EPT Snowfest: Day 4, level 22, 23 & 24 updates (blinds 15,000-30,000, 3,000 ante)

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8.55pm: Iemina out in ninth, play ends for the day
Manilo Iemina had less than 15 big blinds and all of those chips, some 412,000, went over the line with his 4♦4♥. The action passed to Philip Meulyzer who re-shoved from the button for 1.4 million. Both Denis Mirphy and Morten Mortensen passed in the blinds.

Iemina's hope to be flipping was quickly crushed. Meulyzer turned over A♠A♣ and the board ran out 9♥T♦5♣5♠T♠ to end play for the day. Meulyzer, for the first time that I've seen, allowed himself a smile.

Chip counts and full wrap of the day's play to come shortly. -- RD

8.50pm: Only playing the nuts
PokerStars qualifier Cristian Dragomir just made a promise to the table that he would only be playing the nuts. This came after he raised from early position, took the blinds and then revealed pocket tens.

Vladimir Geshkenbein responded by saying, "So if I moved all-in, you would fold there?"

Dragomir responded, "No, I swear at you and call. I'd swear in Russian though as I don't want a penalty."

Two hands later, Morten Mortensen raised from early position and Dragomir three-bet from the next seat. The action folded back to Mortensen who passed. Do you think he had aces or kings there or was just trying to use some psychological warfare? -- MC

8.35pm: Final table draw

We've got one more player to bust before play stops for the night and the following nine players all still have a shot at becoming the next EPT Snowfest champion, following in the footsteps of Allan Baekke, last year's winner.

1. Kevin Vandersmissen - 4,300,000
2. Giacomo Maisto - 1,083,000
3. Vladimir Geshkenbein - 1,600,000
4. Philip Meulyzer - 1,489,000
5. Denis Murphy, PokerStars qualifier - 829,000
6. Morten Mortenesen - 900,000
7. Cristian Dragomir, PokerStars qualifier - 1,685,000
8. Manilo Iemina - 566,000
9. Koen De Visscher - 1,630,000

There are plenty of aggressive players at that table so we don't expect play to go on too much longer today. -- RD

8.30pm: No friends at the poker table as Tardea busts in tenth
Cristian Dragomir has been a very vocal supporter of fellow Romanian Cristian Tardea today, but when it came to the crunch that support was, understandably, nowhere to be seen.

Tardea raised with pocket jacks and Dragomir set him all-in with pocket fours. Tardea called for his tournament life but couldn't fade the two-outer. Dragomir was so distraught at knocking out his friend that he went to the corner of the room and burst into tears.

The remaining nine players will re-draw and will play at one table until we lose one more player. We'll post up that draw as soon as we have it. -- MC

8.25pm: Play resumes

8.20pm: All things Austrian
Know anything about Austria? Find out if the players do too...


8.10pm: Break time
Level 23 has come to an end and the players are on a 15 minute break. -- MC

8.05pm: Plenty of aggression but no busts
Play hasn't really slowed down in the approach to the final table but there haven't been two big hands that have collided for some time. Philip Meulyzer took a pot from chip leader Kevin Vandersmissen. Denis Murphy took some from Koen De Visscher, but gave others away to a three-bet from Mortern Mortensen.

One more player to fall and we'll go to a nine-handed table. One more after that and our final table of eight is set. -- RD

7.55 pm: Three hands with Geshkenbein
Vladimir Geshkenbein is a very active player who seems to need to be in the action so we followed him for three hands in-a-row:

Hand 1. Kevin Vandersmissen opened to 48,000 from under-the-gun and Geshkenbein three-bet to 132,000 from the next seat. When the Belgian came back with a four-bet to 300,000, Geshkenbein snap folded.

Hand 2. Geshkenbein got straight back on the horse by raising to 50,000 into the big blind of Vandersmissen. He took the blinds and antes as all folded.

