WSOP 2016: ElkY and Selbst soaring as Main Event heads to final Day 1 flight

July 11, 2016

No matter how empty this poker tournament was when we started the day, it’s a rock and roll show tonight. As players head toward the final minutes of Day 1B, any semblance of silence has shuffled out into the desert. This 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event is well underway, and the next time we’ll see calm is when the final table takes its summer rest.

At this point, it’s impossible to ignore the smoke and flames coming off some of poker’s luminaries. Andrey Zaichenko, Kenny Hallaert, and Anthony Zinno are all pounding on the leaderboard as the night draws toward its close.

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Anthony Zinno

Meanwhile, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier has taken it upon himself to lead the PokerStars red spade brigade bravely into Day 2. ElkY managed to double his 50,000 starting stack before the start of the last level of the night. By the time the last five hands were called, his colleague Vanessa Selbst was up there too. After heavy betting on all streets (including from Mike Gorodinsky, among three opponents), Selbst bet a flop of K♣J♥10♦, then jammed the K♦ turn. The last remaining opponent, with his effective stack of about 26,000, folded allowing Selbst to bag six figures tonight.

Joining them in the final throes of Day 1B goodness were none other than Fatima Moreira de Melo, Aditya Agarwal, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Victor Ramdin, and the late-arriving, Jason Somerville.

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Vanessa Selbst

Meanwhile, before this afternoon full took flight, a member of Team PokerStars Pro had already picked up her first WSOP final table. China’s Yaxi Zhu showed up today and notched a ninth place finish in the WSOP Ladies event.

“This is the fourth event I’ve played, but this is my first time in Vegas,” she told us earlier today. It wasn’t a bad start for one of the newest Team Pros.


Zhu on her way out

Day 1B, as any Day 1 flight tends to be, is one of anticipation. It’s one where a player actively works to not lose everything, and if luck shines, pad the chip stack for Day 2. It’s the kind of day where one of the world’s elite competitors (read: Fatima Moreira de Melo) can be stymied by a guy just trying to set up his image. It’s the type of day where a man might rather talk about his mother than the machinations of another poker tournament.

More than anything, though, it’s the kind of day where people still have hope, the kind of hope that a coin-dealer’s wife has just as good of a chance as an EPT champion. Day 1, by any measure, is a day of survival, the kind we tracked level-by-level today with PokerStars’ Indian pro Aditya Agarwal.

Day 1C begins at 11am Vegas time on Monday, and we’re expecting a who’s who in the field. Day 1C is traditionally the biggest of the year, and we expect to see people in nearly every seat of this convention hall. If our expectations hold, we’ll see Barry Greenstein, Felipe Ramos, Andre Akkari, Chris Moneymaker, George Danzer, Liv Boeree, Randy Lew, Celina Lin, Jake Cody, and last year’s 11th place finisher Daniel Negreanu among the final flight’s players.

Until then, goodnight from Las Vegas (unless, of course, you’re hungry for some Jack in the Box).

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


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