WSOP 2017: ElkY runner-up to Polk in High Roller for One Drop

It's almost become required of us to forget the player who finishes second. A cliché even. As Stu Ungar famously said, "show me a good loser and I'll show you a loser". But then, undoubted heroics aside, I always wondered if Mr Ungar might not have been the most empathetic opponent.

But in the World Series of Poker, where it's all about the bracelet, it's easy to discount the heroics of those who fall one step short. And regardless of whether we're contractually obliged on the Blog, one of those performances stood out overnight, alerting the editorial team to an all-nighter, and a performance we didn't want to miss.

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier led the final table of the $111,111 buy in High Roller for One Drop when play began yesterday, and almost took that lead on a wire to wire trip to a title. But for an outstanding performance by Doug Polk, ElkY might now have been clutching that second gold bracelet. Instead he took second, a disappointment to any player, obviously, but one ElkY accepted with humility and class.

We wrote last weekend of the "Ghost of ElkY's past". The Frenchman, who on appearances, with peroxide hair, gaming background and almost innate sparkle, would be better described as a citizen of the Galaxy, has been away from the business end of tournaments for a while. His last major win was back in 2012, an EPT Berlin High Roller. A year before that he won a Stud bracelet. Since then, little of the form (at the poker table at least) that typically turned heads.

But the signs of this renaissance had been there if you looked- the deep run in Macau, then in Monaco, and then another in Sochi only last week. And now runner up spot in one of the biggest events on this year's World Series of Poker schedule.

Now might be the time to look forward to a big summer from the Team Pro, tentatively at least. If we're right it will come with an additional bonus - his welcome return to centre stage for those of us who like to stay up all night watching him play.

Doug Polk Wins One Drop_2017 WSOP_EV06_Day 4_Amato_DA67977.jpgElkY shakes hands with Doug Polk

Just like the old days, which Stu Ungar used to know a thing or two about. And maybe he was right. Perhaps we shouldn't remember the runner up, instead ensuring the winner - in this case the supremely talented Doug Polk - rightfully gets the credit and the attention. But in this case we're prepared to make an exception.

Congratulations to Doug Polk on a well-deserved win, and to our man ElkY, for what was a close run thing.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley. What did you think about this post? Let us know on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog. WSOP photos courtesy

Source: poker stars

Weekend planner: Team Pros vie for WSOP gold

Daniel Negreanu_2017 World Series of Poker_EV02_Day 1_Furman_FUR7735.jpgDaniel Negreanu

The week may be done, but that doesn't mean the action is going to ease off. After a long week in Sochi and crowning the first PokerStars Championship winner there, we're turning our attention to the American desert and the gold mining that began this week.

Here's what to look for this weekend.


Daniel Negreanu has shaved his beard again. There is some cognitive discomfort associated with this that we'll never quite get over after seeing it for the first time of the year. Regardless, the baby-faced Kid Poker visage signals the beginning of the WSOP.

Eric Wasserson, Daniel Negreanu_2017 World Series of Poker_EV04_Day01_Abrego__AA08745.jpgWho is that slick-faced boy?

There is a reason for this. First off, he's copying what Jason Mercier did last year. Second...well, he's planning to not shave this summer until he wins a WSOP bracelet. He describes it below in his daily vlog.

Here's what's interesting...Negreanu may be shaving again very soon. Kid Poker put together a team of four for the $10,000 tag team event (knowing full well he intended to play most of the event himself, he stacked his team with people he drafted in the $25,000 Fantasy Draft).

And with six teams remaining in the event, Negreanu's team has a really good lead going into the final day. That is to say, Negreanu could have another gold bracelet before you wake up on Saturday. His team (including Eric Wasserson, Mark Gregorich, and David Benyamine) have nearly 1.5 million in chips...which is all well and good until you realize the competition is going to be ridiculously tough. That, is, you might notice that the attached-at-the-hip Liv Boeree and Igor Kurganov have also fielded a team and are sitting in third place.

Here's how they stand going into the final today.

