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ElkY Goes Home Again
With a total of 768 players entering PokerStars EPT Deauville, it appears poker is alive and well in France.
In fact, with 61 % of the field coming from within the country, including one of the best tournament players on the planet, one might even say French poker is on the rise.
“Deauville is a very good tournament to play, so I'm happy to be here,” said Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier. “It's always very special to be back here in France. I rarely get the chance to play poker here, so it's important and means a lot to me.”
While tournament entry numbers are on a downswing in North America, the 768 entries in Deauville are better than 100 more than 2008, pushing the prize pool up to €3,686,400.
When the event is all said and done, a total of 104 spots will get paid, including €847,000 for first – the only number Grospellier seems focussed on.
“My motivation is very strong to do good here in Deauville,” he said. “I really want to win and play well here in France.”
Although it paled in comparison to the $3,686,476 in live tournament earnings he garnered in 2008, last year was still a banner one for Grospellier.
He followed up his 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event win with a victory in the PCA’s $25k High Roller event.
Plus, adding a third-place finish at the $25k World Poker Tour Championship in Las Vegas to his 2008 WPT Festa Al Lago win helped him take home Season 7 WPT Player of the Year honors.
Now, returning to Deauville after a third-place finish in the €20,000 High Roller event in 2008, Grospellier has his sights set on some new goals.
“There are always reasons to get pumped,” Grospellier said. “I spoke with (fellow Team PokerStars France Pro) Arnaud Mattern about who will be the next one to win a second EPT or the first one to win a bracelet. I really want to win one.
“I also want to get my first place back in the EPT ranking since (Luca) Pagano has got it now. Even if he has deserved it, I really want to win it back. So that's a lot of challenges for this year.”
While he has both an EPT and WPT title, a World Series of Poker Bracelet still eludes Grospellier, however, pushing that to number one on his list of goals for 2010.
“Clearly the WSOP is the main thing missing now,” he said. “Of course, you can't control everything, but I'm certainly going to do my best to win one.”
For now though, Grospellier has a massive field on home soil to contend with, heading into Day 2 in Deauville among the 400-odd survivors from two day on heats.
"I want to have really good results here," he added.
- With files from Fred Guillemot