Philip Meulyzer ahead on Day 2 at EPT Snowfest
Exhausted of all the skiing analogies, of lone snowplough drivers and distant lights on the mountainous horizon, we're reduced to talking about the actual chip leader tonight, at the close of Day 2 at the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Snowfest main event.
Sometimes chip leaders can be anonymous beings, hidden from the limelight by a lack of distinguishing features. Complete with urgency and talent they easily blend in with the rest of the regular EPT cast. It's not inaccurate to suggest Philip Meulyzer is one of them.
Meulyzer didn't lead coming into Day 2, he was just among the top three. Meulyzer didn't win with fanfare today, he just did it with subtle determination.
Chip leader Philip Meulyzer
As overnight leader Vladimir Geshkenbein faded it was Meulyzer elbowing his way to the front, albeit from the same seat along the windowed wall. The backdrop of one Hinterglemm's stunning mountain vistas was over his shoulder, if only he would take his attention off the table he dominated in front of him to look.
Throughout the six levels played today the Belgian watched a succession of new opponents come to sit next to him - the poker equivalent of the third plinth at Trafalgar Square - never getting used to the view, one by one brushing off Tayfeh Mohson, Mike Sowers and Marcus Golser to establish some working capital with which to wreak havoc.
Meulyzer in action
Looking fresh as play wore on (as others began to take longer to scroll iPhones and assemble their chips), Meulyzer, his big hair swept to one side, maximised his lead as best he could, never slipping in the blinkered business of winning an EPT, a process which started in earnest today.
From the 268 players that returned today few can claim to be in a similar position. Of the 82 survivors Giacomo Maisto sits in second place with 517,500; Cristian Tardea in third with 411,000, but their's will have to be a different story tomorrow if a deep run is to come their way.
If we were to engage some perspective, after all not everyone can be chip leader tonight, we could count good days for others. Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano is on course for a record-extending 18th EPT cash finish, while the two remaining former champions, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Michael Tureniec remain in the field, Tureniec the potential back-to-back miracle boy.
Miracles were scarce today though. A long list of former hopefuls made their way to the rail, then the door and the ski slopes, among them Team PokerStars Pros Liv Boeree, Johannes Strassmann, Max Lykov, Joao Nunes, Nuno Coelho and Michael Keiner. Funny how they didn't look as disappointed at elimination as we did.
On the plus side PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo will return tomorrow, with a bit of luck bringing that woolly hat with her, as will Alex Kravchenko, who inadvertently scared the wits out of one of our bloggers today. Apart from winning at the tables, that's what Kravchenko does best.
Fatima Moreira de Melo
A full list of those joining them when play resumes tomorrow, along with their overnight chip count, can be found on the official chip count page. In the meantime you can retrace their steps, and ours, at the level by level links below...
Thanks also to our trusty photographer Neil Stoddart, who kept us knee-deep in pictures today, and also to White Snake, Europe and John Farnham, whose greatest hits played in the Alpine Palace lobby today, including that memorable "You're the voice" bagpipe solo, brought back a whole host of schoolboy memories.
More of Hinterglemm tonight
That's all for Day 2 then. We hit the money tomorrow; we predict shortly after play restarts at 2pm.
Join us then.