EPT11 London: Bertand "ElkY" Grospellier defies clerical error to reach the money

There was a moment this morning when things looked pretty bad for Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, perhaps the only player in the game who gets his name and nickname mentioned whenever he's referenced, never one or the other.

He was the short stack, or so it seemed, with a little more than 11,000 chips -- hardly enough to pay the antes and blinds let alone have any chance of mounting a comeback.

With this in mind I went to watch what happened next in the career of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. For the position of "last in chips" on almost any day, but perhaps more so today, is one of public peril and humiliation. Even more so when, at an event like this, a camera team has been assigned to watch your every move - your every last move. And in case you're caught and asked, the cover story is always one of "waiting to see you double up!" But you're never asked.

No other sport or competition has a similar dynamic, that of the loser getting more attention than those who might actually win. Perhaps ice skating has a similar moment --the camera focuses on the leaders who, with fixed grins and taking deep breaths, quietly will their opponents to mess up in spectacular fashion, gifting them the medal.

All this seems tragic for Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier who has been unusually absent from the money bit of a European Poker Tour Main Event for a while. Apart from a few min cashes his last deep run came in Deauville in 2010 when he finished ninth. Now he was holding on for dear life.

He arrived to take his seat before the start with three minutes to spare. He'd yet to put his sunglasses on but he did take his leather jacket off - always a good sign. It shows faith and projects power to the opposition. Nothing says weakness like an overcoat, luggage and a taxi waiting outside with the engine running.

But then it soon became obvious why he was showing no signs of an impending departure. A typo, some confusion between the numbers one and seven, revealed he had more than 70,000 rather than the 11,000 first thought -the number that had brought people to his table in the first place. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was going to be fine.

But by this stage I was committed to writing something about the Frenchman, so I stuck around to watch him cross over the line into the money and a 16th EPT cash. But would this become another deep run just like in Deauville nearly four years ago? Early signs suggested it would be.

Before long he was all-in for 28,500. He pushed his chips forward and waited, head titled slightly to one side, mouth open. David Cabrera, third in chips as play started, called, as did Simon Deadman, which would force Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier to sit and wait. One opponent is a straight forward decision, the tearing off a Band Aid. But two is the more painful little-bit-at-a-time approach taken by young children.


elky_landscape_ept11lon_d3.jpgHead titled to one side and mouth slightly open: Bertand "ElkY" Grospellier all in

But at least the wound had healed. Grospellier had flopped a set of jacks which easily steered past the eights of Cabrera and the jack-ten of Deadman. Suddenly Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, slightly flushed (it is blood not Kryptonite that runs through his veins) was back up to around 100,000.

While this was all good clean fun the action a table along was a little different.

But just as there are heroes, the players urged home by a loving crowd, there are the anti-heroes, villains on whom we can place our distaste and enjoy every minute of it. In this case Mikhail Petrov.

Petrov was that guy, the one who stalled on every hand. Eventually the floor man was called who then reduced the time he had to think to 15 seconds per hand. Each time Petrov, who looks a little like the guy you most fear being brought home by your daughter, would wait, listening to the clock being counted down. Then his cards would be taken away. He hadn't even looked at them.

But secretly we all like this petulance. It gives us a legitimate villain we sometimes need, making us feel righteous and sporting, even though we also know that it's poor form, shows disrespect to opponents and forces a member of the tournament staff to play babysitter. But then when you've been waiting for ElkY to bust, rightly or wrongly, for nearly three hours, it's a useful distraction.

But then the bubble burst and all of this became irrelevant.


elky_portrait_ept11lon_d3.jpgBertrand "ElkY" Grospellier into the money

ElkY and Petrov were into the money, neither looking any more delighted. Petrov plays on but Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier has since departed, sent to the rail by the aces of Simon Deadman. And this time there's no typo.

Follow the action from the EPT London Main Event this week on the PokerStars. You can also watch live coverage on the EPT Live webcast between October 14-18 on PokerStars.tv.


Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.