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Tournament Trail Q and A -- Bertrand Grospellier

ElkY Talks About His Wins at the PCA $25,000 High-Roller Event


Bertrand GrospellierWinning back-to-back championships in any sport, in any form of competition, is quite a feat, and in poker it is even harder to accomplish. Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier won the European Poker Tour PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in 2008, besting a field of 1,136 players to win $2 million. In 2009, he was unable to beat a field of 1,347 players to repeat as champion, but what he did last night at the Atlantis Resort solidified his greatness.

One year after he won the main event at the PCA, he won the first-ever $25,000 high-roller event held at the PCA and $433,500 in prize money. He has reached a pinnacle of poker consistency in the process. Grospellier has now won $2,433,500 in prize money in the Bahamas in the last 365 days. Card Player caught up with Grospellier right after the win and he talked about winning major titles two years in a row at the PCA.

Ryan Lucchesi:
What is your secret to success here in the Bahamas?

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier: I think I’ve been playing very well in this event, and I was playing very well in the main event, too. I came here two weeks early, and I was very rested. The end of last year was really busy in Vegas, so that’s why I took two weeks vacation. I felt very rested, and I was ready for the action. I played very well in the main event, but sometimes it doesn’t go your way. I was very happy the high-roller [event] was here so I could give it another shot. Now I’m really glad to have won it.

How disappointing was it to bust out of the PCA main event?

BG: I was pretty disappointed because I was defending champion, and I really hoped I could go deep again and I dreamed of winning. But it’s such a tough field … I played very well, so there was nothing I could have done. I wasn’t that disappointed, and because the high-roller was the day after, I didn’t really have a chance to think about it too much. I’m feeling very good right now.

RL: Where does this tournament win rank among all of your tournament success?

I guess it’s different, but it definitely has a special place because it was such a tough field, only the very best players, and the structure was deep. When you play against qualifiers in main events, everything is faster early. The win last year will always be special because it was my first one, but this was very important for me because it proves I can beat the best players.

What was your strategy heading into the final table today?

You always have to adapt in poker, and I didn’t know how the players were going to play today. You always have to go with the flow of the game. I was just waiting for a good spot, because my position at the table was really good. Some players were waiting to go up in pay, so I was able to take advantage of that. I think I played very well, overall, but I got lucky, as well, with two pair against Scott Seiver and set-over-set against Humberto [Brenes].

Once you won that huge hand against Humberto, did you switch to an end-game strategy?

I had to pace myself, especially protect against being reraised. I didn’t want to open too many pots and have someone shove all in against me. I wanted to be very careful and keep picking my spots well, because some players were playing tight. You are always trying to take advantage of the weakness in your opponents and some of them were playing too tight, so I was grinding them down. I was trying to be conservative, though, and not go crazy moving all in. It was very important for me to win all the small pots and toss-up hands.

What was harder for you, winning a PCA main event with 1,136 players or the high-roller event, with 48 of the best players in the world in the field?

BG: Of course 1,100-plus [entrants] is a really, really long tournament, but this one was a really tough one, and it is a really great personal success to be able to triumph again in the PokerStars event here a year after my success in the PCA, [it] really means a lot for me.