The PokerStars.net European Poker Tour is always trying to add new locations to its live poker tournament tour to allow more players to compete and make travel more interesting for others. Season 6 had several additions to the schedule, including what they called the EPT Snowfest. It was a chance for players to visit a ski resort in the Alps while participating in the wildly popular EPT.
The action kicked off on March 21 in Hinterglemm, Austria, as the first of two starting days got underway with 270 players. Some of the recognizable faces in the crowd included Daniel Negreanu, Max Pescatori, Arnaud Mattern, Alex Kravchenko, Chad Brown, Thomas Bichon, Jeff Sarwer, Arnaud Mattern, and Olympic hockey player Fatima de Melo, though only some of them made it through all the day’s levels. When all was said and done, the player with the most chips was David Winterberger with 290,200 chips, and not far behind was Berhard Perner and his 257,500-chip stack. The rest of the top five included Julien Brecard, Brent Wheeler, and Mike Gorodinsky.
The second and final starting day brought another 276 players to the tables, making for a total field of 546 (hailing from 48 different countries) and a total prize pool of €1,853,680. The prize money was to be split amongst the last 80 players standing, and the winner looked to take home €445,000. Included in the Day 1B roster were names like Luca Pagano, Lex Veldhuis, Evelyn Ng, Dario Minieri, Sandra Naujoks, Bertrand Grospellier, George Danzer, and tennis legend Boris Becker. But when the day came to an end, the big name was Koen Berendsen, the chip leader with 162,700 chips. He was followed by Ivo Donev and his 160,000-chip stack, and the others listed in the top five were Luca Cainelli, Nasr El Nasr, and Lex Veldhuis.
Day 2 began with a total of 259 players joined together, and the field thinned rather quickly as players like Florian Langmann, Jose Ignacio Barbero, Arnaud Mattern, Luca Pagano, and Daniel Negreanu were eliminated. End-of-day counts showed 86 players still holding chips and Johannes Strassmann holding the most and sitting in the lead with 741,000 chips. Sitting in second position was Richard Toth with 584,500 chips, and Max Lykov, Jim Collopy, and Alexander Debus rounded out the top five.
Day 3 started with a few players like Luis Medina busting just before the money. It didn’t take long for the floor staff to declare that hand-for-hand action be started, and it lasted only minutes before the bubble burst. Alfio Battisti was the player to move all-in preflop, and he did it with . Evgeniy Zaytsev called with , and the board came , which gave Zaytsev the flush to beat the set of Battisti, who left the tournament in 81st place. Casper Toft was the first player to cash, taking home €5,260 for the 80th place finish, and he was followed by others like Alex Kravchenko in 65th place, Lex Veldhuis in 54th, Dennis Waterman in 52nd, Julien Brecard in 49th, and Paul Valkenburg in 25th to end the day. The list of 24 players remaining found Allan Baekke at the top with 2,687,000 chips, followed by Brent Wheeler with 1,361,000. The rest of the top five included Max Lykov, Johannes Strassman, and Alexander Debus.
Day 4 started with the 24th place elimination of Nasr El Nasr, and others who made their exits as the day progressed included Richard Toth in 17th place, Max Lykov in 13th, and Alexander Debus in tenth. It took a little while to find the last player to leave the action, the one to be the final table bubble player, but eventually, it was Huub Verdonschot, who called all-in preflop with . Brent Wheeler showed , and the board came . The pair of kings was good for Wheeler, and Verdonschot’s jacks earned him a ninth place finish and the €28,000 that went with it.
