The best ever French, and one of the most charismatic poker players in the circuit is a natural-born talent and an asset for poker worldwide. Bertrand Grospellier, aka ElkY, is the star of this piece of ours dedicated to the best poker players in the world.
Where did all started…
Born on 8 February 1981 (Happy Birthday!) in Melun (France), ElkY is now a resident of Prague (the Czech Republic). Bertrand first started in strategy gaming, playing for instance StarCraft: Brood War and Warcraft III. In December 2001, he moved to South Korea, a country where video gaming is something that really matters. Here, he started his professional career. Very quickly, ElkY became one of the best players in the world, ranking 2nd in 2001 and 4th the next year in the World Cyber Games. And in 2003 he won it! He became very popular in this country, with fans still praising him on Starcraft websites. Here he also launched his rebel look, with his hair dyed in yellow and his Oakley glasses. ElkY is still quite attached of the Korean culture and cuisine, even if it was poker that drove him away of this country.
From Starcraft to Poker
In 2004, he got into poker, making use of the skills he acquired as Magic or Starcraft gamer. He spends hours and hours in front of the computer playing online (at least 12 hours a day and sometimes at 10-12 tables at the same time), putting his analytical mind and his ability to play at more tables at once at use, and this made him a player to be reckoned with in virtually no time. He is the first player to reach the Supernova (100,000 “player points”) and Supernova Elite (1 million) status. Pokerstars capitalized his popularity by including him in the Team Pokerstars. He even managed a Guiness Book world record for the most Sit&Go tables played in one hour: 62 tables with a $6.50 buy-in, and a profit of $23.60.
Records and outstanding results in live tournaments
Grospellier’s poker adventure started on 19 February 2005, in Deauville (first season). He finished 9th in the tournament, with EUR 500 buy-ins, and made a profit of EUR 2,000. In early 2007, we see him finishing second in the Copenhagen EPT, winning close to $400,000, and the respect of the poker community. In early 2008, he played that year’s PCA in the Paradise Island (the Bahamas), and won $2,000,000, out-taking Hafiz Khan. That was a year of constant and solid improvement marked by him winning also of a WPT Championship in Festa Al Lago, Las Vegas. The prize: more than $1.4 million.
Next year, he came back to the Bahamas for the 2009 PCA and won the high-roller event defeating 47 players who all paid the $25,000 buy-in. This year, he played a number of events with high buy-ins, in particular high-rollers. In 2010, he participated in more live events of the European Poker Tour (EPT) series: Deauville, San Remo, Copenhagen, Monte Carlo, or Barcelona. His results were good, but not outstanding…
2011, though, was a year to dream about. Season 7 of the EPT landed in Madrid, and ElkY was the sensation of two high-rollers, winning both tournaments: the main event, and the Turbo one, cashing in a total of EUR 678,000. In June, he fulfilled his dream and won the only WSOP of his career so far, in the $10,000 Seven Card Stud Championship. Next year, he won another EPT title in Berlin, defeating a final table of the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em – 8 Max Re-Entry tournament with players such as Viktor Blom or Marvin Rettenmaier. In 2017, he went to the WSOP and played in the famous $ 111,111 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller for One Drop tournament, which he finished as the runner-up of Doug Polk. As many as 130 players played in this tournament, putting together a prize pool of $13,722,150! Grospellier won $2,278,657 in this tournament. This is his highest ever gain in a tournament and his best results in live competitions.
He is among the very few players who made the Triple Crown winning a World Poker Tour tournament, a World Series of Poker bracelet, and a European Poker Tour title. He is the third ever player in the world to achieve such an outstanding performance.
Last year, his collaboration with Pokerstars came to an end and he wanted to pursue a new chapter in his life.
Some things you didn’t know about Elky:
- He has a 10-year older brother with whom he first started playing computer games
- ElkY is his gaming nickname, and as Koreans found it very difficult to say his name properly, he took along this nickname also to the poker world
- He is currently a member of Team Liquid, a professional esports team
- He is fluent in French, English and Korean
- He likes to jog, hang out with his girlfriend, watch TV and obviously play video games
Career figures of Bertrand Grospellier (ElkY):
- He won a total of 11 titles
- He entered the places paid 150 times in live tournaments
- He won close to $13,300,000 in live poker tournaments
- He sat on 7 WSOP, 3 EPT and 3 WPT final tables
- He is the 39th most prolific player in the world according to the money made in live tournaments. The top three players are Justin Bonomo (1st place), Daniel Negreanu (2nd place), and Erik Seidel (3rd place).