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Howard Stutz

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Bertrand Grospellier wins WSOP TOC playoff

11 Jun 2010

By Howard Stutz
LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Frenchman Bertrand Grospellier on Thursday won a seat into the World Series of Poker's Tournament of Champions, winning a "sudden-death playoff" to earn a chance at the event's $1 million prize pool.

Grospellier bested eight other players who were not eligible for the public voting to fill one of the Tournament of Champions' 27 seats.

The World Series of Poker Academy sponsored the event.

"I feel like I am a deserving champion based on my record around the world, and I look forward to getting my World Series of Poker bracelet soon," Grospellier said.

Grospellier made his mark as a prolific online player. He moved on to live play, taking home more than $6 million in lifetime earnings. He holds titles from the 2008 European Poker Tour and the 2008 World Poker Tour.

The Tournament of Champions is being dubbed the World Series of Poker's All-Star event. The invitational will start on June 27 and the final nine will play on July 4.

The 27 players include 20 selected by public voting, five automatic entries and two sponsor-exemption entries. Thursday's playoff is for one of the sponsor exemptions. Grospellier earned one of the sponsor exemptions.

To be eligible for voting, players must be one of 521 World Series of Poker bracelet holders prior to the 2010 tournament. Voting began March 15 on and remains open through midnight Tuesday.

The five automatic entries were given to Annie Duke, Mike Matusow and Mike Sexton (the previous Tournament of Champions winners), Joe Cada (the 2009 World Series of Poker champion) and Barry Shulman (the 2009 World Series of Poker Europe champion).

Grospellier played Thursday against fellow professionals Andy Bloch, Gus Hansen, Sorel Mizzi, Michael Mizrachi, Liv Boeree, Gavin Smith and Paul Wasicka, and actor Don Cheadle, for the seat.

Grospellier defeated Mizrachi heads-up when he earned a king-high flush on the river card on the final hand.

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