Vladimir Geshkenbein has been crowned the "coolest" poker player around after he won the second PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Snowfest, taking home €390,000. He managed to beat Kevin Vandersmissen heads up in a short battle. The pair tangled frequently in pots — verbally after each — and even brought the needle to Twitter. Geshkenbein's victory was his biggest tournament win, in a day that saw him swinging from short stack to chip leader and back again several times.
The day had been called the "Belgian Invasion" as Belgian pros Vandersmissen, Philip Meulyzer and Koen De Visscher began the day first, third and fifth in chips respectively. Many were predicting that the first Belgian winner on the European Poker Tour would be crowned after several years of missing out.
Unlike many other final tables that start off tentatively, this one began with some real aggression as three of the first four hands were won with three-bets, but the real action was about half an hour into the day. Giacomo Maisto had been chip leader at the end of Day 3 but finished Day 4 with about half a million less, yet still making the final table. In back-to-back hands, the Italian picked up against Vandersmissen's to double up, then against and doubled again, that time against Meulyzer to take over the chip lead.
Short-stack Morten Mortensen was the first player eliminated. He lost a flip with to De Visscher's . De Visscher managed to hit two jacks on the flop and that was the end to Mortensen's day. One of the two remaining PokerStars qualifiers, Irishman Denis Murphy, followed less than half an hour later when he pushed all in over the top of Vandersmissen's initial min-raise. Murphy held but the Belgian called him with and the board came to leave the table six-handed.
Meulyzer was next to be eliminated. He had been crippled by that monster hand with Maisto but managed to grind his stack for a good while before Vandersmissen called his all-in reraise with . Meulyzer turned over and was looking good all the way down a board until a came on the river to wreck his dreams.
The five-handed play then continued before a hand that changed the direction of the tournament, certainly for Geshkenbein, who had found himself as one of the shorter stacks by this point. He check-raised all in for around 2.4 million on a flop against PokerStars qualifier Cristian Dragomir. Dragomir told Geshkenbein he believed he was still ahead and made the call, tabling - and he was correct. Geshkenbein turned over for overcards and a flush draw. The meant the pot looked to be going to Dragomir, but the completed Geshkenbein's flush and he doubled up to almost five million.
Dragomir was crippled and then eliminated in the first hand after the break, leaving the two remaining Belgians, Vandersmissen and De Visscher, along with Geshkenbein and Maisto. The action slowed, with few pots of incident and mostly cagey play, but finally it was Maisto who cracked after being eliminated in the most unfortunate of circumstances. He was all-in on a flop with against Geshkenbein's but after the turn, the river brought the and Maisto was knocked out in fourth place.
This burst of action triggered an incredibly fast end to the tournament, given how deep the players were. De Visscher was eliminated in third place when he open-pushed from the button with but couldn't beat Geshkenbein's in the big blind.
This left Geshkenbein facing the final of the three Belgians, and despite the relatively deep stacks of the two, it was the large amount of history, plus relatively strong hands for heads-up play that got all the money going in preflop as Geshkenbein's battled Vandersmissen's . It looked to be all over on the flop, although there was the briefest of sweats on the turn, but the river brought the and Geshkenbein was confirmed as the second ever winner of EPT Snowfest.
The EPT now takes a week off but PokerNews will be back on April 5 for the next stop in Berlin. The season is beginning to draw to a close, and there are just three events remaining over the next few weeks.