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Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier Reflects on PokerStars' Upcoming Tournament One Billion

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier

The “Tournament One Billion” on PokerStars is just around the corner. The $109 buy-in tournament, which features a $2 million guarantee and offer an extra $200,000 in cash and prizes, will take place on Sunday, Nov. 30 at 13:00 ET.

That historic event is the capstone of PokerStars’ planned Billionth Tournament Carnival, which will run from Nov. 17-30 and include Golden Sit & Gos featuring a $500,000 giveaway from Nov. 17-23; the Daily Bigs, which offers more than $2 million in increased guarantees and over $100,000 in added cash and prizes, from Nov. 24-30; and the Hot Turbos during the same period, which offers more than $1 million in increased guarantees and over $100,000 in added cash and prizes.

In the weeks leading up to Tournament One Billion, PokerNews has talked to some online poker heavyweights about the upcoming landmark. We previously spoke to George “Jorj95” Lind of Team PokerStars Pro Online, which you can read by clicking here, and a few days back we caught up with Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz, who won the 2014 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event back in September for $1.3 million. You can read his interview by clicking here.

Most recently, we sat down with France’s Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier to see just how excited the Team PokerStars Pro is for Tournament One Billion.

PokerNews: In late November, PokerStars will celebrate its one billionth tournament, which is a crazy number. Are you excited about it? Can we expect you to play?

Grospellier: It is a crazy number indeed. I really hope I can play, but I might have commitments in France and with the new legislation I couldn't play it from there. So fingers crossed.

This may be tough, but can you remember the first tournament you played on PokerStars?

I think one of the earliest one was a $30 limit hold'em tournament, and I’d never played limit hold’em before. I obviously managed to win it anyways for about $1,000 (laughs).

This isn’t an easy question, but if you had to put a number on it, how many online tournaments would you guess you’ve played on PokerStars?

That’s a tough one. I would guess a bit over 20,000. Might be way off though. I would like to know the real number, if possible.

You used to play $5,000 heads-up sit-n-gos regularly. When you get the chance to play nowadays, what’s your game of choice and why?

Unfortunately, I don't have as much time as before to play online poker, so my favorite game besides tournaments is now Zoom, because it's very fast paced, always running and easy with timing.

You have multiple World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) titles. Do you have a favorite?

I have two WCOOP titles, but the first one I won in a $500 one rebuy/one add-on is still my favorite to this day. It will be until I win a main event I guess.

Between the WCOOP titles and becoming PokerStars first Super Nova Elite (SNE), not to mention all the rest of your accomplishment, what are you most proud of and why?

They are all really great, but I think being the first SNE is probably the one I am the most proud about, just because it's something that will forever mark PokerStars history, and also because the conditions were really against me at the time as I was traveling a lot to play different EPTs while my main competitors could grind 24/7 at home, and thus had a huge edge on me.

Is it fair to say PokerStars has changed your life?

Of course PokerStars changed my life. When my friend Daniel Lykins told me to create an account back in September 2003 I had no idea it would change it to such a degree. I fell in love with the game, and eventually got good at it, having the honor to join team PokerStars in June 2006, which seems such a long time ago, but it's still a very vivid memory in my mind. I've been very proud to represent the best poker site in the world all this time, and it gave me the opportunity to discover the world.

Can you take us through a normal day in your life? What’s it like to be Bertrand Grospellier and play online?

Nowadays, I don't play online as much as before because of all the live tournaments I’m attending and the traveling. However, I make it a point to be ready and back to the grind mode when WCOOP and SCOOP come around. At the time, I will usually wake up, meditate, have a light breakfast, go to gym, shower and be ready for a 12-plus hour session of poker.

You set a Guinness World Record for most single-table SNGs played in an hour — 62 $6.05 buy-in with a profit of $23.60. How difficult was that and do you have plans for future world records or challenges?

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier Reflects on PokerStars' Upcoming Tournament One Billion 101
Grospellier in action.

It was much tougher than I ever expected because I didn't use any software that could help me in regards to playing that many tables (up to 36 at the same time), so positioning them by myself wasn't that easy, and also when it started to be short-handed everywhere I ended up timing out on some of them as they were turbo SnGs.

The challenge made it all the more rewarding. At this moment I don't have another world record plan, maybe if someone beats my record I’ll think about it.

You’ve accomplished so much on PokerStars. How do you keep yourself motivated?

When you love the game of poker it's very easy to stay motivated, especially when you are a competitor as I am. It is such an incredible challenge to beat variance and stay on top of the game as time goes by.

Do you still have a passion for poker? What are your upcoming plans as far as poker is concerned?

Poker is such a great game with ever-changing dynamics and trends. However, it's hard to make plans or goals because of the variance. That said, being the first man to win two EPTs titles is definitely my biggest goal at the moment.

For more information on the Billionth Tournament Carnival, visit

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