WSOP Player of the Week: Jean-Robert Bellande Broke No More
Jean-Robert Bellande has been around the poker world for a long time. Back in 2005, he burst onto the scene via ESPN’s broadcast of the World Series of Poker Circuit Rio $10,000 Main Event where he battled the likes of Phil Ivey, Gabriel Thaler, Jen Harman, and Doug Lee.
The boisterous Bellande wound up finishing in third place for $210,900 behind Harman (2nd - $383,840) and Lee (1st - $695,970). He notched at least one cash at the WSOP each year through 2012 before cashing just twice between then and 2018, no doubt in favor of cash games at Aria.
Bellande, who starred in the hit CBS show Survivor: China in 2007, has documented the ups and downs of his poker career on both Instagram and Twitter under @BrokeLivingJRB. This past week he got to deliver good news to both his fans and haters.
Deeb: “I remember JRB, and everyone does, many times in his career he was down and out."
“A special thank you to those of you who have sweated me for years!” he tweeted. “We finally got there. Love you all (even my haters.) I’m so happy today.”
Bellande had cause to celebrate as he topped a 621-entry field to win the 2018 World Series of Poker Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed for $616,302 and his first gold bracelet. It was made all the sweeter as he’d previously finished runner-up in two WSOP events.
After the victory, Bellande was all smiles: “I'm really really happy. Really relieved. First bracelet. You know, I had two second places. I had one second place the first time, I had a 19-to-one chip lead, and I lost that bracelet. That was just devastating. Tonight, it looked like I was going to squander a two-to-one lead and lose it again. But in the end... it's a relief, it's exciting.”
A Legitimizing Win
JRB winning a bracelet made headlines and the pros came out in force to congratulate the man often responsible for organizing the high-stakes games at Aria. Among those to recognize him on Twitter were Dutch Boyd, Frank Kassela, and even his fellow Survivor castaway Peih-Gee Law.
One player to comment to PokerNews on Bellande’s win was recent bracelet winner Shaun Deeb.
Zinno: "Don’t let anyone fool you, that guy can play poker."
“I think if you watched Jean-Robert in every WSOP event, showing up late and drunk, opening up amazing bottles of wine, I mean JRB is living the life,” he offered. “I think every poker player inspires to be JRB in the way that he controls games, the games he gets in. He’s obviously enjoying life and it’s great to see pure joy.”
Deeb continued: “I remember JRB, and everyone does, many times in his career he was down and out. Upswing JRB is one of the greatest guys to hang out with. Even downswing JRB is enjoyable, but when he’s happy, everyone around him is happy.”
Another pro to offer his thoughts, is bracelet winner and WPT Season 13 Player of the Year Anthony Zinno.
“He was already legitimized in my eyes because I think he plays really well. He beat a tough field. When he’s on his A-game, he plays really well. Don’t let anyone fool you, that guy can play poker. I respect his grind, he loves the game. I mean who loves it more than him?”
Zinno added: “I think his win legitimizes him to a lot of the poker world who thought maybe he was broke, or whatever image he had of slinging chips around. I’ve heard people say he’s a fish but every time I’ve played with him, he’s played well. He likes to drink and have fun at the tables sometimes, but he’s a smart guy, he’s clever. I was happy to see him win and I think it was deserved.”
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