2009 WCOOP: Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier Claims Event 38 Title ($530+1R1A NLHE)

WCOOP 2009 logo.jpgThe first two weeks of the 2009 WCOOP were coming to a close, and the last weekend of tournaments, including the highly anticipated Main Event, were on the horizon. But many players realized that the opportunities that come with such a series - stellar guarantees and fields comprised of many of the greatest online poker players in the world - were also fading as the end of the WCOOP neared.

Thus, another rebuy NLHE event, for the second night in a row, again drew a large crowd with more recognizable names and faces than this blog is set up to announce. In general, however, the field contained 1,169 players for the $1 million guarantee, and after the tally of 742 rebuys and 827 add-ons, the prize pool soared to $1,369,000 to be distributed according to the finishes of the last 171 players.

As the tournament played down and the money bubble was in sight, many of the names from Team PokerStars Pros were found eliminated, such as William Thorson (377th), Steve Paul-Ambrose (350th), Bill Chen (345th), Alex Gomes (336th), Jason Mercier (327th), Barry Greenstein (293rd), and Noah Boeken (279th). But many of them soldiered on through the bubble and into the money, where the payout board found Chad Brown finishing in 173rd place, Humberto Brenes in 156th, and Grant Levy in 102nd.

Deep runs in these types of tournaments are not easy, but stamina, skills, and hard work are no stranger to baseball legend Orel Hershiser , which likely helped propel him to an impressive 49th place finish in the tournament. Going even further was Team PokerStars Pro Gaulter "stockcar99" Salles, who ended his run in 33rd place.

But the one member of the team still pushing on came as no surprise to most who know what the man is capable of. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was not only still in the event but pushing through the top ten. As three tables consolidated into two and the final table was in sight, ElkY eliminated another player to jump into the number one spot on the leaderboard with the following hand:

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The field eventually thinned even further, and with the elimination of James "mig.com" Mackey in 11th place, it didn't take long to find the final table bubble player. Short-stacked alkemizt pushed all-in with K♥ J♥ against the pocket threes of Pinnekjott, and the board brought straight possibilities with 6♦ 8♠ T♥ 9♦ 4♠, but nothing panned out, leaving alkemizt out in tenth place with $11,773.40 for the effort.

The final table was set with the tournament into its 13th hour and its 34th level, blinds at 17,500/35,000, and a 4,375 ante. And the players' chip counts were as follows:

Seat 1: Pinnekjøtt (5,215,262 in chips)
Seat 2: hafizzle (1,633,972 in chips)
Seat 3: natefive (2,164,192 in chips)
Seat 4: jeff710 (467,932 in chips)
Seat 5: ElkY (2,063,016 in chips)
Seat 6: Kid Canepa (1,390,750 in chips)
Seat 7: ICuRaRook (832,255 in chips)
Seat 8: Ginsash (5,540,561 in chips)
Seat 9: cashryders22 (3,294,560 in chips)

Event 38 final table.JPG

It took only three hands for action to kick in at the last table of the night, and it started with a late-position all-in raise from jeff710. Kid Canepa called from the big blind with A♠ 4♣, and jeff710 showed Q♣ T♣. The two watched the board come 6♠ J♦ A♥ 9♦ J♠, and jeff710 was ousted in ninth place with $14,785.20.

Two levels later, after some slowdown in the pace of the table, several players struggled with short stacks. One of them, Kid Canepa, got into a preflop raising war with hafizzle, who pushed all-in with pocket queens. Kid Canepa called all-in for his tournament life holding pocket jacks, which received no help on the Q♠ 4♦ 3♥ 4♠ 5♥ board. That left Kid Canepa on the rail in eighth place with $26,695.50.

Many more rounds passed before seeing another player at risk, but ICuRaRook decided to push preflop with A♦ J♣. The race was on when Ginsash called with pocket tens, and the race ended after the board of 6♦ 4♣ 9♦ 2♠ K♥ brought nothing to save ICuRaRook, who finished the tournament in seventh place with $40,075.50 in prize money.

