2008 World Series: Poker, the past and peroxide

In the world of professional gaming it pays to look a little edgy. The millions of fans who tune in to the Star League in South Korea like their World Cyber Games to put on a show, a space-aged one at that, and back in the day when man of the time Bertrand ‘ElkY Grospellier came second in the World Cyber Games, he delivered.

This is what came to mind when I saw him this morning. The Team PokerStars Pro has taken the days off between his last event and now to pamper up and today sports spiked peroxide blond hair and what I think are new sunglasses. Gone is the hoodie with the gold trim and the large sunglasses, in are a sleek jacket and open neck dress shirt and elegant shades. It’s back to space age for the Frenchman. He could easily be on the cover of a marvel comic.

IJG_9938.jpg

ElkY keeps a neat stack, constantly adjusting it for elegance, symmetry and colour co-ordination. As any book will tell you to do he waits until the action reaches him before checking his cards and when he folds he gets back to his housekeeping. Occasionally he switches the playlist on his headphones.

These are crucial levels for everyone playing in the World Series but especially so in terms of ElkY’s game plan. I spoke to him earlier this week about his World Series this summer and asked if there was any reason for his lack of cashes. There was no concern, it all seemed acceptable.

IJ2_9646.jpg

“I either go out really fast or I go deep” he said, before promptly spinning up a short stack into a battle stack and turning it into a 16th place finish the next day. If he’s still here in 12 hours time we should have a firm indication of how much we’ll be seeing him this week.

It’s an eclectic table for sure, a mixture of the various poker breeds, old and young, large and small, that includes a player in a ten gallon hat with an owl’s foot for luck, PokerStars qualifier Matthew Clark and of course Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, who in contrast to ElkY wears a Brazil zip up with the poker player uniform of shades, hat and headphones.

You never can tell early on what mood some players are in, often these early hands are a sounding stage for future clashes as players get the lay of the land. But not here, everyone’s had a piece of something, although ElkY’s has been more a donation.

A raise form the seat seven player cost ElkY a few thousand after he’d re-raised; bidding his cards farewell when bet at on a 6-4-A flop. Then it was Matthew Clark’s turn, getting an early start and showing Kings in a pot he raised all the way. On their own they were no good, but with one a club to match the four on the board he was up several grand.

Then ElkY and the busy seat seven player again; a board of 9d8d2c6s, a big bet at ElkY (called) and an ace on the river bet at and called. The Ad7d was good. Something less for the Team PokerStars Pro who mucked for a second time as the victor thumped the table.

It’s early though and like he said, if it goes according to plan it’ll be either a short week or a long week - nothing in between.