Team Pro ElkY wins EPT Madrid High Roller for €525,000
Definition of man envy: when one man sees another constructing something impressive and wishes he could do the same. I have man envy right now, and the subject of my man envy-ness is Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier. I'd like to build enough chips to bag just one five-figure score, but instead I have to watch the French Team PokerStars Pro winning six and seven-figure pay days for fun.
Today, then, was just another day in the office for ElkY, winning as he did €525,000 by beating Benny Spindler heads-up in the €25,000 EPT Madrid High Roller. It was the second big High Roller win of his career, coming after his $433,000 success at the PCA High Roller in 2009, and it adds another notch to his life-winnings bedpost on top of his PCA main event win in 2008 and WPT Festa al Lago win later the same year.
All in all, ElkY has now put together a life score of $7.3million. Your correspondent is a little way behind with around $4,500. Man envy, for sure.
But at the start of today, when our eight finalists sat down to do battle, ElkY looked well out of contention. It was Galen Hall, the winner of this year's PCA, who was the dominant chip leader. Hall, however, doubled up a shorter-stacked David Sands and, after Peter Jetten bust in eighth place, Hall lost a monumental pot against new chip leader Benny Spindler to bust himself.
If it was a shock to us on the rail, it must have been a body blow to Hall, who saw hopes of his own mega payday reduced instead to 'just' €57,500 for seventh place.
That re-shaped everything. Spindler, who looks about 16 below a mop of hair that a 1960s John Lennon would have been proud of, was now such a dominant chip leader that it seemed only a matter of time before he won the title. He had four times as many chips as the next man. That man was Juha Helppi, his cause helped by busting businessman Alex Repik in sixth place. Repik's A-7 was dominated by the Finn's A-K and he departed with €72,000.
With such a powerful stack it was no surprise to see Spindler applying the pressure, min-raising just about every hand pre-flop. It explains why Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso, facing yet another Spindler raise, decided to push her last 181,000 with A♠6♦. Alas, the German pro had a decent hand with 8♦8♥, and Rousso never caught up. She got €100,000, and although that's a decent score, she really wanted to repeat her EPT Grand Final High Roller victory two years ago in Monte Carlo.
Then, out of nowhere, David Sands doubled up through Spindler to look like the one man who could threaten him - but he then busted to the German, his A-Q dominated by A-K. A €135,000 consolation awaited him.
Without really being involved much, then, ElkY found himself three-handed for the title. That swiftly became heads-up when he busted Helppi. The Finn pushed with 10-J but was in terrible shape against ElkY's pocket queens. The board didn't help and he left with €185,000.
So then there were two. ElkY was more than 2-1 behind in chips to Spindler, but his class shone through. Naked, relentless aggression was his game, and it paid off. One big double-up gave him the lead, and he never looked back. Finally, ElkY's full house bested the German's trips, and we had a new champion.
Congratulations to ElkY, who took three days to overcome 57 other players. Commiserations to Spindler, who picked up €316,000 for second place.
While the high roller is done and dusted, the EPT Madrid main event is now in full swing. Be sure to check out our coverage which will go all the way through to the final table on Thursday. Thanks to Neil Stoddart for his fine pictorial support, and remember he does not take kindly to content thieves.
Thanks for reading, and cheerio.