Hand 3. Geshkenbein called a 48,000 raised from Philip Meulyzer to see a 5♥5♣8♠ flop. He check-called a 55,00 bet to go to the 6♠ turn where both players checked. The river came 9♣ and Geshkenbein's 100,000 bet was good to take the pot down. -- MC

7.45pm: Pierre Neuville is out in 11th (€11,000)
Pierre Neuville has just missed out on his second EPT final table. The chips all went in on the river of a T♠Q♦A♦5♠Q♦ board with Neuville's A♠[8] crushed by Kevin Vandersmissen's (who else?) Q♣J♥. -- RD

7.34pm: Another scalp for Geshkenbein as he busts Sarkisyan in 12th
Vladimir Geshkenbein is up to around 1,500,000 after he busted fellow Russian Karen Sarkisyan. Sarkisyan was very short and shoved for about 250,000 from first position and was called by Geshkenbein.

Geshkenbein: A♣A♥
Sarkisyan: T♠9♠

Before the board was dealt Geshkenbein said, "That's the best hand to have against aces, equity wise."

The Russian's point was almost proven as the flop fell 9♣T♦Q♠ to make Sarkisyan two-pair. Geshkenbein was saved on the A♦ turn though and the river came K♥ to seal the deal. -- MC

7.22pm: The end of Erlandsson
Hans Erlandsson opened for 64,000 from under the gun and with the action folded around to the big blind it was Vladimir Geshkenbein's time to act.

The pair have been talking, albeit in brief snippets, throughout the afternoon, Erlandsson doing most of the talking. Now he was about to find out that attempts to make friends in poker are meaningless. Geshkenbein raised to 140,000 and yet again Erlandsson resorted to the all-in move in reply. Geshkenbein called at once, throwing down K♠K♥. Erlandsson threw his cards down too, A♣J♣.

Geshkenbein smiled to himself, privately enjoying the dramatic rush of moments like these. The board came K♣3♦J♥4♣2♠.

Erlandsson was out. He shook Geshkenbein's hand and the Russian turned and smiled, but quickly returned to gathering up his new chips. We're down to 12 players. - SB

7.15pm: Vandersmissen up, Geshkenbein down
Kevin Vandersmissen is continuing to rake in the chips, while Vladimir Geshkenbein is losing his at a rate of knots. Vandersmissen had raised into Geshkenbein from small into big blind and had c-bet the A♣6♣K♠ flop. The Russian called.

Both players checked the 5♠ turn before Vandersmissen stabbed 125,000 at the 5♣ river. Geshkenbein insta-called and was shown an ugly trips with 7♠5♥.

Geshkenbein three-bet Vandersmissen to 70,000 pre-flop the next hand and quickly called a 50,000 bet on the K♣6♣2♣7♦T♣ river. Vandersimissen held J♣T♦ for the jack-high flush. Geshkenbein angrily mucked his hand. He's been up and down all day but the current trend is certainly down.

Vandermissen made Broadway against Hans Erlandsson the next hand. He's playing well, running well. It's a dangerous combination. -- RD

7.05pm: Can you hear them in Bucharest?
The noise you just heard was Cristian Dragomir doubling up, with backing vocals supplied by his countryman Cristian Tardea.

Dragomir was all-in for a whopping 900,000 with A♦Q♥ and had been called by the soft-spoken Koen De Visscher with K♣K♥. The rail crowded in to watch the outcome, which was decided straight away.

A♠Q♦3♦4♣6♦.

Dragmir let out a cry that shook the building, not wise in avalanche country, and slapped the hands of his equally vocal friend Tardea. De Visscher began to quietly count out chips and later graciously congratulated Dragomir on the hand.

Dragomir up to 1,800,000 while De Visscher slips to 1,650,000. Despite his celebrations Tardea's chip total didn't change. - SB

6.50pm: Play restarts
Play continues in Level 22 with blinds at 12,000-24,000 with a 3,000 ante.

6.35pm: Break
It's a 15 minute break for the final 13 players.

