EPT Snowfest: Wintersberger pips Perner and Brecard to top Alpine counts

ept-thumb-promo.jpgThe best poker tournaments these days really could be hosted anywhere. We've been to an Italian town in the desert and a lost city beneath the sea. This week, no one should be surprised to learn that we're half-way up a mountain - and we're on skis.

This, in case you hadn't heard, is Snowfest, in the Austrian Alps, where the press room window affords a panoramic view of Mount Zwölferkogel and the gaudily-coloured specks sliding down it all day. But while poker players enjoy a gambol in the snow as much as the next man, they also know how to blot out their surroundings when the situation demands. And with a buy in of €3,500, and an expected 600 players, the biggest rewards were on offer inside the tournament room at the Alpine Palace Hotel, where day 1A has just wrapped.

It's only fitting that David Wintersberger - whose name translates literally as "winter mountains" - who will be taking the most back to his log cabin this evening - metaphorically of course. He bided his time through the early stages before surging through in the last couple of levels. He had 290,200 at the very end, which took him to the very summit.

Only slightly lower down in the foothills is Bernhard Perner, who led for most of the evening, was the first through 200,000, and ended the day with 257,500. The Austrian native can feel very satisfied with that.

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Bernhard Perner

Julien Brecard was always likely to enjoy today. It's the French player's 31st birthday, which he opted to spend around the poker tables, with partying as a back-up plan. In the event, he didn't need plan B: Brecard started strongly and never looked back, eventually bagging 238,000, which he'll bring back on Tuesday.

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Julien Brecard: Happy Birthday to me

Brecard, sponsored here by PokerStars, is among the handful that constitute the "chasing pack". Also included are the likes of Brent Wheeler (193,600), Mike Gorodinsky (160,700) and Janko Medja (158,900). The full counts of the remaining 120 (from a starting field of 270) will be available on the chip-count page as soon as internet connectivity allows. (They're not big on the internet up here in the Alps.)

Some of the names notable by their absence are the likes of Chad Brown, Thomas Bichon, Marion Nedellec, Jeff Sarwer, Stephen Chidwick, Aaron Gustavson, Mattias De Meulder, Martin Wendt, Fatima De Melo and Marcin Horecki, all of whom bust today. The latter, a former professional skier, could not contain his urge to get to the slopes longer than an hour today. Horecki bust in the first level.

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Fatima De Melo: who dared to knock her out?

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Marcin Horecki

Still, that's not a bad crop of players still in is it? How does Negreanu (65,700), Kravchenko (129,600), Markushevski (125,200), Strassmann (134,300), Christophe De Meulder (23,600) and Mattern (85,200) sound? They'll all be back for more on day two.

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Daniel Negreanu: focused

Before that, it's day 1b tomorrow, promising ElkY, Minieri, Becker, Naujoks, Kang, Heitmann, Langmann, Danzer, Pagano, Veldhuis, De Korver, Pinho, Medina, Coehlo, Mathis, Alleman, Kelly, Barbero among many others.

Join us then - but not before you've reviewed today with any of the following links:

Levels 1 and 2
Levels 3 and 4
Levels 5 and 6
Levels 7, 8 and 9

Video blogs and all that jazz are available at PokerStars.tv

And this is also available in German, Dutch or Italian. Give it a try. Or not. It's your choice.

That'll be that then. See you tomorrow at 2pm, where the line on "Number of Players Playing in Casts" is around seven.

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To play us out: Goats with Accordians

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour