SCOOP: ElkY reigns supreme in Event #35-H ($25,500 heads-up NLHE)

SCOOP logo.gifFor six years now, we've been watching ElkY win things. It's a recurring phenomena that rears up every few months and tends to come in streaks. Was it really nineteen months ago that he won two WCOOP bracelets inside of a few days? Was it really two weeks ago that he shipped back-to-back high roller events at the EPT Grand Final? Honestly, we should have been more prepared. The way he's been running, a big score in the SCOOP from ElkY was practically a given.

At this point, what hasn't he won in poker? A World Poker Tour event? Been there, drank the champagne. The PCA Main Event? Done that, somehow got the trophy through customs. An EPT High Roller Event? He won three of them. A WCOOP bracelet? Try two in one year. However, until Sunday evening, the man absolutely no one calls Bertrand Grospellier had yet to ship a SCOOP event. Well, cross that one off the list. In typical ElkY fashion, it was a big one, the French Team PokerStars Pro taking down Event #35-High, $25,500 heads-up NLHE.

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Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, 2011 SCOOP $25k heads-up champion

This was the steepest buy-in, the smallest field, and the only SCOOP event this year to have an overlay. Nine players entered the $250,000 guaranteed event, resulting in an extra $25,000 up for grabs. Four spots were paid with the champion earning $112,500. Action was spread out over two days, with the first two rounds taking place on Saturday and the "final four" matches playing out on Sunday evening.

Round One

With nine players in the field, seven received first-round byes leaving ChrisFun123 to take on K_0_S_T_Y_A. It only took four levels of play for ChrisFun123 to whittle down his opponent. The deciding hand was a classic coinflip, K_0_S_T_Y_A four-bet shoving for 6,190 with pocket sevens and ChrisFun123 making the call with A♥J♣. An ace flopped and K_0_S_T_Y_A was out, taking us to the round of eight.

Quarter-final

Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe was the first to punch his ticket to the final four after making quick work of Kanu7. Ifrarii claimed half his opponent's stack on the eighth hand of the match, a bit of a cooler where both players flopped top pair, Iftarii's K♥Q♣ outkicking Kanu7's K♣J♣. Fifteen minutes later Kanu7 five-bet shoved preflop with pocket eights, but Iftarii called with A♥Q♥ and flopped an ace, sending Kanu7 to the rail.

ElkY and Berndsen12 played small-pot poker for the better part of two levels, ElkY inching out to a 12,000 to 8,000 lead before one hand decided the match. On a flop of K♣J♣6♦, ElkY led out for 456, Berndsen12 raised to 1,187, ElkY three-bet to 2,345 and Berndsen12 shoved for 7,497. ElkY made the call, turning over a set of kings while Berndsen12 was looking for a club that didn't pair the board with A♣7♣. ElkY's set held, the turn and river falling the A♦ and the 9♥ to eliminate Berndsen12.

Everyone's favorite Swede Viktor "Isildur1" Blom--the king of swing, the sultan of spew, the overbet overlord-- made an appearance in this event, but could not get past Also11. Although Isildur1 quickly had him on the ropes when his Q♠8♦ turned two pair against pocket aces, Also11 picked the bullets up again a short time later and got paid off when he flopped top set. Down to 4,300 in chips, Isildur1 three-bet shoved a Q♦T♦8♣J♥ board and Also11 made the call with A♠K♦ for the nut straight. Isildur1 was drawing dead with J♣9♥ and finished in sixth place while Also11 advanced to the semi-final.

In the final match to finish on Day 1, Sussie Smith defeated ChrisFun123, the last of his chips going in preflop with A♠9♠. Sussie Smith called with A♣Q♣ and made the nut flush on the river, setting the final four.

Semi-final

ElkY vs. Sussie Smith: Considering the starting stack sizes (10,000) and the structure (20 minute blinds starting at 25/50),ElkY's defeat of Sussie Smith was incredibly swift, taking only a bit more than 45 minutes. The Frenchman quickly leapt out to a 3 to 1 chip lead, but Sussie Smith reclaimed those lost chips in a hand where they both rivered trip fours, ElkY's with an inferior kicker. ElkY went back on the grind and pulled back out to a small lead when a fateful turn card led Sussie Smith to commit the rest of his chips:


Iftarii vs. Also11: This match was relatively even until Iftarii took a 3 to 1 chip lead during the second level of play. Iftarii called an opening min-raise to 60 from the big blind, then checked the 8♥5♣4♥ flop over to Also11, who bet 120. Iftarii called and the K♥ came on the turn. Iftarii checked again, Also11 bet 300, Iftarii raised to 720, and Also11 camed back over the top for 1,140. Iftarii flat-called and they went to the river, which fell the 6♦. This time, Iftarii led out for 850. Also11 looked him up, but could not beat his K♠6♣ for the rivered two pair.