6.34pm: Last action of the level
Cristian Tardea moved all-in for 200,000 from the cut-off moments before the break but got not takers. -- SB

6.32pm: One for Meulyzer
On a flop of 4♣Q♠3♠ Philip Meulyzer checked to Kevin Vandersmissen on the button who bet 88,000. Meulyzer then called for a 3♣ turn card. Both checked for a 6♦ river. Meulyzer bet 254,000 more sending Vandersmissen into the tank, his head, like always resting on his hand, the rest of his body slouching. A few minutes later he passed. - SB

6.30pm: Dragomir pays off De Visscher
Cristian Dragomir likes to talk, but it doesn't really seem to be helping him very much.

"Can I get a walk? Can I? Can I? Can I get a walk?" he asked Koen De Visscher when the action folded to De Visscher in the small blind. De Visscher answered with his chips by raising to 52,000. Dragomir called and then proceeded to stare down his opponent solidly for the rest of the hand.

De Visscher c-bet 56,000 and Dragomir called. And stared.

De Visscher checked the 3♠ turn. Dragomir also checked. And continued to stare.

The 5♣ river was incentive enough for De Visscher to make a chunky 172,000 bet. Did Dragomir call? He was too busy staring at De Visscher. The Romanian called time on himself and with 30 seconds to go made the call. De Visscher turned over T♣7♣ for the straight. Just as well Dragomir did all that staring to get a read... -- RD

6.25pm: Huge three-way pot goes to De Visscher as Wiese exits
Koen De Visscher, Andreas Wiese and Cristian Tardea all went to a 9♦4♥7♦ flop after De Visscher raised from under-the-gun. Tardea was in the big blind and led out for 100,000 before De Visscher raised to 235,000, and Wiese moved all-in for 596,000.

The action was back on the Romanian and he seemed to have a really tough decision. He looked at both players time and time again, only interrupted with stares to the sky and to his stack. Eventually, in a flurry of activity, he called the bet and then called when De Visscher moved all-in behind.

Tardea: A♦4♦ for the nut flush draw.
De Visscher: 9♠9♥ for top set.
Wiese: 4♠4♣ for bottom set and drawing dead as Tardea had the final four.

The turn and river ran out Q♥A♣ to send the 2,600,000 pot the way of De Visscher. Tardea reacted by smashing his fist down on the table, spraying some of his chips around. He dropped to around 200,000 but that's 200,000 more than Wiese has as he our 14th place finisher taking home €14,000. -- MC

6.15pm: And Romania goes wild
It wasn't actually the whole country that went wild when PokerStars qualifier Cristian Dragomir won a pot, just his loud supporting rail. The hand started with a button min-raise from Koen de Visscher and flat calls from Dragomir and Giacomo Maisto in the blinds.

The flop came T♥6♠A♠ and Dragomir took over the initiative in the hand as he led out for 70,000. Maisto folded but De Visscher called to see the 4♣ turn. There was no slowing down Dragomir as he bet 175,000. Call. The river came 9♦ and the action slowed as both players checked. Dragomir tabled A♣8♠ and De Visscher mucked. -- MC

6.10pm: Adeniya busts in 15th (€11,495)
This level hasn't been kind to Martins Adeniya. After getting bluffed off by chip leader Kevin Vandermissen in a large pot he has just been busted by Philip Meulyzer after the Belgian turned the nuts.

Meulyzer had opened the button for 45,000 and Adeniya called in the big blind with around 500,000 behind . The Brit led 52,000 into the Q♣2♥3♠ flop and the Belgian raised to 125,000. Adeniya made the call before both players checked the K♣ turn. Adeniya made what looked like a tiny blocker bet of 25,000 into the 6♠ river and Meulyzer moved all-in. It was a quick call from Adeniya for his tournament life who was then shown the nuts, 5♣4♥, by Meulyzer.

