EPT Snowfest: Final table, level 28 & 29 updates (blinds 50,000-100,000, 10,000 ante)
11.50pm: Vladimir Geshkenbein wins EPT Snowfest and €390,000
The next hand Geshkenbein folded from the button but it was all over one hand later. Kevin Vandersmissen raised to 250,000 only to face a three-bet up to 550,000 from Vladimir Geshkenbein. His response was to move all-in for just under five million. Geshkenbein snap called and jumped to his feet knowing this could be it.
The board ran A♠8♦9♥K♠5♦ to send the tittle and the trophy back to Russia. He was swamped by his supporters on the rail who lifted him up and sang some cheesy tunes.
Congratulations must also go to a worthy runner-up in the shape of Vandersmissen who played valiantly from the first day. He takes home €260,000 for his efforts this week. -- MC
11.45pm: Geshkenbein keeps up the needle
Vladimir Geshkenbein has taken a lead in this heads-up encounter after getting two streets of value with two-pair. Kevin Vandersmissen raised to 250,000 and Geshkenbein called to see the 3♦A♠4♠ flop where both checked. The turn came 6♣ and Geshkenbein led for 400,000. Call. The river came K♠ and Geshkenbein said, "I'm going to bet one million" and he drew two 500,000 stacks with each hand and smashed them together over the line.
He looked up at his opponent and added, "You can't call one million".
Vandersmissen did call but he mucked upong seeing the Russian's 3♠4♣ for two-pair. The Belgian is down to less than five million.
Just to rub salt into the wound Geshkenbein added, "Don't be sad, second place is good as well." -- MC
11.50pm: Back to even
There has been some chip movement but it's keeps returning to where it started, Vladimir Geshkenbein ahead by the tiniest of margins. The latest return to that state was by Kevin Vandersmissen three-betting to 500,000 and getting shoved on by Geshkenbein. Fold. -- RD
11.35pm: Get your needle on
The two are defending their big blinds by re-raising a lot at the moment. Vladimir Geshkenbein is just about getting the better of this battle and after one hand he said to Kevin Vandersmissen, "Will you ever cheer up? Why do you sit like that? I bet you wouldn't cheer up even if you won!" -- MC
11.25pm: Heads up begins
"You play much heads up, my friend?" asked Vladimir Geshkenbein, a player who won a televised heads up tournament for $120,000. If Kevin Vandermissen was intimidated he didn't show it, three-betting Geshkenbein from 225,000 to 550,000 and blasting another half-million into the Q♦8♥8♠ flop. The game is well and truly on. -- RD
11.20pm: Toasting De Visscher's exit
"Cheers guys." This was Vladimir Geshkenbein. Yes, the champagne has arrived. All three toasted each other, took sips and then took second sips to allow the flurry of photographers to get a "spontaneous" picture.
When cards were dealt Koen de Visscher moved all-in from the small blind but got no takers. On the next hand though he did the same from the button. Kevin Vandersmissen passed but Geshkenbein thumbed his lucky monkey (reminder: it's a small stuffed toy) and said call, turning over J♠J♣.
De Visscher could only manage 7♣A♣. Someone in the crowd called for an ace, so Geshkenbein called for one too. But the board ran K♦7♦8♦2♠T♠. De Visscher out to handshakes and champagne, the third place finisher earning €147,000. - SB
11.17pm: Vandersmissen bluffs Geshkenbein
Kevin Vandermissen managed to get away with a bluff against Vladimir Geshkenbein, just. He raised pre-flop to 250,000, bet 330,000 on the flop, 760,000 on the turn and 1,450,000 on the river. Geshkenbein snap called every bet and almost snap called the river. He stopped to think about it and said, "I should call you with ace high".
He folded though and said to Vandersmissen, "Show me your bluff".
The Belgian did just that with his J♦T♥ for jack high. -- MC
11.10pm: Change in atmosphere
Three-handed there's talk of champagne. These three have cheered up since the short break and everyone seems friends again. Vladimir Geshkenbein thinks this might be a champagne moment and a waiter is sent for.
