WSOP 2017: ElkY denies the vultures, clings on with Main Event short stack

There's a certain level of masochism to tournament poker. All the destruction and slaughter could get you down if it wasn't quite so compelling.

What's more: sometimes you actually have to go seeking out the misery, as was the case early today. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier returned to a stack of 5,300 for his Day 2. He was tenth from bottom of a leader board featuring 3,300 returning players.

He was a hot favourite to be knocked out early. And we wouldn't be doing our job properly if we weren't loitering on the rail to watch it happen.


ElkY clinging on with the short stack

But--and this is good news--ElkY got a measure of revenge on the vulture-like tournament reporter. Firstly, he only showed up on the very stroke of 12 noon, swerving through the tables to find his seat and a bag already ripped open by tournament staff. Our snapper had been waiting there for about five minutes already, staring at an empty chair.

Secondly, he didn't get knocked out for more than an hour.

ElkY did actually just about arrive in time for the first hand, but only because the dealer was a little tardy in getting the cards in the air. Two minutes had elapsed already before ElkY was able to peek, and then fold, his first two cards.

He folded his second hand too. And he folded his third. Blinds were at 300/600 in this level, so he had eight big blinds and had decided not to commit his chips too hastily.

A television camera arrived to get some B-roll of ElkY. He's pretty well known in the United States having won the PCA and on the WPT, and also finishing runner-up to Doug Polk in the One Drop this year. A couple of railbirds had also noticed the characteristic bleach-blond hair and had stood to watch.

Then ElkY found himself in the big blind and saw Taylor Black raise from under the gun. Francisco Parra called one seat along, as did Cy Williams, which meant ElkY was priced in. He called too.

The flop came 9♥8♠2♠ but ElkY check-folded to Black's c-bet.

"Seat open on 23!" a dealer shouted, revealing that ElkY had at least out-lasted Dan Menashe on a neighbouring table.

Then ElkY saw two more cards and watched Parra open to 1,400 from under the gun. ElkY, in the small blind, shipped for 3,100 total and Parra called. P

This was it then. And it was a race for ElkY's tournament life. Our hero had 3♥3♠ and Parra had K♥J♦. Then the 3♦ landed on the flop and ElkY was good for a double.

"He's back," Darren Rabinowitz, in Seat 1, said. ElkY chuckled and "stacked" 7,500 chips.

That's when the vulture drifted away. The prey wasn't quite dead yet. And one hour later, he was still there with about 8,000 chips. He got them in too, with A♣T♦ against an opponent's A♥T♣. They chopped it up.

Make no mistake, it's still a very long way back for the Team Pro. But he's not yielding to the inevitable just yet.

WSOP photos by