Grospellier Wins Second Career Bracelet

Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier has won his second career bracelet in Event #15: €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em, the final event of WSOPE in Rozvadov, Czech Republic. The win left Grospellier to take home the top prize of €190,375 after beating Avraham Dayan in heads-up play.

Three stacks of poker chips.

Grospellier admitted he needed some lucky hands in order to make it to his second career bracelet. ©Steve Benedict /

The final tournament of the WSOPE series was a big one. Event #15: €550 Colossus No-Limit Hold’em attracted 2,738 entries and had a prize pool of €1,300,550. The size of the competition meant that it began with nine starting flights on the first day of play.

After the initial flights, only 313 players bagged up chips and went on to play in day two of the tournament. Every player who made it through to the second day of play secured a payout, as the bubble was placed at the 397th place, meaning 396 players got paid.

After the second day, only 11 players remained to battle it out for the final WSOP bracelet of the WSOPE series, which has taken place over the previous two weeks at King’s Resort, in Rozvadov, Czech Republic.

Grospellier’s heads-up opponent, Avraham Dayan, was looking to follow in the footsteps of his fellow countryman Tamir Segal. Segal finished top of a field of 2,992 entries a year ago to take home his first WSOP gold bracelet. Dayan, who hails from Israel, had never recorded a cash-in live poker before his runner-up finish in this event, so his maiden pay-day of €117,630 is a good place to start.

Grospellier was once a top-ranked player in games such as StarCraft and WarCraft III but has since taken the top spot in the all-time money list for French players, having taken home over $14 million in winnings from poker. He has, with this win, becoming only the second Frenchman to win a second bracelet.

“It means a lot because it is so hard to get one. The first one I got after fix or six years of playing the World Series but that was eight years ago. It’s also special because it comes in such a huge field where it is much harder to win. If there are 2,700 entries in the field, you have to be lucky at some point to win. Of course, you also have to play well but it is such a rare opportunity. I was two cards away from busting in fifth and now I am first,”

“I am so happy that you won, that really makes my day” Leon Tsoukernik, the owner of the casino and an accomplished poker player in his own right, congratulated Grospellier after his win. The two are firm friends, and Grospellier will be attending Tsoukernik’s birthday party in Prague in the coming days as a celebration. Following this Grospellier has a trip to Paris planned to watch the League of Legends world final, followed by the Carribean Poker Party in the Bahamas.

Deeb Can’t Run Deep

The big story heading into the final WSOP event of the year was the race for the 2019 WSOP Player of the Year award. Shaun Deeb entered the final day of play, third place in chips and needed at least a fifth-place finish to pip Player of the Year leader Daniel Negreanu to the post.

“I was a huge underdog throughout the whole series and today was the first day I was a legit favorite,” Deeb said after the tournament. He admitted that this additional pressure affected his game and may have contributed to him eventually finishing 11th in the competition.

Deeb stated that he did not want to fold his way to fifth place, and so played aggressively on the final day, however, this tactic left him heading to the rail after just 15 minutes of play.

It took three hands for Deeb’s aggression to backfire. Firstly, he gave Alessandro Pelozzi a double up blind versus blind. Shaun Deeb moved all-in from the big blind with king-nine after Pelozzi had limped in from the small. Pelozzi called with ace-five and hit triple fives on the flop, which won him the pot and secured him a double up in one of the first hands of the day.

Deeb then lost out to Grospellier. When he check-jammed against a straight which the eventual winner of the tournament had hit on the flop.

“We started five-handed and you have to take some risks, the variance is always high in those spots,” Grospellier said when asked about the critical hand against Deeb.

“He limps the small blind and I have jack-eight suited in the big blind. It is an easy check-back especially when you consider the stack sizes. I don’t think he traps that much but there is no point in raising and playing a big pot against him.” Grospellier said.

Grospellier hit the second nut straight on the flop and he was in dreamland when Deeb bet and called the Frenchman’s raise.

“That was pretty much a dream. Now he leads and I make it 800k. I could slow play, but I think it is the best flop not to. The turn is an off-suit ten and pretty irrelevant, I don’t think he has queens or nines. He can have nine-ten or queen-ten, I guess, but he is probably just raising those most of the time.”

Grospellier raised big on the turn, meaning Deeb got his stack in the middle.

“He tanks for a while and shoves for like 2.3 million more, so I have to snap because it is super-committed. I was surprised he turned over jack-nine actually, it is a really high variance play. The river was a blank and I won a huge pot,” Grospellier said after the tournament.

Grospellier’s Win

After Deeb’s elimination, Pasquale Braco lost a flip with ace-king against the queens of Dieter Becker, which eliminated Braco. This meant the remaining nine players sat on the final table of the tournament.

The eliminations came thick and fast, to begin with on the final table. Francesco Candelari and Alessandro Pelozzi were the next two players to be sent to the rail. Sergii Karpov followed suit to leave the tournament with just six players in contention.

There was only one elimination in the next two hours, with Christoph Peper succumbing to Mick Heder. At this point, Grospellier was short-stacked and needed a double. He achieved this with a stroke of luck against Dieter Becker.

“It was quite tough because I lost a lot of pots early, the blinds go up pretty quick and it is not forgiving. I shoved jack-ten for eight blinds and the small blind had ace-king. I won that hand and after that, I won ace-king against king-jack off the same guy.” Grospellier said about the double he got to get back in contention.

Becker went from the chip lead to fifth place after he clashed with Grospellier and under 15 minutes later the heads-up duel began.

Mick Heder lost ace-nine to ace-eight which was held by Grospellier and just moments later Marian Kubis called Grospellier’s shove with ace-six. Grospellier held ace-jack however and Kubis was sent to the rail.

The heads-up duel took just over an hour and a half. Dayan was not able to close the gap between him and Grospellier and finally called a four-bet-shove in the final hand. Dayan held ace-ten suited but was shown a pair of tens when Grospellier turned over his cards. Dayan had the hope of a gutshot straight after the turn, but the final card was a brick and sent him to the rail in second place.

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Poker hand consisting of a royal flush.

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