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Vladimir Geshkenbein Is European Poker Tour Snowfest Champion

Russian Overcomes All In Explosive EPT Final Table


Vladimir Geshkenbein. Credit: Neil Stoddart and PokerStars.Vladimir Geshkenbein is this season’s PokerStars European Poker Tour Snowfest champion. He takes the title and €390,000 back to Russia from the Alpine Palace hotel in Hinterglemm, Austria after beating Belgian player Kevin Vandersmissen heads up.

Before getting to the final two however, the table had to lose six others. But before that could begin, the finalists would witness a change in dynamics early on. Italian Giacomo Maisto doubled up twice bringing his stack from second from the bottom to chip leader with 3.6 million. Firstly his pocket kings beat Vandersmissen’s pocket queens and then in the very next hand he doubled through Philip Meulyzer with pocket aces versus pocket kings respectively.

Koen de Visscher was to blame for the final table’s first casualty. Morten Mortensen left in eighth place for €35,000 when his pocket eights were beaten by de Visscher’s A-J as two jacks made an appearance on the board.

Irishman Denis Murphy didn’t have as much luck with A-J soon after when he found himself all in versus Vandersmissen and his A-K. A king fell and the PokerStars qualifier hit the rail in seventh place for €49,000.

Philip Meulyzer could not find a double with A-K however when he moved all in for 317,000, following a bet of 80,000 from Vandersmissen. The Belgian made the call and turned over QDiamond Suit JDiamond Suit and the board fell a tantalising AClub Suit JHeart Suit 7Diamond Suit. The turn kept Meulyzer safe with the 4Club Suit but the devastating river was the QClub Suit giving Vandersmissen two pairs. Meulyzer received €65,000 for finishing in sixth place.

Geshkenbein, a seemingly fearless, confident player then faltered a little when he lost a few hands to Cristian Dragomir. The Russian had many a tango with Vandersmissen also throughout the day, and their feelings for each other were clear by those watching. The tension could be felt even by those not at the event as off the table the two players were using Twitter to express their thoughts, making for some interesting side action. For instance at one point Geshkenbein spoke of value-towning a “fat Belgium guy” while Vandersmissen fought back with a tweet about value-towning “the russian alcoholic”.

Cristan Dragomir. Credit: Neil Stoddart.The two would last until the death however as the next to go was the final PokerStars qualifier left in the event. Cristian Dragomir had many a run-in with the outspoken Geshkenbein but the key hand came when Geshkenbein raised to 110,000 from the cut-off and Dragomir three-bet to 250,000 from the button. Geshkenbein called and the two saw a flop of JHeart Suit 6Heart Suit 2Diamond Suit. Geshkenbein checked and the Romanian bet 255,000, to which the Russian’s response was to move all in for 2,405,000.

This provoked some speech play between the two with Dragomir deliberating about the decision. The usual “if I fold, will you show” type conversation then occurred with Geshkenbein agreeing to show one card if Dragomir also revealed. Dragomir’s response to this was, “Only one? Okay, I call!” He then turned over pocket eights and saw he was up against a flush draw and two overs with Geshkenbein holding KHeart Suit 10Heart Suit. The turn did not help the wide-eyed Russian as it came the 4Spade Suit but the pot was meant for Geshkenbein as out on the river came the 9Heart Suit. This gave him the chip lead with over 5.3 million and crippled Dragomir down to 170,000. He left shortly after at the hands of De Visscher and received €81,000 for his efforts.

Just before dinner break, Geshkenbein was taken off his pedestal by his rival, Kevin Vandersmissen. Vandersmissen three-bet Geshkenbein and the young Russian called to see a ADiamond Suit 9Club Suit 9Heart Suit flop. Vandersmissen fired out 340,000 and Geshkenbein called. The turn was the 5Heart Suit and both players checked, but the Belgian bet 860,000 on the JHeart Suit river, putting Geshkenbein in the tank. After a few moments he made the call and mucked when Vandermissen turned over AClub Suit JClub Suit for two pairs. His stack decreased to 2,470,000 with Vandermissen reaping the rewards. However Geshkenbein would win some back from Vandermissen before the next casualty could occur.

Giacomo Maisto. Credit: Neil Stoddart.Giacomo Maisto made some all-in movements to no avail when finally his fate was sealed by Geshkenbein. The Russian opened for 210,000 and Maisto called from the big blind. The flop was QClub Suit 9Spade Suit 8Club Suit and Maisto checked. Geshkenbein bet 275,000 and Maisto check-raised all-in. Geshkenbein called and flipped over QDiamond Suit 4Diamond Suit while Maisto tabled QSpade Suit 10Club Suit. The 2Spade Suit changed nothing, but it was Geshkenbein’s day and the 4Heart Suit river knocked the frustrated Italian out in fourth place for a payday of €100,000.

To celebrate getting down to three players, the trio popped a bottle of Dom Perignon. Koen de Visscher didn’t enjoy the €600 bottle at the felt for very long however as he soon found himself all in with AClub Suit 7Club Suit. Geshkenbein made the call with pocket jacks which stayed ahead, putting de Visscher out in third place for €147,000.

The final two players had nearly the same amount when it came to heads-up time but the battle didn’t last anyway near as long as expected as not even 30 minutes had passed of Geshkenbein’s constant needling when the final blow came.

Kevin Vandersmissen. Credit: Neil Stoddart.Two hands previous, Geshkenbein had moved into the lead with two pair, and then Vandersmissen kicked off the ultimate hand. He bet 250,000, Geshkenbein three-bet to 550,000, and Vandersmissen moved all in for the best part of 5 million. Geshkenbein insta-called and turned over his cards:

Geshkenbein: AHeart Suit 9Diamond Suit.
Vandersmissen: KDiamond Suit 10Spade Suit
Board: ASpade Suit 9Heart Suit 8Diamond Suit KSpade Suit 5Diamond Suit

The final Belgian player remaining out of the three who began the final table took home €260,000 for his runner-up finish, while Geshkenbein, who, on a side note, won a televised heads-up tournament for $120,000, won his first EPT title and added €390,000 to his winnings.

Here are the results and payouts:

1. Vladimir Geshkenbein (Russia) €390,000
2. Kevin Vandersmissen (Belgium) €260,000
3. Koen de Visscher (Belgium) €147,000
4. Giacomo Maisto (Italy) €100,000
5. Cristian Dragomir (Romania) €81,000
6. Philip Meulyzer (Belgium) €65,000
7. Denis Murphy (Ireland) €49,000
8. Morten Mortensen (Denmark) €35,000