To achieve what has been dubbed poker's Triple Crown requires a player to win a tournament on the European Poker Tour, World Poker Tour, and at the World Series of Poker. The list of players to accomplish this feat is short, as the WPT was launched in 2002 and the EPT was created in 2004.
|Player||EPT Win||WPT Win||WSOP Win|
|Gavin Griffin||Grand Final (2007)||Borgata Winter Open (2008)||$3,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em (2004)|
|Roland de Wolfe||The Irish Masters (2006)||Grand Prix de Paris (2005)||$5,000 PLO Hi/Lo (2009)|
Several players were one leg away from joining this list, and over the course of the 2011 poker schedule, two of them made it happen.
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier
Ever since Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier's 2008 eruption onto the live tournament scene, the poker world was waiting for his WSOP breakout party. Unfortunately, with only five combined cashes at the 2009 and 2010 WSOPs and WSOPEs, Grospellier was unable to shine on the world's biggest poker stage.
However, that all changed this summer.
“ElkY” finally hit it big this summer at the WSOP, capturing a WSOP bracelet to go along with his January 2008 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (EPT) victory and his October 2008 Festa Al Lago (WPT) win. He was already among the best players to have never won a bracelet and it was only a matter of time before he did so. However, it was in what event he won his bracelet that many find most impressive.
Grospellier raised a few eyebrows in the event he played immediately before his bracelet win. It was the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Draw Lowball World Championship and with an 11th-place showing, Grospellier notched his first live non-hold'em cash on record. On the heels of that result, Grospellier entered the $10,000 Seven-Card Stud World Championship. What happened from there? He defeated a top-notch field of 126 players to earn his first bracelet. Here was his day-by-day path leading to the final table.
|Starting Field||Day 1 Result||Day 2 Result||Final Table Standing to Start|
|126||25 of 87||3 of 14||3 of 8|
Although Grospellier scored only one elimination at the final table, it was the one that counted. To even be in position to do so was quite the achievement, one that he will no doubt always remember. He began heads-up play against Steve Landfish at a modest 1.5:1 chip disadvantage, but Landfish had the upper hand for the beginning portion of the heads-up duel and increased to a whopping 24:1 chip lead at one point. However, a resilient and determined Grospellier stormed back to join the short list of Triple Crown winners.
Lynn Gilmartin caught up with "ElkY" following his win:
In January 2010, Jake Cody burst onto the live poker scene when he won the Main Event at EPT Deauville. For being an unknown at the time, Cody defeated a very skilled final table that included Mike "Timex" McDonald, Craig Bergeron, Peter Eastgate, and Grospellier (who bubbled in ninth place). Later that year, Cody won WPT London in his home country to quickly close in on claiming the Triple Crown. At the 2011 WSOP, he wasted little time doing so, winning the $25,000 No-Limit Hold'em Heads-Up Championship, which began on the first day of the Series. Here was his path to capturing the bracelet:
|Round of 128||Brandon Adams|
|Round of 64||Frank Kassela|
|Round of 32||Dani Stern|
|Sweet Sixteen||Jonathan Jaffe|
|Elite Eight||Anthony Guetti|
|Final Four||Gus Hansen|
Facing Gus Hansen in the final four, Cody captivated the audience with a dominating performance against "The Great Dane." Each player began the match with 800,000 in chips on the table, along with two 800,000-chip add-on bullets behind. Cody worked Hansen's stack down before each Hansen reload. It took less than two hours for Cody to take Hansen's entire 2.4 million.
|Cody||Hansen||Board Ran Out||Hansen Add-Ons Remaining|
His match against Yevgeniy Timoshenko in the finals didn't go quite as quick, but three hours was all Cody needed. Each player began the match with 1.6 million in chips on the table with two add-ons behind. Once again, Cody didn't need more than his starting stack to to claim victory.
|Cody||Timoshenko||Board Ran Out||Timoshenko Add-Ons Remaining|
Here is Lynn Gilmartin with Jake Cody after his victory: