Tribe Has Spoken: Jean-Robert Bellande Wins First Bracelet for $616K
On Sunday, the final six players from a 621-entry field returned to the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino to play down to a winner in the 2018 World Series of Poker Event #58: $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em Six-Handed. Before entering the tournament, Jean-Robert Bellande sent out a tweet.
“All this talk of me trying to finally get my 1st bracelet is a bit of a monkey on my back,” the former Survivor contestant said. “I’m just gonna keep having fun and making outrageous calls.”
"It’s a relief, it’s exciting. The $600,000 is also exciting."
Bellande, who had previously finished runner-up in two WSOP events, managed to get that monkey off his back in what was his 24th WSOP-related cash.
“Winning a bracelet in no-limit hold’em is an extra big surprise to me because it’s not my best game,” said Bellande, who sipped on a $400 bottle of Chateau Margaux 2013 Premier Grand Cru Classé while he played. “I’ve worked a lot on my game but I know I’m way behind the top-level players in that game. I would never ever dream my first bracelet would be in no-limit hold’em, but it makes it extra exciting for me.”
He continued: “I had a blast. I had so much fun during this tournament, not just winning but mixing it up. Six-handed is cool because you’re always in action. The guys were all fun. We just had a good time. Every day we just had a blast.”
Official Final Table Results
|1||Jean-Robert Bellande||United States||$616,302|
|2||Dean Lyall||United Kingdom||$380,595|
|3||Andrew Graham||United States||$254,684|
|4||Tan Nguyen||United States||$173,598|
|5||Eric Blair||United States||$120,669|
On Hand #10 of the final table, Poland’s Kacper Pyzara ran an unsuccessful bluff against Dean Lyall to lose most of his chips. Two hands later, Pyzara jammed for 515,000 holding ace-seven in the small blind and Bellande woke up with jacks in the big. Pyzara found a seven on the flop but no other help was forthcoming. He had to settle for sixth place and an $85,570 payday.
Two hands later, Eric Blair followed him out the door in fifth. It happened when both he and Andrew Graham flopped a pair of aces. They got it in when the turned paired eights, but Blair had a kicker problem as Lyall had a lady accompanying his bullet. The river was a brick and just like that Blair was gone, good for $120,699 in prize money.
"The guys were all fun. We just had a good time. Every day we just had a blast."
On Hand #26 of the final table, Tay Nguyen shoved his extreme short stack from the button with pocket eights and Bellande called from the small blind with jacks. The board ran out clean and Nguyen was ousted in fourth place for $173,598.
The three-handed battle was a marathon and it wouldn’t be until Hand #136 that Graham would bow out. It happened when Bellande raised to 400K with king-deuce and called Graham’s 880K shove with jack-nine. Graham flopped an open-ended straight draw but missed when the turn and river came running fives.
“Winning a bracelet in no-limit hold’em is an extra big surprise to me [...] I know I’m way behind the top-level players in that game.”
Heads-up play began with Bellande holding a 2-1 chip lead over Lyall but the two would engage in a back-and-forth match. Each took turns holding the chip lead on several occasions, but eventually, Bellande won eight hands in a row to once again pull out to a big lead.
In the final hand of the tournament, which was Hand #228 of the final table, Lyall moved all in with ace-three offsuit and Bellande woke up with pocket queens. Lyall paired his three on the flop but that was all the help he got as both the turn and river ran out in Bellande’s favor.
“At one point he had a 3-1 chip lead and I thought it was curtains, and then I caught a nice little rush,” Bellande reflected. “Really happy, really relieved. First bracelet after two second places. My first time I was a 19-1 chip lead and I lost that bracelet, that was just devastating. Tonight, it looked like I was going to squander a 2-1 chip lead and lose it again. It’s a relief, it’s exciting. The $600,000 is also exciting.”
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