WSOP 2017: ElkY runner-up to Polk in High Roller for One Drop
It's almost become required of us to forget the player who finishes second. A cliché even. As Stu Ungar famously said, "show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser". But then, undoubted heroics aside, I always wondered if Mr Ungar might not have been the most empathetic opponent.
But in the World Series of Poker, where it's all about the bracelet, it's easy to discount the heroics of those who fall one step short. And regardless of whether we're contractually obliged on the Blog, one of those performances stood out overnight, alerting the editorial team to an all-nighter, and a performance we didn't want to miss.
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier led the final table of the $111,111 buy in High Roller for One Drop when play began yesterday, and almost took that lead on a wire to wire trip to a title. But for an outstanding performance by Doug Polk, ElkY might now have been clutching that second gold bracelet. Instead he took second, a disappointment to any player, obviously, but one ElkY accepted with humility and class.
We wrote last weekend of the "Ghost of ElkY's past". The Frenchman, who on appearances, with peroxide hair, gaming background and almost innate sparkle, would be better described as a citizen of the Galaxy, has been away from the business end of tournaments for a while. His last major win was back in 2012, an EPT Berlin High Roller. A year before that he won a Stud bracelet. Since then, little of the form (at the poker table at least) that typically turned heads.
But the signs of this renaissance had been there if you looked- the deep run in Macau, then in Monaco, and then another in Sochi only last week. And now runner up spot in one of the biggest events on this year's World Series of Poker schedule.
Now might be the time to look forward to a big summer from the Team Pro, tentatively at least. If we're right it will come with an additional bonus - his welcome return to centre stage for those of us who like to stay up all night watching him play.
Just like the old days, which Stu Ungar used to know a thing or two about. And maybe he was right. Perhaps we shouldn't remember the runner up, instead ensuring the winner - in this case the supremely talented Doug Polk - rightfully gets the credit and the attention. But in this case we're prepared to make an exception.
Congratulations to Doug Polk on a well-deserved win, and to our man ElkY, for what was a close run thing.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley. What did you think about this post? Let us know on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog. WSOP photos courtesy PokerPhotoArchive.com