Daniel Negreanu - Eric Wasserson - David Benyamine - Mark Gregorich -- 1,498,000
Anthony Ajlouny - David Fong - Mike McClain -- 932,000
Liv Boeree - Igor Kurganov -- 929,000
Ankush Mandavia - Joe Kuether -- 800,000
Martin Jacobson - Mark Radoja -- 632,000
Javier Gomez - Lander Lijo -- 287,000

Igor Kurganov_2017 World Series of Poker_EV04_Day01_Abrego__AA08659.jpgIgor Kurganov

Liv Boeree_2017 World Series Of Poker_EV02_Day2_Thomson_T1_2046.JPGLiv Boeree


While Babyface Negreanu and company will be the biggest news happening today in Las Vegas, there are still others to watch. A few Team PokerStars Pros are looking to add to their gold bracelet numbers. Barry Greenstein, Andre Akkari, and Aditya Agarwal all made it through their first table in the $3,000 Shootout event that started on Thursday. They'll pick back up today among the final fifty players left in contention.

Andre Akkari_2017 World Series of Poker_EV03_Day 1_Haereiti__H528580.jpgAndre Akkari

Barry Greenstein_2017 World Series of Poker_EV03_Day 1_Furman_8FU3386.jpgBarry Greenstein


Our team in Sochi has pulled up stakes, but they left behind a good bit of reading material to keep you busy until the WSOP starts commanding your full attention.

Catch up with all the Russian news in our PokerStars Championship Sochi section, and read about Pavel Shirshikov's victory in the Main Event.

pavel_shirshikov_fist_clench.jpgPavel Shirshikov


(Full disclosure: There are still no barnacles.)

All of the above should be enough to keep you busy for a couple of days, but if not, we still have more.

The Manila Megastack is kicking off right now, and we'll have full coverage of it right here.

Poker In the Ears picks up with Chris Moneymaker after his 15th place finish in the PSC Sochi Main Event. Beyond that, Joe Stapleton reveals the result of his #SCOOP2017 competition, Matt Broughton tries, and fails to recount a hand from a recent charity tournament, and James Hartigans appeals for a listener to take part in next week's podcast when the boys will be discussing the classic Paul Newman-Robert Redford movie 'The Sting'. There's a €109 #PSCBarcelona satellite ticket up for grabs, so why not apply to be the "Sting Superfan" on Episode 90? (Tag your tweets #PokerInTheEars) And, talking of Superfans, Joao Matteus from Brazil turns the clock back to 2015, and answers questions about a "classic" episode of the podcast in 'Superfan vs Stapes'. You can listen to the podcast here.

Want more? Keep an eye on our Twitter account (@PokerStarsBlog) for any breaking bracelet news over the weekend.

Until then, keep your razors sharp and your aftershave at the ready.

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis. WSOP photos courtesy

Source: poker stars

PokerStars Festival Marbella: Off the beaten path on the Marbella food trail

Main Image.jpg

The second European leg of this season's PokerStars Festival touches down in Marbella between June 19 and June 25 - and this chic destination in Southern Spain promises to be a real treat for visiting poker players.

Situated between Málaga and the Strait of Gibraltar, and overlooked by the stunning Sierra Blanca mountains, sun-soaked Marbella has for decades been a popular hangout for the rich and famous.

Fortunately, though, you don't need to be a Russian oligarch or own a Swiss investment bank to buy in to the tournaments at PokerStars Festival Marbella as all the events suit those players with more modest bankrolls.

Hosted at Casino Marbella, the €1,100 Texas hold'em Main Event with a €700,000 guarantee kicks off on June 21 and is followed by the €2,200 High Roller with a guaranteed prize pool of €200,000.

Casino.jpgThe beautiful setting for PokerStars Festival Marbella

For those looking for even less expensive action, the PokerStars MEGASTACK on June 19 costs just €170 to enter, while the Super Deepstack Estrellas Edition on June 25 has a wallet-friendly entry fee of just €170.

There is also a €550 Sunday Hyperturbo and the Marbella Poker Cup with a €100,000 guarantee for a buy-in of just €330. You can book your seat for the Main Event by buying in directly or by qualifying via one of many online satellites PokerStars has running right now.

Food for thought


If you like fish, Marbella is the place for you

When not grinding at the tables, lounging on the beach or indulging in Marbella's famous nightlife, you'll need to refuel on some local cuisine.

And with Casino Marbella perfectly located in the city and just a stone's throw from the beach, you won't be short of dining options.