Meanwhile Kevin Vandersmissen bet 250,000 on the button and Geshkenbein called for a flop of 3♣3♥J♣. Both checked for a 8♦ turn at which point Geshkenbein lumped in 500,000. Vandersmissen called for a 2♣ river, at which point Geshkenbein lumped in 1,500,000. Vandersmissen got the message and folded.
The waiter arrived and Geshkenbein ordered some Dom Preignon. It's on the way. Play is loosening up. - SB
11.05pm: Back into the action
The last three players are back into the action.
1. Kevin Vandersmissen - 6,005,000
2. Vladimir Geshkenbein - 5,995,000
3. Koen de Visscher - 2,515,000
The title is within grasp but De Visscher will need to get some chips quickly if he's going to. -- RD
10.55pm: Maisto out in fourth (€100,000)
Vladimir Geshkenbein opened to 210,000 and Giacomo Maisto made the call from the big blind. Geshkenbein c-bet the Q♣8♣9♠ flop for 275,000 and Maisto check-raised all-in. Both players had a little over 2.5 million total.
"How much is it?" asked Geshkenbein before quickly adding: "It doesn't matter. I call."
Geshkenbein was in horrible shape drawing to three outs. The 2♠ didn't help. The 4♥ river did. The look of shock on Geshkenbein's face was reminiscent of McCauley Culkin in Home Alone. Maisto stormed up from his chair shouting in Italian.
"Nice call," he said angrily to Geshkenbein as he returned, understandably annoyed about the outdraw.
The chips were counted out, Geshkenbein had him covered. Maisto, now a little calmer, shook hands with his opponents and received a warm round of applause. The remaining players are now taking a short break. -- RD
10.48pm: They've been too nice recently
Kevin Vandersmissen and Vladimir Geshkenbein have be too nice to each other recently and maybe that's why Vandermissen just showed his Russian opponent a stone-cold bluff.
He raised to 200,000 from the button and Geshkenbein defended from the big blind to see a Q♥T♣T♥ flop. The action went check-check. The turn fell J♦ and Geshkenbein check-folded to a 425,000 bet. Vandersmissen smiled and flashed 7♣4♣. -- MC
10.45pm: Maisto lives
Two raise-and-takes, one for Vladimir Geshkenbein, the other for Koen de Visscher. As that happens a new trophy arrives, to stand alongside the official EPT trophy. It's a hand carved lump of wood, shaped into a hand, holding a pair of aces. It's a stunning and unique memento, well worth the baggage excess for the winner.
After that Giacomo Maisto moved all-in, but got no takers, then Vandersmissen opened for 200,000 from under-the-gun. Miasto moved all-in again from the button. De Visscher asked how much and the dealer dragged out the chips to count, first calling it as 2,200,000 then correcting the count to be 2,730,000. De Visscher thought a bit more but passed. - SB
10.36pm: Maisto getting active
Giacomo Maisto's tight image might be paying dividends here. He has shoved all-in a few times now without a call. Both Kevin Vandersmissen and Vladimir Geshkenbein have been shoved on by the Italian and this time it was Vandersmissen's turn again. He opened for 200,000 and was moved in on for less than 2 million. -- RD
10.30pm: Back from the break
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50,000-100,000, ANTE 10,000
10.13pm: Break time
There players are on a 15 minute break. Here's how they stand:
Kevin Vandersmissen, Holland -- 6,955,000
Vladimir Geshkenbein, Russia -- 2,715,000
Koen de Visscher, Holland -- 2,515,000
Giacomo Maisto, Italy -- 2,150,000
10.05pm: Italian chatter in the stands
Giacomo Maisto's loyal supporters love a natter but I've no idea what they've been talking about. They were banging on about something or other just as Vladimir Geshkenbein opened to 175,000 under-the-gun and Maisto announced that he was all-in from the big blind. Geshkenbein looked back at his cards again, gave a resigned sigh and mucked his hand.
