Las Vegas, NV
"Who is Ludovic?" asked one clueless member of the American media.
"Ah, he's one of those hyper-aggressive players who likes to do blow and bang hookers," extolled one of my British colleagues.
"Tell me something I don't already know," I snapped. "You just described every single European pro on the circuit."
For most of the afternoon, I kept a watchful eye on Ludovic Lacay who sat at a table in front of the press box. I only knew him because of Benjo. Lacay was one of the first players to be signed to a sponsorship deal with Winamax, the largest online poker site in France. The law student from Toulouse soon realized that his future was in tournament poker and Lacay never finished his studies. Instead, he spent the last few years traveling the world and playing on the grueling tournament circuit. Lacay was a fixture on the EPT (and the runner-up at the WPT Barcelona Open in 2007) and he lived in Las Vegas the last few summers while he played in the WSOP.
On Day 3 of the Main Event, Lacay often wandered up to the press box to tell Benjo his chip count. Since I sat next to Benjo, I often heard them chatting about hands. A few times Lacay broke into English because he noticed that I struggled to keep up with their rapid-fire French.
Lacay was a machine and vacuumed up chips. He acquired a fair amount of his stack with 9c-7c in a nasty hand where he snapped of Kings. Out of most of the French pros, Lacay is one of the most adept at building a stack, but on the negative side, much like Norwegian pro Johnny Lodden, Lacay is prone to implosions. Lacay could easily dust off 500K as fast as he accumulated it.
Lacay has a lot of gamble in him, including proposition gambling. He once lost a bet with Brice Cournut. The loser had to play an entire day of a tournament with a tooth brush in their mouth. Lacay lost the bet and did not back down. He played Day 2 of the EPT Hungarian Open in Budapest with a toothbrush. I happened to be there covering the event.
Ludovic Lacay in Budapest during the EPT Hungarian Open
Lacay plays fast and loose. Although he knows how to shift gears, he doesn't do it as often as he should. On Day 3, it didn't matter as he jumped out to the chip lead. Benjo insisted that he would be the first player to pass the 1 million mark. Lacay ran over his table as he closed in on 1 million and if Nick Shulman wasn't moved to his immediate left, Lacay might have finished the day with the overall lead.
Instead of Lacay, another Frenchman ended up becoming the first player to pass 1 million and that was none other than Elky. Born Bertrand Grospellier, Elky spent most of his formative years in Nancy before moving to Korea as a late teenager to pursue a career in video games. After he became a Starcraft rock star in Korea, he turned his focus to poker and quickly picked up on the similarities of the online poker game. The rest is history. He earned almost $6 million playing in tournaments... since January of 2007. He's been rumored to have gone busto a few times but he always bounced back.
Benjo spent a lot of time with Elky which was the crux of his cover story in this month's Bluff Magazine. They both share a flat together in London. The French pro is indeed the real deal and has been running incredibly good over the last year. He parlayed that into the chip lead at the Main Event. Elky has all the skills including the patience and discipline to know when to shift gears. He has an uncanny ability to read his opponents and he always knows which buttons to push.
As Day 3 reached the midnight hour, both Lacay and Elky were on top of the leader board, while the popular Phils (Ivey and Hellmuth) were hounded by the press and ESPN cameras. Lacay operated under the radar for the entire day. Elky spent some time under the bright lights but by now, he's used to the spot light.
At one point, Ivey was moved to Elky's table, but Elky retained his focus as the two managed to avoid each other.
"Ivey is probably the best player in the world," said Elky. "I respect his game very much. I was not going out of my way to get involved with Ivey. There were so many other weaker players left, so I went after them."
Indeed, a tale of two Frenchman. By the time the day ended, Elky was close to 1.4 million while Lacay finished up with 900K.
Elky and his million dollar stack
Photo by Benjo
* * * * *
Day 3 Stats
2,044 started Day 3 and only 789 players made the cut. The top 648 will win prize money and the money bubble should break before dinner time on Saturday.
End of Day 3 - Top 10 Chip Counts:
1 Elky (London, UK) - 1,380,500
2 Ludovic Lacay (Paris, France) - 896,000
3 Jason Brice (Sugar Land, TX) - 858,500
4 Ben Jensen (Herning, Denmark) - 835,500
5 Kasper Cordes (Copenhagen, Denmark) - 796,000
6 James Akenhead (London, UK) - 794,000
7 Billy Kopp (Erlanger, KY) - 792,000
8 Tyler Patterson (Everett, WA) - 784,000
9 Adam Bilzerian (Frigate Bay, St. Kitts) - 767,000
10 Christian Heich (Mengesdied, Germany) - 735,500
11 Morgan, Jordan 705,000
20 Tran, Kenny 666,500
57 Saul, Kevin 523,000
59 Bonomo, Justin 517,500
65 Phillips, Dennis 510,000
67 Dang, Hac 505,500
71 Crowe, Owen 500,000
75 Hellmuth, Phil 485,000
77 Tran, Theo 483,000
89 Kara Scott 456,500
109 Jelassi, Ramzi 417,000
113 Sexton, Mike 414,000
117 Lightman, Sarne 404,000
126 Lemke, Brian 388,000
132 Benyamine, David 381,500
148 Ivey, Phil 371,000
157 Phillips, Lou Diamond 359,500
162 Shak, Daniel 354,500
170 Kim, Kelly 346,000
171 Borges, Diogo 345,500
176 Kostritsyn, Alexander 340,500
221 Brady, Matt 307,000
231 Boutin, Burt 302,500
235 Lylloff, Sander 300,500
236 Esquondoles, Marco 300,000
241 Sebok, Joe 297,500
242 Mizzi, Sorel 297,000
247 Wasicka, Paul 294,000
249 Eastgate, Peter 292,500
258 Soulier, Fabrice 289,500
269 Esfandiari, Antonio 283,500
279 Black, Andrew 277,500
283 Julian, Brecard 274,500
287 Hevad, Khan 272,500
306 Gruzglin, Vadim 256,000
329 Bruel, Patrick 245,500
331 Daneshgar, David 245,000
340 Hachem, Joe 239,500
343 King, Carter 238,000
352 Jesus 232,500
354 Schneider, Tom 231,000
394 Baron, Isaac 208,000
410 Levi, David 198,500
419 Shulman, Nick 194,000
420 Baldwin, Bobby 193,500
421 Olson, Carl 193,000
425 The Big Randy 190,500
435 Harrington, Daniel 187,500
436 Levy, Steven 187,500
446 Slotboom, Rolf 181,500
450 Boeken, Noah 180,500
491 Hansen, Thor 164,000
497 Lunkin, Vitaly 159,500
526 Hougaard, Jesper 148,000
562 Gazes, Kristy 128,500
586 Tran, J.C. 119,000
605 Wells, David 113,000
613 Eaton, Jon 110,000
628 Botwin, Nancy 105,500
629 Gregorich, Mark 105,500
644 Maridu 102,500
645 FBT 101,500
646 Hua, CK 100,500
676 Phan, Tim 85500
677 Alvarado, J.C. 85,000
734 Hale, Oklahoma Sarah 61,000
761 Bell, Chris 41,000
Don't forget that I'm also covering the WSOP via Twitter. You can follow me by clicking here.
Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.