Team Pokerstars ended 2007 on a high when prolific online pro Dario Minieri took down three major high stakes tournament in one night. 2008 picks up where 2007 left off for the crew, as fellow sponsored pro and internet monster Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier took down the first multi million dollar tournament of the year, the Pokerstars Caribbean adventure (PCA).
This year's PCA broke many a record for an EPT event, with an amazing 1136 players making the journey to play in this event. Although this is now technically part of the European Poker Tour, the PCA is always a predominantly American tournament for two reasons: First it is possibly the busiest for online giant Pokerstars in terms of satellite entries (Over 650 players won seats online) and also because the players don't need to be 21 to play like they do in the States. As a result, this is often the place where the young American internet players come for their first live game.
But this would not deter Frenchman ElkY, who along with Dario Minieri is one of the busiest players on Pokerstars. You can often see him playing a multitude of tables at once and both players reached the dizzy heights of Supernova in the Pokerstars VIP programme. So a 1136 person tournament is nothing new to our latest EPT champion.
Rather than the sheer size of the field, ElkY had a much bigger obstacle to overcome, in the shape of David Pham. 'The Dragon' as he is known, was crowned the 2007 Player of the Year after a fantastic series of results last year. He came to the table with a huge chip stack which ElkY was able to prevail over to take down the title.
The 26-year-old Frenchman said: "The entire trip has been one thrilling experience after another – and now I'm returning home as the 2008 PCA Champion. This was definitely one of the hardest tournaments I've ever played. It was a very tough field with a lot of online American qualifiers who played really well. But I really wanted this title and I would have been very disappointed not to win. "
A big UK Pokernews hats off to Craig Hopkins of Chesterfield who managed to climb up the rankings gradually each day to eventually come 5th for $450,000. Hopkins is a professional sports bettor who won his seat online and was joined in the Caribbean by his wife.
The next step on the EPT tour is a return to Dortmund at the end of January.
Final Table Placings:
Name Country Prize $
1. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier (Team PokerStars Pro) France 2,000,000
2. Hafiz Khan (PokerStars qualifier) United States 1,094,976
3. Kris Kuykendall (PokerStars qualifier) United States 800,000
4. David Pham (PokerStars qualifier) United States 600,000
5. Craig Hopkins (PokerStars qualifier) United Kingdom 450,000
6. Joseph Elpayaa (PokerStars qualifier) United States 300,000
7. Christian Harder (PokerStars qualifier) United States 200,000
8. Richard Fohrenbach (PokerStars qualifier) United States 150,000