"Wow," said Adeniya slapping his cards and a couple of chips away in annoyance. One of those chips rolled all the way down to the other end of the table where Vladimir Geshkenbein and Hans Erlandsson were sitting. I had been standing behind the pair during the hand and had heard Erlandsson whisper that he thought Adeniya held queen-ten. He was correct. Adeniya had made the call with Q♦T♥.

"See, what do I tell you?" said Erlandsson to Geshkenbein.

"You're good," replied the Russian. -- RD

6.05pm: First impressions
After Martins Adeniya opened for 45,000 the action reached Vladimir Geshkenbein who, grinning, announced "raise to one million," and looked quite pleased with himself. I'm often wrong with such things but it's becoming evident that Geshkenbein is a bit, well, kooky, grinning oddly, wearing a leather biker jacket which he no doubt wears when he rides his old IMZ-Ural across high wires, while pouring vodka shots. Blindfolded. With his arms tied up. With barbed wire. -- SB

6pm: All downhill from here
Gloria Balding talks to Team PokerStars Pro MArcin Horecki who actually knows how to ski. They get all the fun stuff...


5.57pm: Sarkisyan doubles
Karen Sarkisyan has doubled up to more than 500,000. Sarkisyan opeend for 50,000 before Kevin Vandersmissen raised to 140,000 from the small blind. Sarkisyan then moved all-in which Vandersmissen snap-called with A♣Q♠. Sarkisyan turned over 9♣9♠ and looked certain to be leaving until the river card, the board coming 8♦Q♣T♠5♥9♥. -- SB

5.50pm: Bluff recovery from Maisto
Giacomo Maisto is back up to nearly a million chips after he bluffed Andreas Wiese off a hand. He raised to 55,000 from under-the-gun and was called in two spots en route to a T♣4♣T♦ flop. The small blind checked, as did he, before Wiese bet 85,000 from the hijack. The small blind folded but Maisto raised to 200,000. Call.

The turn came out J♣ and Maisto, without much thought, moved all-in for his remaining 403,000. Wiese thought for about a minute and folded only to be shown A♦K♣ by the Italian. -- MC

5.35pm: Huge bluff from Vandermissen forces Adeniya to fold
Martins Adeniya was obviously in a horrible spot. He'd made up the big blind after Kevin Vandersmissen had raised to 40,000 pre-flop and was now facing a 195,000 bet on the river. Adeniya chewed his smile, stared at the board, glanced at the static Vandersmissen and then broke out into an involuntary grin, perhaps recognising the quality of Vandersmissen's bet. So how had we got here?

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Martins Adeniya, victim of a three-barrel bluff

Adeniya check-called 43,000 on the 8♦Q♦J♥ flop and 94,000 on the 8♠ turn. The T♦ completed a lot of draws and Adeniya checked over to the chip leader for a third time. Vandersmissen pulled out that large 195,000 bet and pushed it forward. After much thinking Adeniya eventually passed, announcing 'fold' verbally to stop himself physically dropping the call over the line.

His Belgian opponent instantly tabled 6♠5♠ for a three-barrel bluff and Adeniya chopped down at the table with both hands in frustration. He had been so close to making the call. -- RD

5.22pm: AK-16
Alex Kravchenko, the last of the Team PokerStars Pros is out, beating his previous EPT best (17th in EPT4 Baden) by one place to bust in 16th place.

Koen De Visscher opened for 40,000 and Kravchenko pushed with A♠J♣. De Visscher called with 4♥4♠ and eliminated the Russian on a board of 6♥2♦8♠8♣8♦. -- SB

5.20pm: The Midday update
...with Gloria Balding. Additional content by Pierre Neuville.


5.15pm: We're back...
Players are returing for Level 21 with blinds of 10,000-20,000 with a 2,000 ante. -- SB

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Vladimir Geshkenbein

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Snowfest (in order of Goulash soups consumed this week): Rick Dacey (4), Stephen Bartley (3) and Marc Convey (2).