Marbella boasts hundreds of restaurants, including a smattering of Michelin-starred establishments, as well as more than its fair share of fish restaurants offering locally caught fresh marisco, or seafood.

In fact, this Andalusian city is a seafood lover's paradise.

But whatever your dining preferences - whether seafood, tapas, paella or international cuisine - you'll be spoiled for choice here. So in order to whet your appetite ahead of the PokerStars Festival Marbella, we have trawled the city to uncover the best restaurants serving up some of the tastiest culinary options.

You won't always find these establishments in the usual guidebooks or on tourist websites and, more importantly, these places won't break the bank. It's quality food off the beaten track at rock-bottom prices.

What's not to love about that?

Taberna Tierr Aranda

Cuisine: Spanish/Mediterranean

Price: ££

Signature dish: Tapas

Reason to go: Handily located in the charming Old Town, this compact and authentic tavern attracts a mix of locals and tourists. The mouth-watering tapas, priced at just €2 or €3, resemble works of art. Also, try the delicious lamb cutlets.

Chiringuito El Cable

Cuisine: Spanish/Mediterranean

Price: £££

Signature dish: Seafood

Reason to go: This eatery's prime location on the beach at Playa El Cable with its large terrace is a perfect spot to unwind and partake in a bit of people watching. Chiringuito El Cable is also a great restaurant to take a large group of friends.

Los Pacos

Cuisine: Spanish/Mediterranean

Price: ££

Signature dish: All of the dishes are special

Reason to go: Especially popular with the locals, this place serves up simple, traditional Spanish food using locally sourced ingredients. The portions are on the large side, too, so you shouldn't leave hungry. Spanish speakers will know Los Pacos means 'The Alpacas,' but don't worry, there aren't any cute, llama-like animals on the menu.

Sede Los Compadres

Cuisine: Spanish/Mediterranean

Price: ££

Signature dish: Any of the grilled meats

Reason to go: Located at the town's football stadium this is the place to go if you want to eat quality meat (they also have chicken and fish). All the tables are outside and all the food is cooked on a large charcoal BBQ.

This establishment serves massive portions at decent prices, making it very popular on weekends.

Come for the poker, stay for the fish

With Marbella being on the Costa del Sol, you're going to want to sink your teeth into some pescaíto frito, or fried fish, which are traditional dishes from the Southern coast of Spain.

Here are a few of our personal favourite restaurants to sample this and pescado fresco (fresh fish).

Bar California

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: ££

Signature dish: Calamari a la plancha

Reason to go: Located on the boundary of the Old Town, Bar California serves up some of the finest Spanish fish dishes in Marbella - all in unpretentious surroundings. It's all about the food here rather than the aesthetics.

Bar Diamante

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: ££

Signature dish: Pescaíto frito

Fried fish.jpg

Here fishy, fishy!

Reason to go: If you're after a wide array of delicious seafood options at reasonable prices, then look no further than this unassuming restaurant near the football stadium. It also has a great selection of wines to choose from. The staff are very friendly and attentive.

Bar Los Pescadores

Cuisine: Seafood

Price: ££

Signature dish: Espetos de sardina

Reason to go: Bar Los Pescadores has received glowing reviews on Facebook - and for good reason. With a wonderful setting in the heart of the fishing port, it's perfect for a relaxing stroll on the sea promenade when you finish your meal.

Italian options to savour

If you're craving pizza or pasta, try these two budget-friendly options:

Pizzería en Marbella

Cuisine: Italian

Price: £

Signature dish: Chimichurri - 'pizza with everything'

Reason to go: The pizzas here are delicious and very reasonably priced at €9 or less. If you don't fancy pizza, Pizzería en Marbella also serves tasty soups, pastas and meat dishes.

Pizzería la Estrellita

Cuisine: Italian

Price: £

Signature dish: Barbacoa - tomato, cheese, bacon and bolognaise sauce pizza

Reason to go: Pizzería la Estrellita has been serving up traditional Italian food since 1998 for ridiculously cheap prices. Pizzas will set you back between €4.50 and €7. Bargain! The pasta dishes are just as reasonably priced and equally as tasty.

So there you have it. We hope this overview has provided you with a flavour of what you can expect to find food-wise in Marbella.

This city is renowned for being a real gastronomic treat, but as we have demonstrated with our shortlist, you don't need to shell out eye-popping sums to enjoy local and authentic cuisine that tastes great.