Iftarii caught a lightning bolt on the river in the final hand of the match after calling Also11's four-bet shove for 3,065. Iftarii had a temporary lead with pocket sixes against Also11's Q♥8♦, but the A♣K♦Q♠ flop left him drawing to only two outs. The turn was the 7♦ but the 6♥ fell from the heavens on the river, making Iftarii a set and eliminating Also11 in third place. We had our final two.

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The final: ElkY vs. Iftarii

ElkY and Iftarii, high-stakes veterans both, were extremely relaxed as their match got underway, discussing among other topics, their mutual background in heads-up SNGs, the Vancouver Canucks (ElkY has tickets to Tuesday night's game), StarCraft2 and Iftarii's recent move to Montreal. Their first major confrontation came midway through the first level, ElkY opening for 100 and Iftarii making the call. Iftari check-called another 100 on the A♥A♣8♣ flop, then led for 250 when the A♠ came on the turn. ElkY smooth-called, and the J♦ hit the river. Iftarii bet 600, ElkY raised to 1,678, and Iftarii three-bet to 2,800, prompting the following chat.

"Probably gonna make the sickest fold of my life, lol" ElkY wrote.

He made the fold, claiming he had pocket kings.

Iftarii started clawing his way back, getting some nice value when he rivered a king-high flush in a 9,700 pot to take a 3 to 1 chip lead. However, he bluffed much of those chips off when he fired at the river on a 8♠7♦2♦9♣T♦ board with only ace-high. ElkY called him with a jack-high straight and moved back up to 7,000 in chips. Things looked bleak for ElkY when he three-bet shoved on a 9♦7♦2♠ flop with K♦T♦ for overs and a flush draw, Iftarii looking him up with A♦4♦. An ace or a diamond would have ended the match right there and given Iftarii his second SCOOP bracelet of the series, but the K♣ turned making ElkY top pair. The river blanked with the 3♣ and ElkY doubled to 14,426, leaving Iftarii on 5,574.

Iftarii evened the score again when he turned jacks up and got two streets of value out of ElkY. However, only a few hands later, ElkY made trips on the turn with A♠5♠ on a 5♣3♦J♠5♦ board. He checked and Iftarii checked behind, the river falling the T♣. ElkY checked again, Iftarii bet 1,320, ElkY raised to 3,480 and Iftarii called to see he was beat. ElkY seized the momentum and continued to chip up, whitting Iftarii down to only 3,174 before he made a misstep. With the blinds up to 80/160, Iftarii opened for 320 and ElkY three-bet shoved for 16,826. Iftarii snap-called with pocket aces, which held up against ElkY's K♠9♠.

The match would not make it out of Level 4, all the marbles going in again before the flop only five minutes later. Iftarii led off the betting with a raise to 320, ElkY three-bet to 800, Iftarii four-bet to 1,350 and ElkY shoved for 14,091 total. Iftarii called, his 7♠7♣ up against A♣J♥. Today belonged to ElkY, however, the board running out A♠9♠9♣4♦T♠ to seal his SCOOP win.

Congratulations to the inimitable "ElkY" on another incredible tournament victory. He earned $112,500 for his efforts, while Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe banked $62,500 for his runner-up finish.

So, ElkY... next stop WSOP bracelet?

SCOOP Event #35-High ($25,500 heads-up NLHE) results
1. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (U.K.) $112,500
2. Jonathan "Iftarii" Jaffe (Canada) $62,500
3. Also11 (Germany) $37,500
4. Sussie Smith (Sweden) $37,500

PokerStars.tv's hit web show "Inside SCOOP" airs at a special time tomorrow, 23:00 GMT/18:00 EST. Nick Wealthall is back behind the desk with Joe Stapleton for the final two episodes-- don't miss it!

Kristin Bihr
@PokerStars in SCOOP