"That's what I'm talking about!" shouted out one of Maisto's supporters. Ahhh, so that's what they were chatting about. -- RD
10.05pm: Geshkenbein slipping, Vandersmissen taking charge
With pre-flop betting of 175,000 and a flop of T♦6♥A♥ Vladimir Geshkenbein bet 225,000. His opponent, once again, was Kevin Vandersmissen, who's is beginning to take a clear lead, and who called now for a 8♣ turn. Both checked, and did the same on the Q♦ river. Vandersmissen showed K♥T♥ which was good. Geshkenbein mucked and is now down to less than 2,000,000. - SB
10.02pm: Those two again
Kevin Vandersmissen just won a couple of small pots off Vladimir Geshkenbein. In one hand he three-bet Geshkenbein's open raise 175,000, up to 425,000. Fold. The very next hand he kept up the pressure by raising to 160,000 into Geshkenbein's big blind. The Russian didn't take the bait, and folded. -- MC
9.58pm: Vandersmissen sticks it in Geshkenbein's eye
It sometimes seems as if Vladimir Geshkenbein and Kevin Vandersmissen have forgotten that there are two other players at the table. While Giacomo Maisto and Koen de Visscher keep relatively low profiles Geskenbein and Vandersmissen keep going at it hammer and tongs.
It was Vandersmissen's turn to score a telling blow. He opened for 160,000 from the cut-off and when the Russian three-bet to 420,000 Vandersmissen's announced that he was all-in for 5.75 million. Geshkenbein smiled and passed. He drops to near the chip average with 3.1 million. -- RD
9.53pm: Gaining some
Vladimir Geshkenbain just clawed a little back from Kevin Vandersmissen, after the Belgian opened for 160,000. Geshkenbein called for a flop of A♥3♥Q♠ which he then checked. Vandersmissen then bet 150,000 which Geshkenbein called for a 8♥ turn. Both checked that for a 6♦ river card. Yet more checking. The Russian took the pot showing A♠6♥. - SB
9.49pm: Geshkenbein takes another knock
Vladimir Geshkenbein opened for 175,000 from the button which Kevin Vandersmissen called from the big blind. On the flop of 3♦6♥T♣ Vandersmissen checked to Geshkenbein, then called for a Q♥ turn.
Again Vandersmissen checked leaving it to Geshkenbein to bet 550,000. Once more Vandersmissen went to his stack and called.
On the Q♣ river Vandersmissen checked one last time and, looking defeated, Geshkenbein did too, mucking his cards when the Belgian showed 9♦T♥.
Geshkenbein down to 3,100,000 now while Vandersmissen moves up to 6,700,000. - SB
9.45pm: Not many flops
The action has settled down somewhat in the last five minutes. Most of the pots have been won with pre-flop raises, although Giacomo Maisto and Vladimir Geshkenbein did make it to a flop.
Maisto completed from the small blind and Geshkenbein checked his big blind option. The flop came down 7♠A♥J♥ and a Maisto lead was enough to get the Russian to fold.
The next hand a Maisto button raise to 180,000 was enough to get Geshkenbein and Koen de Visscher to fold from the blinds. -- MC
9.42pm: Twitter war
There seems to be a (mainly) good natured twitter war taking place between Vladimir Geshkenbein and Kevin Vandersmissen that mirrors the battle taking place at the table. Both players have claimed to have taken the other to Value Town - as well as a few other things...
In this case it was Geshkenbein who was the winner. Vandersmissen had opened the button for 160,000 and Geshkenbein had defended his big blind. Play checked through to the 3♠9♦4♦4♣ turn at which Geshkenbein led for 250,000. Vandersmissen made the call.
On the 5♥ river Geshkenbein made a large tower of orange 25,000 chips, a total of 650,000, and started to push them across the line. But as doing so the stack started to crumble. He quickly clawed his hands around to get the bet across. Maybe this should have indicated to Vandersmissen that he really wanted to get those chips in. Vandersmissen made the call and was shown K♦9♠.
