EPT Snowfest: Let it Snowfest
Last night in Hinterglemm, Austria, the dastardly organisers of the European Poker Tour answered a long-standing question. If we put a PokerStars welcome party on top of a mountain, will people still come in their droves?
The answer is: of course they will. It was a foolish question. PokerStars welcome parties have long been among the hottest tickets in town, but this one was even more special. This week, the European Poker Tour is breaking new ground - and possibly a few limbs - as we hit the Alps for the inaugural Snowfest, a jamboree of poker, skiing, snowboarding, apres ski ... and goats.
Yes, goats. The party last night was held at the infamous Goasstall, a bar renowned for free-flowing booze, its wonderful location literally one step from a ski-slope, and its pens of pet goats. The billies and nannies were as impressed as all of us other well-oiled folk as people took to the tables to dance and disrobe long into the Alpine night.
Today, clothes are back on, as are game faces, as we begin day 1A of a poker tournament. The official cap for the event is 600 and there is every indication that we'll get very close to that number. Play begins at 2pm, and the usual EPT rules apply.
That means one-hour levels for the starting flights, following the established EPT structure, and then 75-minute levels on day two. Our final table, under the watchful eye of EPT Live takes place on Friday.
The stars are out in force. From Team PokerStars Pro playing today, we have the likes of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Daniel Negreanu, Chad Brown, Arnaud Mattern, Marcin Horecki, Thomas Bichon, Vadim Markushevski, Mattias and Christophe De Meulder, Johannes Strassman and Sandra Naujoks.
The PokerStars SportStars Boris Becker and Fatima de Melo are also in town. The EPT London champion Aaron Gustavsson is a PokerStars qualifier here, as is Kyiv champion Max Lykov. We have a World Cup winner in Malte Strothman, an LAPT champion in Dominik Nitsche, online sensations Joe "ender555" Ebanks and Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick. Jesper Hougaard has a World Series bracelet and Jeff Sarwer will probably have a major title soon.
It's a good line up, I can't at the moment see any arms in casts, and so let's begin.