Bon appétit, or as they say in Spain, disfrute de su comida.

Source: poker stars

Weekend checklist: Sochi, Marbella, Barcelona, Macau, and on and on

Depending on where you live in the world, this could very well be a long weekend, one that will stretch past your inevitable early weekend on Friday, your normal Saturday, and the dreaded Sunday night. You might find yourself asking--especially if you have Monday off--what in the world you are going to do with the extra time. Friends, we have a list. A long list. A list longer than the weekend. It's the best list. The best. It's great. It's so good, you're not even going to be able to to do it all.

So, here you go:


Our men in Sochi had to work very hard to even get there. They are providing up-to-the-minute coverage of the PokerStars Championship Sochi Main Event. Today is Day 1B of the Main Event, which means you can get full coverage of the Championship whenever you want by clicking right here.

vladimir_troyanovskiy_ketmit.jpgBut that's none of Vlad's business...


Couldn't quiet secure that last-minute visa to Sochi? No worries. If you're anywhere near London, you can give the PokerStars London Series a run. It's already up and running and will last through the weekend. Need more details? Grab them right here.


Maybe you already have weekend plans. Good on you! That shouldn't stop you from planning ahead for the rest of the year. Could we suggest...

PokerStars Championship Barcelona...the dates and schedule for which were released this week?

Or perhaps the PokerStars Festival Marbella which is happening even sooner?

If the Iberian peninsula isn't your thing, perhaps you should consider the Manila Megastack later this month or the Macau Poker Cup in August?

Red Dragon trophy - MPC26_weekender.jpgRed Dragon! Red Dragon!

Or if you want to plan way, way about Prague? Yep. We now have those details at the PokerStars Championship Prague page right here.

If you can't find something there you like, we're not going to be able to help today. Maybe take up knitting. We hear it can be very relaxing.

Or if you prefer to not be relaxed, consider the possible conspiracy of this map-making wizardry.



The Spring Championship of Online Poker is finished for the year. The bean counters are still working out a few details with the leader board, but let this be known: SCOOP paid out nearly $94 million in prize money over the course of the series.

Ninety-four million! I mean, really. That's nuts.

It's also the biggest online tournament series in history. So it has that going for it. Which is nice.

If you want to see all of our coverage from the event, including Charlie Carrel's $1.2 million win, head on over to our SCOOP coverage section or our results page.



(Full disclosure: There are no barnacles.)

If that isn't enough for you, here are a few more items to keep your brain occupied over the next few days.

PokerStars Festival Chile is happening now. Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez has already won the High Roller, and the Main Event is going on now. We have coverage on our Latin American and Brazilian blogs.

Poker In the Ears is back with another episode and has a interview with Big Brother Canada winner Kevin Martin.

PokerStars launched Stars Rewards loyalty program in Denmark. The new program offers an exciting gaming experience which rewards players for their play across poker, casino and sports (where available) and promises personalized rewards tailored to the games they play, as well as the chance to win top prizes including $1,000 cash, 1,000,000 StarsCoin, or, for sports bettors, big bets for upcoming matches. Following the pilot in Denmark, Stars Rewards is due to be rolled out in other markets later this summer. You can read more about that here.

And if that isn't enough for you...well, have a good long weekend and then tell us on Twitter (@PokerStarsBlog) what we should tell you about next week!

is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.

Source: poker stars

PokerStars London Series kicks off this weekend

If you're in London and fancy playing some poker, the PokerStars London Series returns this weekend.

The Series, which officially started yesterday, runs through to Sunday, with a £275 buy-in and a 25,000 starting stack. What's more there's a guarantee of £40,000 (up from £35,000 last time).


Last time around the London Series attracted 248 runners which smashed the guarantee. More of the same is expected in this latest incarnation.
We like to give everyone the chance to play at a time to suit you, so there are four flights available to play, with a turbo flight at 8pm on Saturday for last minute arrivals.

It all takes place at The Hippodrome in London, widely regarded as perhaps the best place to play poker in the capital. Its theatre backdrop, bars and restaurants also make it one of the best places to bust out of a poker tournament too.

Good luck to everyone playing there this weekend. Check out the PokerStars London website for more details.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley. What did you think about this post? Let us know on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.

Source: poker stars