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Poker News | People in Poker | Poker Superstars

Where Are They Now - Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier

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Where are They Now is a series of an in depth look at all poker players - not just the pros - as they travel through one long game. Some of the players profiled are deceased but not forgotten.

There aren’t many people in the world who are simply known by one name.  In the world of music we have Madonna, Cher, and Elvis.  In sports we have Shaq, Kobe, and Lebron.  In the world of poker, because of players having their online name, it’s sometimes more easy, or convenient, to call a person by that screen name.  The biggest example of this is in the case of Bertrand Grospellier.  If you ask the average internet poker player who Bertrand Grospellier is they wouldn’t have a clue.  If you ask them who ElkY is, then you get a wide range of responses ranging from “the best online player in the world today,” to “the guy that was the first one ever to reach Supernova Elite Status on PokerStars.”  With those two accolades alone he has earned one name status in the poker world, but as you will see that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the successes Grospellier has found at both the virtual and live felt.

Bertrand Grospellier is also well known in two separate fields in a wildly popular manner.  Much like David Williams who is still known in “Magic The Gathering” circles, Grospellier is known in the video game world.  Grospellier was born February 8, 1981 in Annecy, France, and almost from the start loved video games.  At three years old Grospellier discovered the game Pac-Man.  Now most kids may find a game, like any other toy, play with it for a little while, and then move on to the next thing.  Grospellier stuck with Pac-Man until he had mastered the game, and this was all around the same time he was learning to walk.  Grospellier progressed to other video games, and by time he was a teenager he was building a reputation as one of the best video game players in the world.  On the surface this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but in certain parts of the world it is possible to make a very good living at video game playing abilities.  Naturally, he moved to South Korea, the home of some of the world’s most competitive gamers.

South Korea has three television stations dedicated to video games, and it wasn’t long before Grospellier was being featured on all of them.  Grospellier became known affectionately as the “Great White Hope” to his Korean fan base, but Grospellier showed he was no hope, and indeed one of the best, when he finished second at the 2001 World Cyber Games in the game Starcraft.  His success earned him sponsorships and he also became one of the most recognizable faces and names in South Korea.  Wins and top finishes continued for a number of years, but just as Grospellier was getting burnt out on video games he was introduced to online poker by some of his friends.
   
Grospellier immediately took to poker because of the strategy that was involved was comparable to what he had learned from video games.  However, he thought that his foray into online poker would be a short one because he found the pace of the game really boring.  That’s when he discovered he could play multiple tables at once, and that’s when the game changed for the man who would become known as “ElkY.”  What followed for ElkY in online poker is both the stuff of legend and history.

Almost from the start Grospellier would play 10-12 tables at a time, and routinely would play 24 hours straight.  He always thought of this kind of play as dedication, and a lot of people agree with him, but some thought of this as both unhealthy and irrational because there was no way he could be playing at his best for that long.  In 2005 Grospellier continued a rate of play that had literally never been matched before.  In just two weeks Grospellier became the first playing ever on PokerStars to make the Supernova status, which was 100,000 player points.  In just four and a half months he earned 1,000,000 points earning him Supernova Elite, a status that many thought was just about impossible until he did it.  During this run Grospellier went an entire week playing 24 hours a day, sleeping 15 minutes every four hours.  During this epic quest Grospellier lost a couple hundred thousand dollars, but in his mind he hoped that it would earn him recognition in the poker world that could perhaps lead to sponsorships.  He was right, as shortly after this quest ElkY became sponsored by PokerStars.

Despite these achievements, many people thought of Grospellier as little more than a publicity stunt, and that he really wasn’t that good at poker and just was blessed with an infinite amount of stamina.  Grospellier took these critiques seriously and has gone on to make major scores in both online poker and live poker.  People believed there was no way Grospellier could be successful at live poker because of his perceived short attention span, but 5.7 million dollars in less than 5 years suggest otherwise.
 
Grospellier’s first major success came on the European Poker Tour when he finished 2nd in the January 2007 Scandinavian Open for $399,953.  Almost exactly one year later, Grospellier won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $2,000,000.  The PCA arguably features the toughest tournament field of any live event every year between the veteran live pros and the best internet players.  In October of 2008, Grospellier added a World Poker Tour title and 1.4 million dollars winning the Annual Festa AL Lago Classic.  In January 2009, Grospellier won the $25,000 buy-in High Roller Event at the PokerStars  Caribbean Adventure.  While a World Series of Poker title has eluded him to this point, he has already cashed in 8 events, including three events at this year’s series.
 
