New kings of Bellagio take over WPT Championship

Bertrand Grospellier
Bertrand Grospellier in contention for the Bellagio crown.

As Day 2 wore on at the WPT Championship Monday, two men emerged not only as chip leaders, but as new kings of the vaunted Bellagio itself.

Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier took the Bellagio throne by storm, using his uber-aggressive style to take home the WPT Festa al Lago title earlier this season.

Today, the rhinestone-clad Frenchman wasted little time picking up where he left off this past October, bullying his way to a spot near the top of the leader board heading into Day 3.

ElkY told PokerListings he feels right at home here.

"I love everything about the Bellagio," he said. "The structure is crazy. You get so many chips and that really fits my style well because I can take my time to make moves and wait for good spots.

"In other events you just have to go all in so fast, you don't have time to get the information and here, when you are so deep, people make huge mistakes and I can take advantage."

While Grospellier had a rather big day, it was almost eclipsed by the very same man who finished runner-up the last time the World Poker Tour was here at Bellagio.

Justin Young
Young emperor.

North Carolina's Justin Young started playing cash games here when he moved to Las Vegas two years ago.

He recently began focusing on tournament poker and the results, especially here at Bellagio, have been staggering.

Young final tabled a handful of prelims at both Festa al Lago and the Five Diamond the past two years before finishing second to David "Chino" Rheem at the Five Diamond Main Event this past December.

Today he grabbed the chip lead early, held it for the most of the day and told PokerListings Bellagio feels like a second home to him as well.

"It's a little of everything," he said. "I know all the dealers, I know all the waitresses, the masseuses and everything, but it's also the structure as well. They give you a lot of chips, so it kind of plays like a cash game for a good long time.

"I'm basically playing it like a cash game it until everybody has like 100 big blinds and then I'll play tournament style."

While players started with just 45,000 chips at Festa al Lago, ElkY said that still dwarfed any tournament he's found outside of Bellagio.

Bertrand Grospellier
Festa King.

Add in the comfortable atmosphere provided by one of Las Vegas' most decadent hotel and casinos and the Bellagio has emerged as his favorite place to play.

"I like playing here for sure," he said. "I like it much better than playing the World Series where it's so cold and I definitely like playing just eight hours a day as well.

"When you play for 12 to 14 hours, I'm in good shape, but it's always easy to make mistakes when you play longer. Here I can really take my time I don't have to rush anything."

As for Young, he's just going to keep playing his cash-game style until somebody, or something, forces him to change.

"I was actually surprised to see some of the other big-time cash-game players skip the event, because with 100,000 chips you can play cash-game style for like two and a half days without much worry at all," he said.

Among the chip leaders as Day 2 came to a close, Young is hoping that style will help him get over the hump this time around and he can truly be called a king of Bellagio and a WPT champion.

"It's all I want," he said. "I'm not greedy, just one spot better."

PokerListings coverage of the WPT Championship continues from Bellagio on Day 3 starting at 12 p.m. PT on our Live Tournaments page.

Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick

Latest Blogs »