"I'm not the only resident of Value Town," said Geshkenbein with a twinkle in his eye. Vandersmissen simply smiled and passed the chips over. Geshkenbein up to 3.3 million. -- RD
9.33pm: One for Vandersmissen
Kevin Vandersmissen took one pot uncontested then opened the next for 225,000 from the small blind. Giacomo Maisto called for a flop of J♠3♦A♥ but the hand went no further than a Vandersmissen bet of 250,000. Maisto insta-folded. - SB
9.31pm: Unusual line works for Maisto
Giacomo Maisto just took an unusual line against Koen de Visscher, but it worked as he won the pot.
De Visscher raised to 160,000 and Maisto called from the big blind to go to a 4♣9♦9♥ flop. He check-called a 150,000 bet before he led out for 150,000 on the J♣ turn. De Visscher gave him a querying look and slid his cards into the muck. -- MC
9.27pm: One for De Visscher, one for Vandersmissen
The Belgians just took one pot apiece. Koen de Visscher opened from the cut-off to 160,000 and took the blinds and antes before passing some of them onto Kevin Vandersmissen on the next hand. De Visscher defended his big blind before check-folding on the 6♠9♠7♣ flop. -- RD
9.24pm: Maisto still kicking
Koen de Visscher opened for 160,000 on the button, getting a caller in Giacomo Maisto. Before the flop De Visscher pointed at Maisto's stack, asking how much. The answer, about 1,500,000.
The flop came 2♠A♦6♠. Masito checked before De Visscher bet 150,000. Called. Now the T♠ which both players checked. It was the same again on the 9♠ river, Maisto showing 6♠7♣ to win the hand. -- SB
9.20pm: Geshkenbein shoves
Vandersmissen opened for 160,000 from under-the-gun before Vladimir Geshkenbein moved all-in from the small blind. Koen de Visscher paused in the big blind before folding. Then Vandersmissen did the same. - SB
9.18pm: Maisto looks and turns away
Vladimir Geshkenbein raised from the button and Giacomo Maisto defended his big blind to see the 5♦4♦4♥ flop. He checked to the Russian, who continued his aggression with a 225,000 bet. Call. The turn came 8♠ and both players checked through to the Q♠ river. Maisto checked and folded before Geshkenbein could bet the 360,000 he had planned to. -- MC
9.13pm: Geshkenbein three-bet shoves
Kevin Vandersmissen opened from the button for 160,000 and Vladimir Geshkenbein instantly moved all-in from the big blind for a touch over 2 million.
"It's kind of big, isn't it?" asked Vandersmissen.
"I don't know," replied Geshkenbein knowing full well how much he was shoving for.
Vandersmissen passed as Geshkenbein added 200,000 to his stack uncontested. -- RD
9.05pm: For starters
Five hands, four of them taken with a pre-flop raise and take, first Koen de Visscher, two for Kevin Vandersmissen then one for Vladimir Geshkenbein.
Geshkenbein was involved in the next hand, opening for 175,000 from under-the-gun. Giacomo Maisto fiddled with his chips a bit then suddenly announced all-in. Geshkenbein closed his eyes, taking in another poke from the Italian.
Geshkenbein can boast of being the better player, but in terms of Maisto the Italian has proven his nemesis, a unnecessary menace distracting him from his master plan. Geshkenbein had to pass. - SB
8.55pm: Level 28 update
Play is about to restart after the 60 minute dinner break, although so far only Giacomo Maisto is in his seat. No sign of the others.
Those others are as follows:
Kevin Vandersmissen, Belgium, 6,455,000
Koen de Visscher, Belgium, 3,655,000
Vladimir Geshkenbein, Russia, 2,450,000
Giacomo Maisto, Italy, 2,090,000
The last two levels have featured terrific displays from some while others, notably fifth placed finisher Cristian Dragomir, have departed. The clear leader in chips is Kevin Vandersmissen, but the leader in terms of confidence is Russian Vladimir Geshkenbein, whose swagger has matched only by his talent since the start today.
How this will work out for both is hard to say right now. There's no love loss between the two of them. It should make for a perfect finale. -- SB
The winner's trophy
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Snowfest (in order of plates of food eaten during the buffet): Rick Dacey (3), Marc Convey (3), Stephen Bartley (2).