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ElkY slays Dragon to win PCA
David "The Dragon" Pham may have been the 2007 Player of the Year, but he fell just short of picking up another title to keep his momentum going into the New Year. Instead it was Frenchman Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier who outlasted the competition to take down the crown at the PokerStars.com Caribbean Adventure, the first major title of the 2008 tournament schedule.
Pham entered the eight-handed final table with a commanding chip lead, holding better than a 2-to-1 advantage over Grospellier. However, it was ElkY who struck the first blow at the final table, winning a big race with A-K against Ricky Fohrenbach's J-J to send the Boston College student home in eighth place.
Grospellier then built on his momentum when he doubled through Pham in a battle of the blinds.
ElkY's 10-7 made a straight to top Pham's 9-4 for two pair, give the Frenchman a chip lead he would never relinquish. The final table quickly turned into The ElkY Show and the other players seemed powerless to stop Grospellier.
First Grospellier eliminated Christian Harder in seventh place with J-J to Harder's 7-7. Then he sent Joseph "Big Egypt" Elpayaa home in sixth place when his A-Q held up against Elpayaa's K-J.
The Dragon showed he wasn't going without a fight when he took down professional sports bettor Craig Hopkins in fifth place. Pham called Hopkins' all-in bet with a pair of tens and dodged all the bullets Hopkins' K-8 could muster.
With only four players left, Grospellier used his stack to push his remaining opponents around. He finally took Pham out in fourth place when his nut flush draw came home on the river to top Pham's two pair, setting himself up for the stretch run.
Three-handed play ended on the next blind level when Hafiz Khan's A-J held up against Kris Kuykendall's K-Q. Kuykendall took home 3rd place honors and the heads-up match was set.
Only two key hands would transpire between Khan and Grospellier. In the first, ElkY flopped trip aces with A-7 to take a $16-million-to-$6-million chip lead. In the other, Khan moved all-in with 9-3 and Grospellier called with 8-8. The pair held up and ElkY was crowned champion.
Grospellier officially claimed $2,000,000 for his finish, while Khan took home $1,094,976. However, the two players agreed during their heads-up match to a chop that sent Grospellier home with $1.75 million and Khan with $1.35 million.
All of the action was recorded in the Live Tournaments Section by PokerListings.com's aces in the hole, Owen Laukkanen and Matthew Showell.