– General Information –
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is a French professional poker player and former professional eSports player. He was born on February 8th, 1981 in Melun, France.
As an eSports player, he played the games StarCraft and Warcraft III professionally. He turned to professional poker in 2005.
Grospellier honed his skill in the high stakes cash tables on PokerStars, playing under his iconic screen name “ElkY”. He often battled heads-up with Doug “WCGRider” Polk.
ElkY went on to see great success in the live tournament scene as well. He’s cashed for over $14.5 million during his career. Even more impressively, he won a WSOP, a WPT and an EPT title. Having victories in all 3 major live tournament series is called “Triple Crown” in the poker world. ElkY is one of the 9 players to achieve that trifecta of live poker success in poker history.
He also has a Twitch channel with over 50,000 followers.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2005: He starts playing high stakes games on PokerStars at a high volume.
- 2008: He wins the $8,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $2 million. Since that year the PCA was held under the European Poker Tour brand, it counts as an EPT title.
- 2008: He wins a $15,000 WPT championship event for $1,411,015.
- 2011: He wins his first WSOP gold bracelet. He finishes first in the $10,000 7-Card Stud championship for $331,639. Thus he completes the “Triple Crown”, meaning he takes down a WSOP, an EPT and a WPT title in his career.
- 2017: He comes in second in the $111,111 Big One for One Drop high roller event at the WSOP for $2.279 million. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
- 2019: He wins the WSOPE €550 No Limit Hold’em – The Colossus for $211,000
- 2019: Runner-up in the €50,000 EPT Super High Roller for $554,991
- 2020: Runner-up in the partypoker $1,100 MILLIONS Mini for $93,000
– Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
In the early 2000’s, Grospellier was a professional StarCraft and Warcraft III player. He lived in South Korea where, according to the man himself, he was quite famous as an eSports figure.
In 2004, one of his Korean friends introduced him to online poker. He made an account with his eSports nickname, “ElkY” on PokerStars. He started grinding and got to the high stakes tables within a year. Eventually, he shifted his focus completely away from eSports and became a full-time poker player.
However, his eSports roots have followed him into his poker career. In September 2017, he was asked in an interview by Cardplayer Lifestyle Blog if he thinks many eSports players are turning to poker.
He answered as such, highlighting the similarities between the two fields:
“Yes, there are a lot. There are a lot who have made the transition because there are a lot of skills that are similar between the two of them such as game analysis, competition, and deliberate action. The presence of game theory means a lot of eSports players also play poker.”
Grospellier even returned briefly to eSports as a Hearthstone player in 2015.
→ Live Tournaments ←
ElkY was one of those players who could afford to start their journey at the live felt at high buy-in events. He’d been successful at both eSports and online poker by the time he started competing in live poker tournaments around the world. Thus he didn’t have to grind in small events to build up his bankroll.
The first result on his Hendon page is from February 2005 – he came in 9th in a €500 event for €2,000 in Deauville. The next year, he was playing in mid-to high stakes events around the world.
The first time he made a cash over $100,000 was in January 2007. He bought in for the DKR37,500 No Limit Hold’em event at the EPT in Copenhagen and finished 2nd. He got DKR2,308,608 for that result, which at the time equaled to $399,952.
His big breakthrough came in 2008.
He started the year by taking down the $8,000 NLHE event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, winning $2 million. Even though that tournament was played in the Bahamas, it was held under the European Poker Tour brand. This will be important for Grospellier’s famous “Triple Crown” we mentioned in our intro.
In October of the same year, he also triumphed in a $15,000 WPT championship event at Bellagio. That time he was rewarded with no less than $1,411,015.
He also has a 3rd place finish for $776,245 from the $25K No Limit Hold’em championship event at the 2009 Five Star World Poker Classic.
In April 2012, he came in 3rd in the €100K EPT Super High Roller in Monte Carlo for €621,000.
ElkY went on to deliver a number of other major live tournament scores.
Overall, Grospellier has cashed for $14.6 million in 146 events worldwide during his career, according to his Hendon page.
→ World Series Of Poker ←
In 2011, Grospellier won the $10,000 WSOP 7-Card Stud event for $331,639. Thus he completed his “Triple Crown”, meaning he has a title from the WSOP, the EPT and the WPT series as well. He’s one of the 9 players in poker history to achieve that.
The same year, he finished 3rd in the $10,000 NLHE 6-Handed event for $447,074.
The biggest tournament score of his career comes from the 2017 WSOP. He finished second in the $111,111 Big One for One Drop high roller event for no less than $2,278,657. He lost the heads-up battle for the title to Doug Polk, who he often played heads-up at PokerStars’ high stakes cash tables a few years before.
In 2019, he also won the €550 Colossus event at the European leg of the World Series. He earned €191,172 for beating that gigantic, 2,738-player field.
Overall, Grospellier has cashed for a combined $3.679 million in 38 different World Series events.
→ Live Cash Games ←
ElkY appeared on GSN’s classic poker TV show High Stakes Poker. There, he played high stakes NLHE cash games against some of the biggest legends of the game, such as Doyle Brunson and Tom Dwan.
→ Online Poker ←
Bertrand Grospellier’s screen name, ElkY, is one of the most recognizable names in online poker.
He has cashed for over $2 million in online MTT’s on that account on PokerStars. He has won two WCOOP (World Championship of Online Poker) titles, both in 2009 – he took down the $530 NLHE event and the $215 NLHE event for $232,730 and $263,323, respectively. He also won a $25K SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) heads-up tournament for $112,500 in 2011.
Despite being famous for playing high stakes heads-up cash game matches online, the online cash game database only has a mere 162 hands tracked on the ElkY PS account. In that tiny sample, he’s up a little over $10,000, mostly playing No Limit Hold’em.
→ Sponsorships ←
ElkY had been a PokerStars pro for 11,5 years when he left in early 2018 and shortly after announced his partnership with partypoker.
The collaboration took two years when ElkY again announced in April 2020 that he will from now on represent GGPoker.
→ Scandals ←
His kickbox match against Lex Veldhuis
In November 2011, Grospellier had a kickboxing bout against fellow poker player and Twitch streamer, the Dutch Lex Veldhuis.
The two are actually close friends. Just like Grospellier, Veldhuis also started off as a StarCraft player. It was the Frenchman who introduced Veldhuis to online poker, he even deposited the first $10 on Veldhuis’ account.
In 2009, during EPT Barcelona, the two friends were messing around with each other. Veldhuis challenged Grospellier to a kickboxing match after they discussed each other’s fighting skills.
It took two years for the bout to actually become a reality. It took place in Marbella, Spain.
Veldhuis ended the match with a knockout in the second round by kicking the humbled Grospellier in the head a couple of times.