With that, the final table was set with chip counts and seating assignments as follows:
|Seat 1 ||Russell Carson ||3,463,000 |
|Seat 2 ||Alain Medesan ||919,000 |
|Seat 3 ||Jonathan Schroer ||972,000 |
|Seat 4||Johannes Strassmann ||2,034,000 |
|Seat 5 ||Lukas Baumann ||728,000 |
|Seat 6 || Brent Wheeler ||3,096,000 |
|Seat 7:||Allan Baekke ||4,688,000 |
|Seat 8 ||Daniel Van Kalkeren||396,000 |
When play got underway, there were several short stacks at the table but none as short as Van Kalkeren. Down to 366K, he pushed all-in with pocket fives, and Alain Medesan reraised to isolate, which worked. He turned over , and the flop hit him with . The turn and river cards were no help for Daniel Van Kalkeren, who was the first to leave the tournament, taking with him €37,000 for the eighth place finish.
Several of the shorter stacks were pushing but getting no callers, but Medesan continued to climb. After taking a solid pot from chip leader Baekke, he rose to 2.5 million.
But Baumann had no such luck. He was down to 490K and made the all-in move with , and original raiser Strassmann called with pocket eights. The board of blanked for the all-in player. Lukas Baumann was out in seventh place with €46,000.
Baekke was still able to accumulate chips and climbed to near the 5 million mark by the first break of the afternoon, while the only person close was Carson with just over 3.5 million. Schroer was on the short stack with just over 1.3 million chips.
And Schroer decided to move soon after with . It just so happened that Strassman called with pocket kings, and his hand only improved on the flop. Schroer was drawing dead, but the dealer flipped the turn and river cards to finish it. Jonathan Schroer was gone in sixth place with €65,000.
Wheeler took a hit at the hands of Medesan, when the latter doubled through with a set over two pair, and that left Wheeler with 145K behind. Those chips went all-in on the very next hand, and Baekke and Strassman both called and checked down the board. Baekke bet with , Strassman folded, and Wheeler mucked. Brent Wheeler was the fifth place finisher and left with €88,000.
The final four players were nearly even in chips, and after a bit of play, they took a dinner break. Upon returning to the table, Carson jumped out to a lead, as they passed the 100th hand of the day it was Baekke seizing the lead and Strassman as the short stack. But Strassman climbed back.
It was Medesan who was crippled by Carson in a big hand that saw the latter double through the former with pocket kings over pocket jacks. Carson hurled himself into the chip lead, and Medesan was relegated to a very short stack of approximately four big blinds. He pushed on the next hand and tripled up through Baekke and Carson, but it was soon time to do it again. Medesan moved all-in, this time with , but found Baekke willing to call with . The board blanked with , and Alain Medesan was sent to the rail in fourth place with €111,000.
The three players took a break, possibly to discuss a deal of some sort, but they returned and began play. Over the course of the next three hours, Strassmann rode a serious roller coaster, starting with grabbing the chip lead through several key pots with Baekke but eventually losing ground.
Strassman raised from the small blind and Baekke called from the big blind to see a flop. A bet and call led to the on the turn, which prompted another bet and call. With the on the river, Strassman risked it all with and the top two pair, but Baekke called with and the flush. Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Strassmann took a moment to absorb what happened, eventually leaving in third place with €166,000.
Heads-up play started with Carson and Baekke nearly even in chips, both holding just over 8 million. Carson took the first pot, but Baekke came back with a lot of aggression to jump into the lead. Over the course of the two-hour match, Baekke slowly but surely climbed, but it was a key hand that saw a board of and Baekke with 8-5 for the straight, and suddenly Carson was faced with a 7-to-1 chip deficit.
As time passed, Carson found his spots. He doubled once when his A-J beat the A-Q of Baekke when a jack hit on the river. Carson did it again with A-K over pocket fives when he turned a king. Nevertheless, Baekke held a 2-to-1 lead over Carson.
After a scheduled break for the two players, they returned to Carson and Baekke getting into a preflop raising war that resulted in Carson pushing all-in with and Baekke calling with . The board was dealt , and the set of sevens won. Russell Carson was eliminated in second place with €296,000.
Allan Baekke won the EPT Snowfest, which came with two trophies and prize money in the amount of €445,000.