Five hours and a little bit of change later, he walked out of the Bellagio $1.4 million richer and the newest World Poker Tour champ.
When things got going just after 4 p.m. in Vegas, Adam "Roothlus" Levy was the short stack. But by virtue of one blind-stealing shove from Roothlus in the first few hands, William Mietz became the bottom dweller.
Just a few hands later, he was out sixth after shoving with K♦ T♥ on a raggedy board and allowing Grospellier to prove, once again, he's always ready to make a big call. This time he did it with just A♣ T♣ and although ElkY had no pair, he was able to collect the last of Mietz' chips with ace-high.
Levy then left the building fifth when he shipped it with A♣ 9♥ facing another one of Grospellier's avalanche of opening raises. It was an easy call for ElkY this time and his queens turned a set to send the Internet's biggest nit back to the virtual world.
Successfully fading the one-over put Grospellier in the driver seat with more than twice the chips of the other three players combined, and it became clear right away that those who thought he was opening a lot of pots before hadn't seen anything yet. ElkY put his foot on the gas right away, putting on a display of big-stack poker that had the rest of the group cowering in fear.
Chipped away at from the outset as ElkY continued to grab pot after pot, WPT and WSOP title holder Nenad Medic was left short-stacked when he finally picked up a hand worth playing. It was sixes, and he shoved from the button only to have Grospellier call with two broadway cards.
ElkY hit a jack, Nenad hit the bricks fourth and the Frenchman's big stack looked even bigger three-handed.
With the blinds so astronomically high, the tournament took on a turbo sit-and-go feel at that point, with Nam Le, Osmin "Oddie" Dardon and Grospellier all in push-or-fold mode.
Considering the former StarCraft pro's chip stack, and his willingness to gamble, it was either going to be over quickly, or Grospellier was going to get himself into trouble.
Doubling both Le and Oddie up right away didn't help matters for ElkY and when Dardon grabbed some confidence and a few pots, he was suddenly a threat.
Oddie actually grabbed the lead slow-playing a flopped pair of aces and getting paid off by ElkY, but it only lasted a hand or two. ElkY struck back, outdrawing Dardon for a $2 million pot to jump back into top spot, then went back to the old plan of relentless aggression to build on that lead.
At this point Nam Le stayed out of most of the action as the other two took turns stealing his blinds, and it looked like he was ready to go out third when Dardon responded to yet another ElkY open with a reraise.
Grospellier shipped it, Dardon called and his A♠ J♣ had the Team PokerStars pro's T♣ 2♣ absolutely crushed. We've said it before and we'll say it again: you've got to be lucky to be good, and Bertrand Grospellier is one of the best.
He flopped a deuce, and although Dardon picked up the nut-flush draw to go with his two overs, the turn and river bricked out and the party at the lake went heads-up.
The dollars were dumped on the table and Nam Le and Bertrand Grospellier sat down to play a heads-up match that looked over before it started, with ElkY on $15 million in chips to Nam's $1 million. However, as tight as he is, Nam has a knack for picking up big hands when he needs them the most.
Le doubled on the first hand with a big ace against ElkY's bad queen. Le doubled again on the second hand when his deuces faded Grospellier's 6♣ 3♣, but a third time was not in the cards.
Nam picked up A♦ Q♥ and after a series of raises, was all-in again. This time ElkY had pocket tens, and although the crowed pleaded for an ace, he flopped a set. Nam had outs to a chop it on the end, but that didn't happen, and Festa al Lago was over.
Le's counterstrategy to all the aggression in the game today had taken him all the way to second place and a $943,215 payday, but the big bully on the block got the best of it this time as Grospellier knocked out all five TV final-table players on the way to the $1,411,015 first place prize and the glory of his first WPT title.
The Bellagio and the WPT run a great show and it's with a heavy heart and the inevitable light wallet that PL.com once again leaves Lost Wages for the tournament road.
We'll catch up with the WPT again at Foxwoods in about a week, but those looking for their poker fix a little sooner will find ElkY, a whole room full of Eurodonks and PL.com degen Matt Showell over in Budapest for the newest stop on the PokerStars European Poker Tour in just a couple of days.
Plus, our very own nit, Owen Laukkanen, is headed somewhere near Chicago for the WSOPC's first foray into that part of the U.S. starting Tuesday. Enjoy!