Grospellier has also changed his habits a bit, no longer playing online marathon sessions, and even getting up at a decent time daily.  He has also hired a fitness instructor to whip him into shape, and soon after he did that the live tournament results starting turning positive for him.  Grospellier is a believer that if you feel good and look good you’ll play good.  Because of his success in video games and poker he is one of the more recognizable faces, or should I say names, in the gaming world today.

*Read Billy Monroe's Blog*

Major Tournament Results

03-Jul-2009           $ 10,000 World Championship No Limit Hold'em (Final table to be played in November)

40th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2009, Las Vegas     122nd         $ 40,288
16-Jun-2009           $ 1,500 No Limit Hold'em

40th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2009, Las Vegas     13th         $ 30,398
03-Jun-2009           $ 2,500 Pot Limit Omaha/Hold'em

40th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2009, Las Vegas     29th         $ 6,293
18-Apr-2009           $ 25,000 No Limit Hold'em - Championship Event

Seventh Annual Five Star World Poker Classic, Las Vegas     3rd         $ 776,245

06-Mar-2009         $ 20,000 No Limit Hold'em
NBC National Heads-Up Championship 2009, Las Vegas     3rd         $ 125,000

02-Mar-2009         $ 500 No Limit Hold'em
The Wynn Classic , Las Vegas     2nd         $ 25,414

21-Feb-2009           $ 9,900 Main Event - No Limit Hold'em
2009 L.A. Poker Classic, Los Angeles     32nd         $ 38,085

23-Jan-2009         € 20,000 No Limit Hold'em - High Rollers Event
EPT - Deauville, Deauville     3rd     € 76,800     $ 101,839

07-Jan-2009         $ 24,500 No Limit Hold'em - High Roller Event
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Paradise Island     1st         $ 433,500

11-Dec-2008         $ 5,000 No Limit Hold'em
2008 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Las Vegas     9th         $
18,760
05-Dec-2008         $ 3,000 No Limit Hold'em

2008 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic, Las Vegas     12th         $ 6,535

20-Oct-2008           $ 15,000 WPT Championship
6th Annual Festa Al Lago Classic, Las Vegas     1st         $ 1,411,015

13-Oct-2008         $ 2,500 No Limit Hold'em
6th Annual Festa Al Lago Classic, Las Vegas     2nd         $ 55,870

03-Jul-2008           $ 10,000 World Championship No Limit Hold'em
39th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2008, Las Vegas     370th         $ 28,950

26-Jun-2008           $ 5,000 No Limit Hold'em
39th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2008, Las Vegas     16th         $ 31,781

15-May-2008         € 10,000 Grand Prix De Paris - No Limit Hold'em
Rendez Vous A Paris 2008, Paris     5th     € 78,660     $ 122,468

13-Mar-2008         $ 2,000 No Limit Hold'em
The Wynn Classic, Las Vegas     5th         $ 11,097

05-Jan-2008           $ 7,800 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure
PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Paradise Island     1st         $2,000,000

23-Nov-2007           $ 2,500 APPT Main Event - No Limit Hold'em
APPT Macau, Taipa     5th         $ 48,576

11-Jun-2007           $ 2,500 No Limit Hold'em
38th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2007, Las Vegas     9th         $ 29,124

09-Jun-2007           $ 1,500 No Limit Hold'em
38th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2007, Las Vegas     21st         $ 20,806

06-Jun-2007           $ 2,000 No Limit Hold'em
38th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2007, Las Vegas     68th         $ 6,966

14-Mar-2007           zł 15,000 No Limit Hold'em
EPT Warsaw, Warsaw     18th     zł 24,282     $ 8,228

17-Jan-2007           DKr 37,500 EPT - No Limit Hold'em
Scandinavian Open, Copenhagen     2nd     DKr 2,308,608     $ 399,953

07-Oct-2006           € 5,000 EPT - No Limit Hold'em
The Big Double 2006, Baden     16th     € 12,578     $ 15,976

01-Jul-2006           $ 2,000 No Limit Hold'em
37th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2006, Las Vegas     37th         $ 10,478

19-Feb-2005         € 500 No Limit Hold'em
The French Open, Deauville     9th     € 2,000     $ 2,591

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