In 2009, France's Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier went after a world sit-and-go record during the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.
The goal: To play as many SnGs as possible within 60 minutes while remaining profitable.
In the first part of a new series on the Greatest Online Poker Challenges attempted we'll break down ElkY's World Record and see how it made it into the record books.
The Mission: Play maximum number of SnGs, make a profit
Record Holder: Bertrand Grospellier (FRA)
Date: April 28th, 2009
Rules of the Challenge
Elky had 60 minutes to open as many SnG tournaments as possible. All the tournaments were turbo SnGs with a $6.50 buy-in.
After 60 minutes ElkY was allowed to finish the tournaments that had already started. There would only be a valid record if ElkY was able to finish with a profit.
There were no requirements about the amount of profit. $0.01 would have been enough.
The Challenge in Numbers:
- SnGs played: 62
- Money invested: $403
- Return on investment (ROI): 5.9%
- Profit after 32 SnGs: $25
- Profit after 40 SnGs: $37
- Profit after 57 SnGs: $12
- Profit after 62 SnGs: $23.90
It was the PokerStars pros themselves who urged their sponsor to carry out this promotion during the 2009 EPT Grand Final, and they hand-picked Bertrand Grospellier to do it.
ElkY himself seemed a little intimidated by the challenge. The former Starcraft professional was used to making up to 200 decisions per minute but even he wasn’t willing to bet on himself.
Fellow team pro George Danzer offered to bet $10,000 on ElkY losing the challenge but ElkY refused to take it.
Grospellier had four 24“ monitors at his disposal -- enough to play 36 tables simultaneously. Still he couldn't keep pace and started timing out on several tables during the most intense phase of the challenge.
It turned out the real challenge for the French pro was to figure out how many tables he could play while still winning at least a minimum of money.
Former WSOP Main Event final tablist Hevad "RainKhan" Khan – a multi-tabling expert himself – was railing the event and commented:
"When Elky had all these tables open, you could feel he was taking decisions a little rash. Towards the end, when he had less tables to play, he was taking significantly more profitable decisions.
"Although he managed to end the challenge with a profit, he could have done it much easier by playing less tables.“
Kahn’s own record for SnGs within an hour was 43. He had been playing that kind of frequency every day for three years straight.
"With more tables, the risk would have been too big to lose money," said Khan. "But this challenge wasn’t really about money.“
At the end of the challenge, ElkY had played 62 $6.50 SnGs and invested $403. His final profit was $23.90.
Real-Life Takeaway: It's Profit That Matters
If ElkY hadn’t won the very last SnG for $27 he would have actually lost the challenge and his world record would not have been valid.
Thanks to his rakeback contract as a team pro – he received 100%, equal to 50 cents per tournament – he actually made more money on rakeback than through the challenge - $31.
As a recreational player, don't try this overkill experiment at home. You need to find your own comfort zone of the number of tables you can still play profitably.
It's not the number of tables that's the most important thing - it's maximum profit.
Here's' ElkY and Hevad Khan as they talk about the challenge in its aftermath: