Survivor China’s Jean-Robert Bellande wins 2018 WSOP bracelet

Screengrab via PokerCentral on Twitch
Screengrab via PokerCentral on Twitch /

Did you win a World Series of Poker bracelet, Courtney? Jean-Robert Bellande of Survivor China has after a back-and-forth final table Sunday night.

Despite seeming like he intentionally tanked his game in Survivor China, Jean-Robert Bellande might be the most successful poker player the show has seen, both on the island and at the table. He surpasses placement and money earnings of players like Anna Khait and Garrett Adelstein, and he made it fairly far into the jury phase in his one shot at a million-dollar survival competition.

Poker’s as much about luck as it is about playing hands, positions on the table and reading your opponent. Jean-Robert had never won a World Series of Poker tournament bracelet before Sunday; a trinket marking a tournament win over a field of hundreds (if not thousands) of other players. This time, he became the sole survivor in a field of 621 players.

Jean-Robert Bellande won the $5,000 buy-in, No-Limit, 6-max WSOP poker tournament on Sunday (only six players maximum sit at a table instead of nine), netting him $616,302 in prize money. He knocked out the sixth-place finisher within half an hour and the fourth-place finisher under two hours, using a pair of jacks as his starting two cards each time. Third place was also taken out by Jean-Robert, sending things to head’s up play after five hours.

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Crazily enough, early enough into the one-on-one play, Jean-Robert had the winning pair of tens against his opponent, Dean Lyall, who had just a pair of fours on the last community card. He pushed his last four million chips all-in, causing Jean-Robert to get frustrated and fold. Had he called, he would have won the tournament then.

Just like Survivor, however, you need to outwit, outplay and outlast your opponents. The two played dozens upon dozens of hands from that point on, with the former castaway going close to a third of the total chips left. Eventually, Jean-Robert had a significant lead over Lyall, who called all-in before seeing any cards with Ace-Three, being called instantly with a pair of queens.

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Jean-Robert’s pair of queens, like the pair of jacks before, helped secure the 2018 World Series of Poker bracelet for the eccentric player. Even though Courtney Yates won Immunity and he didn’t, he now has a piece of hardware that just a select few have had the chance to win in their lifetimes.