After our initial interview in a back hallway at Atlantis, we gave 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure winner Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier some time to breathe. Now, we've asked him to write a little bit about what his first major win meant to him and his poker career.
by Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier
The PCA is always a special tournament for poker players, especially because the location is so great and because there are so many online qualifiers and the atmosphere is very special. Players are usually much younger, too, and I know many more of them as we always play with each other on PokerStars.
The tournament was pretty much a very smooth ride for me, except the end of day 3 where I lost a huge pot with AQ to JT to put me in the bottom of the crowd. Fortunately, I managed to double up twice in a row on my big blind and small blind, the second time eliminating my fellow member of Team PokerStars Pro, Hevad Khan. I feel great about the way I played overall. With the exception of the AQ hand, everything really went my way this tournament.
I was able reach the final table second in chips, and was surrounded by the two players I respected the most. Joe Elpayaa and David Pham were on my immediate left and right, and respectively third and first in chips. I knew we were going to be the three most fearless players at the table. I was was fortunate to have great timing and capture the chip lead early on by eliminating two other players.
Then I caught a big hand in a blind vs. blind battle against David Pham which really slowed him down against me. Joe got in some bad situations, too, and found himself short stacked pretty early. I was able to defeat his KJh with my AQo. I was more focused than ever before on this final table.
Pham was the next one out, after losing a bunch of small pots. His elimination was a huge relief for me Finally, I ended up heads up with the chip lead. I was being very aggressive from the very start and won a couple of nice pots against Hafiz Khan. I could feel he was ready to make a move on me. When I made my standard raise of 400,000 on the button and he shoved, I asked him how much it was. He was almost stuttering after realizing his mistake.
I insta-called and was relieved when he sheepishly turned over 93o. The board came 7524. When I saw the four of hearts rolling on the river, I was overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction. All my friends rushed towards me to congratulate me.
It will be engraved in my memory for ages to come.