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Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier Wins EPT Grand Final High Roller

ElkY Does It Again at PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final


ElkY wins second High Roller titleWith the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final turning its back on Monte Carlo in favor of Spain’s capital (and largest) city, Madrid, the buzz around the stop was palpable as it approached.

The High Roller had the honor of kicking things off, it was the first time on the EPT it was scheduled to take place before the main event, and things could not have gotten off to a better start. The €25,000 buy-in event attracted a fantastic array of talent and as the field narrowed down from 58, it was still a poker writer’s dream as many of those who looked geared for the title would have made a fantastic story.

It is apt then that the event wrapped up in mega dramatic fashion with Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier making a huge comeback and taking down High Roller gold for the second time in his poker career. Grospellier receives €525,000 for his win while his final opponent, young, German pro Benjamin Spindler has to settle for second and €316,000.

The event lost players of the highest caliber on its way to a conclusion. Those who left before the final included the likes of Viktor Blom (who was chip leader on day 1) and Tom Dwan (who arrived seven hours late). It was the first time the two sat with each other across a live poker table and although there were no fireworks, the railbirds appreciated the dangerous duo interacting on live felt before their very eyes.

Also among those who hit the rail along the way were Vanessa Selbst, Martin Jacobson, WSOP champ Jonathan Duhamel, Jason Mercier, Pierre Neuville, and Johnny Lodden.

The chip leader heading into the final table was the latest PCA winner Galen Hall. Vanessa Rousso, who won this event last year (although, in Monte Carlo) took her place also alongside a stellar group of finalists.

The final table looked like this:

Vanessa Rousso (USA) 146,000
Alex Repik (Russia) 141,000
Peter Jetten (Canada) 63,000
David Sands (USA) 207,000
Galen Hall (USA) 798,000
Bertrand Grospellier (France) 165,000
Juha Helppi (Finland) 707,000
Benny Spindler (Germany) 710,000

Galen HallAlthough each of the above were guaranteed a minimum of €45,000, it became clear all eyes were on the €525,000 first prize. Wealthy businessman Alex Repik set the pace with an early double-up through Galen Hall, all-in preflop with ADiamond Suit QDiamond Suit versus AHeart Suit JSpade Suit respectively.

The first person to hit the rail was short stack Peter Jetten. The Canadian shoved all in from the button with QDiamond Suit 10Spade Suit and was called by Hall in the big blind, who held ASpade Suit KDiamond Suit. The board was dealt AClub Suit JSpade Suit 4Heart Suit 8Spade Suit AHeart Suit and Jetten took eighth place for €45,000.

One of the many surprises of the day occurred when Hall went head-to-head with Spindler. Both had massive stacks and only one would survive to tell the tale. Hall had pocket aces and Spindler held pocket queens, there was betting throughout with all the chips flying into the middle on the river. However the German had flopped a set all along and was good for the major chip lead with the loss of Hall in seventh place (€57,500).

Vanessa RoussoIt was time then for the shorter stacks to get busy and that is exactly what they did. Vanessa Rousso doubled through Juha Helppi with A-2 versus K-J, thanks to an ace on the river keeping her in the game.

Rousso’s stack then took a hit at the hands of Team PokerStars Pro teammate ElkY. The Frenchman doubled through Rousso with pocket kings versus A-5. The ace didn’t come this time and although Rousso would stay in the game, so too would ElkY with an improved stack and a hunger for more.

It was then David Sands’ turn to chip up and pocket jacks were enough for him to do so versus Spindler’s AClub Suit 8Spade Suit. Things then slowed down a little with chip leader Spindler raising every hand to 32,000 and his shorter opponents either folding or moving all in, to which Spindler would respond with a fold. One player not taking the bait was Alex Repik, but despite this he was next to go. The Russian had lost a lot of chips throughout the day and finally shoved with A-7. Juha Helppi called with A-K and although Repik caught a 7, Helppi caught a king and waved goodbye to Repik in sixth place, €72,000 richer.

Vanessa Rousso followed Repik out and received €100,000 for her fifth-place finish. Benny Spindler busted her after raising to the usual 32,000 and then calling Rouso’s all-in shove of 188,000 in total. Spindler had pocket eights and Rousso held ASpade Suit 6Diamond Suit and the board fell QDiamond Suit 10Diamond Suit 9Diamond Suit 8Spade Suit 10Heart Suit and Rousso lost her tournament life.

David SandsAfter doubling through Benny Spindler with pocket eights versus the German’s A-K, David Sands faced down the young pro once again. He would not make it out alive this time but he would add €135,000 to his tournament winnings. It was Sand’s A-Q versus Spindler’s A-K and Spindler stayed ahead to bring the tournament to its final three.

Those watching didn’t have to wait long for heads-up action as Juha Helppi soon followed Sands out when his J-10 was dominated by ElkY’s pocket queens. The board could not bring a miracle and Helppi left in third place for €185,000.

With Spindler cruising on around 2 million, ElkY had some work to do with just 700,000. However, one thing no-one wants to see in front of them on a poker table is the reflection of a chip stack ever-increasing in the shades of one peroxide-topped Frenchman. And that’s exactly what happened. ElkY evened out the chip stacks and the two went to war.

Benny SpindlerThe lead exchanged hands but Elky soon began to get the better of Spindler and it was here that the final hand occurred. With a limped pot preflop, the two saw a flop of 9Club Suit 4Diamond Suit 2Club Suit and ElkY bet out 33,000 from the big blind. Spindler made it 90,000 and ElkY then popped it to 223,000. Spindler made the call and the two saw the JClub Suit turn. ElkY bet 277,000 and Spindler called. The 9Spade Suit then landed on the river to cause even more chaos and ElkY moved all in.

Spindler thought about it for a moment and then elected to call. He flipped over KClub Suit 9Diamond Suit for trip nines but found he was up against a full house as ElkY revealed 9Heart Suit 4Heart Suit. Spindler took the €316,000 runner-up prize.

Following his win, ElkY said, “It feels really wonderful to win, as it’s over two years since my last major win at the PCA. This is the most prestigious of the EPT High Roller events as it’s the Grand Final.”

Here are the final results and payouts:
1. Bertrand Grospellier €525,000
2. Benny Spindler €316,000
3. Juha Helppi €185,000
4. David Sands €135,000
5. Vanessa Rousso €100,000
6. Alex Repik €72,000
7. Galen Hall €57,500
8. Peter Jetten €45,000

ElkY will play in day 1B of the EPT Grand Final main event tomorrow but in the meantime check back to to find what was going on on the other side of the room during day 1A of the main event.

All photographs courtesy of Neil Stoddart.