ve got him to thank for doing so well! I had a King but I would have played the same way with draws. Hugo had a tough decision. He could easily snap call me with any pair.
You had a big lead heads-up and there was talk of deal, but you declined and played on – why didn’t you deal?
My friend Alan was very greedy and wanted an insane amount of money despite the amount of chips I had, so we played on.
In the end it went all the way to the hard stop. How did that change your tactics knowing the tournament would chip- chop at 5am?
I actually forgot as I was so tired! I would have played differently at the end where I lost €10-15K in chips. I wanted to play another day but most of the others wanted to play until the end.
What did you do with your winnings?
I bought a lot of things, played in a lot of live events and travelled around Europe. It’s been cool.
Are back to defend your title?
For sure! I’m going to try and satellite in again, but I’ll play either way as it’s such a great tournament.
What advice would you give to players who are going this year?
Play satellites online. You are lowering the variance and lots of the players are weak. Also don’t think about how much you can win. Play optimally and you will win much more then if you play scared money!
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