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Team PokerStars pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier took the title at this year’s World Poker Tour Festa Al Lago Sunday. The one-time professional Starcraft player is now $1.4 million richer on top of the bonus PokerStars is likely to give him for the win. He is also the third person in history to pull out consecutive WPT and European Poker Tour titles.
Grospellier started the day as chip leader in a tournament that had seen previous top dogs Antonio Estandiari, Daniel Negreanu, and Ryan Fair trounced. To make matters worse, top-tier competitors like World Poker Finals winner Nenad Medic and ten-time tourney winner Nam Le filled the final seats, making a Grospellier win a tough sale.
Play began 30 minutes behind schedule as Le arrived late on the scene. The obviously frazzled Le lost several minor pots early on before sicking is straight to Grospellier doubling against the chip leader’s A, K. Ultimately, though, William Mietz was the first player to eat it when Grospellier’s ace-high held up through the River.
Next up on the Frenchman’s hit list came short stack Adam “Roothlus” Levy who was able to avoid being looked-up until his fifth all-in on an A, 9. Grospellier saw his bet with pocket mommas and showed Levy the door when he drew a set on the Turn.
The Frenchman then used his two-thirds lead to deny Medic his first ever bracelet with holed-up sixes to the Canadian’s K, J.
Grospellier’s momentum did slow, however, as he set his sights on Osmin Dardon. Dardon chipped away at the leader’s stack and even wrested top spot before going all-in on an A, J against ElkY’s fluffed-up 10, 2. Dardon’s ace was set for the flush when three more spades appeared on the Flop. Ultimately, though, his spades petered out, and Grospellier plucked a second deuce to take the hand.
Although ElkY held a 16-1 chip lead over Le going into heads-up, Nam was looking to make a comeback going all-in on an A, J that held as well as a pair of deuces. Yet Grospellier’s gargantuan stack finally caught up with Le on the third hand when he again went all-in on an A, Q against the Frenchman’s pair of tens. Grospellier then flopped his second big set for the night, and the rest, as they say, is history.
In a post-win interview with PokerWire bombshell Amanda Leatherman, Grospellier said, “It’s very good to win this tournament because I came with the chip lead and I was kind of worried.”
All that worry seems to have worn off, though, as ElkY’s walks away from the Bellagio with a total career winnings tally of over $4 million, as well as a seat at the April 2009 WPT Championship.
Check out Amanda Leatherman’s post-win interview with Grospellier here.