Land and Internet poker pro Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier bested a stellar field of 368 entrants to win the WPT Festa del Lago tournament at the Belaggio last week. Entrants paid an expensive $15 000 buy-in for the event, which generated a record prize pool in excess of 5.3 million, ensuring that six figure payouts extended as far as the eighth position at the final table, and that even contestants in the 41st-50th placving band received $21 315.
On the Tuesday alone there were 45 previous World Poker Tour winners at the felt including Erick Lindgren, Michael Mizrachi, Roland de Wolfe, Barry Greenstein, Scott Clements, David Chiu and Mike Watson. Causing something of a stir was Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps, who is interested in the game and mixed with entrants but did not participate in the tournament.
It was all Grospellier at the final table, with this talented player starting with a significant chip lead double that of his opponents and using it to steadily and aggressively eliminate everyone at the table until he faced Nam Le in the heads up with a 15 to 1 advantage, ensuring a swift end to the contest.
Grospellier took home the honours and a massive $1 411 015 paycheck, leaving Nam Le with a second placing payday of $943 215.
Grospellier became just the third person ever to score WPT and European Poker Tour titles, according to PT officials. Gavin Griffin, a World Series of Poker bracelet holder, took down the Borgata Poker Classic during Season VI of the WPT and the 2007 EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final. Roland de Wolfe won the EPT Dublin stop in 2006 and the WPT Grand Prix de Paris during Season IV. Griffin is the only one of the three to have a World Series of Poker title.
The Foxwoods World Poker Finals, with a main event that kicks off on November 5th and runs until the 11th, is the next WPT stop.
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