Only a few hands later, it was Pinnekjott and natefive in a raising war before the flop that resulted in natefive reraising all-in with pocket kings against the A♣ Q♦ of caller Pinnekjott. The board produced 9♦ J♥ A♥ 4♣ Q♣ to give Pinnekjott two pair and the pot, while natefive was sent away from the computer in sixth place with $54,075.50.

The next level saw cashryders22 double through Ginsash, but hafizzle doubled through cashryders22 on the very next hand, and cashryders22 remained the short stack at the table. But it was ElkY on the move in a positive direction. After ElkY doubled through hafizzle, he took on cashryders22. The two tangled to see a K♥ 4♦ Q♥ flop, then checked to see the 7♦ turn. More money went into the pot to see the A♦ river, at which point ElkY pushed all-in, and cashryders22 called all-in for the remainder of his chips with A♣ Q♠ for two pair. But ElkY showed pocket threes, which became a set on the turn and knocked cashryders22 out of the tournament in fifth place with $67,765.50.

With the double-up troubles of hafizzle, it wasn't a surprise that he moved all-in for his stack of less than 2 million. It was Ginsash who made the call with K♣ J♣, and that hand would race against the pocket eights of hafizzle. The board came J♠ 4♣ 3♥ A♥ A♣, and the two pair of Ginsash beat the lower two pair of hafizzle. A reward of $93,092 went to hafizzle for the fourth place finish.

With ElkY and Ginsash nearly even in chips, Pinnekjott was the shorter stack and needed to move in order to make any headway. The key hand for Pinnekjott started innocently enough with quite a bit of money hitting the pot preflop, and after the 7♠ 3♣ 5♥ was dealt, Pinnekjott bet, ElkY raised, and Pinnekjott came over the top all-in with pocket eights. That overpair was good, but not as good as the pocket tens of ElkY. The K♦ turn and K♥ river solidified the outcome, which left Pinnekjott out in third place with $129,918.10.

Heads-up play began as follows:

Seat 5: ElkY (13,905,414 in chips)
Seat 8: Ginsash (8,697,086 in chips)

It didn't take long for Ginsash to chip up and take the lead through a series of aggressive hands, though the stacks of both players remained relatively even for awhile. Over the course of the next hour of play, the two exchanged chip leads several times, though neither player seemed to feel desperate enough to move all-in.

But ElkY was relentless. And it finally came down to one hand with ElkY holding nearly a 2-to-1 chip lead over Ginsash. The two went to see a 9♦ 2♥ 4♥ flop. ElkY bet and Ginsash check-called before the K♠ turn, and the same action took place before the J♣ river. The last card prompted ElkY to bet again, but this time Ginsash check-raised all-in with 8♦ 4♦ and the pair of fours. But ElkY called with K♥ 9♣ for two pair, and the tournament was over.

Ginsash, who made the final table of 2009 WCOOP Event 28 but finished ninth, ended his tournament in second place with $171,125.

And Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier won the tournament, a WCOOP bracelet, and impressive $232,730 in prize money. On behalf of the PokerStars team, congratulations!

elky-wcoop-winner.jpg

2009 WCOOP Event 38 Results:

1st place: Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier ($232,730.00)
2nd place: Ginsash ($171,125.00)
3rd place: Pinnekjott ($129,918.10)
4th place: hafizzle ($93,092.00)
5th place: cashryders22 ($67,765.50)
6th place: natefive ($54,075.50)
7th place: ICuRaRook ($40,285.50)
8th place: Kid Canepa ($26,695.50)
9th place: jeff710 ($14,785.20)

The 2009 WCOOP is heading into its final weekend, but several tournaments and millions more dollars await players. Check the newly launched WCOOP website for all of the information, including the list of tournaments and corresponding satellites that offer entries for as little as $1. And PokerStars.TV, as always, will have tips from the pros and tournament replays as the WCOOP progresses.

Jen Newell
@PokerStars in WCOOP