Jean-Robert Bellande lives a charmed life – for the last several years he embraced his “BrokeLiving” lifestyle, documenting it all on his social media. He doesn’t apologize for anything, he’s had more than a few backers over the years and rode swings in nosebleed games that would make most players quit.
Bellande carved out a special spot in the poker world – part host, part player and with a propensity to gambe as big as his frame. Bellande had a seat for the first two weeks of Poker After Dark during “The Return of Tom Dwan” and “Voices Carry.”
Bellande opened up about some of the key hands that shaped his life recently; including a $3 million hand where everything he had was on the table – and lost.
Bellande played the “TRoTD” cash game, which played much bigger than the advertised $200/$400. “It was an enormous game,” he said. The super straddle reached $3,200 and “once you get there, it doesn’t matter how much you have in there, you only have a few big blinds. It was something else, I thought it was great fun. I’m always happy to be a part of it.”
The action was big enough for Bellande to go “unbroke” and cleared his makeup with his backer. “I’m very happy to be out of makeup – I actually got a bonus from my backer,” he said. Bellande had a few small figures to take care of and said he was even.
His split role between player and host has him at the eye of the storm most days at the ARIA. “I facilitate a lot of the big games. I put them together and people come and play,” he said. “We have a blast – sure with supply and demand…there’s always going to be games where you can win or lose one or $200,000 – up to $500,000. Everyday could be a life-changing day.”
Bellande discussed his maturation as a gambler and one of turning points of his career was learning from his mistakes while he was losing. “Right now, if I go and match up with the guys that are better than me in poker, I’m not going to be a winning player,” he said. “I’m constantly working on my game to get better and the better I get at poker the more I understand there’s so much more to go – I got a lot of learning to do. I love playing cards – I love it.”
Bellande spent time gambling with Tom Dwan and lining up players for the game.
Bellande was candid about his swings – last year he was playing on his bankroll. “I lasted about six months, things went really nasty right after I got married and I basically lost my whole bankroll,” he said. “I got to the point where I owed.”
“That’s when I had to organize something with the backer I have now,” Bellande said. “I was going through a time where I had bunch of money, just got married things were looking up and up and the Poker Gods would have it where things didn’t go as smoothly as planned.”
“I lost a lot of money in very good, soft games, not necessarily because I was playing bad,” he said. “I played one pot where it was $1.4 or $1.6 million each where I had two aces up against two kings. I’m begging the guy to run it twice, he says no and there comes a king. Boom, that’s the end of my bankroll.”
“That was extremely unlucky and one of the biggest pots of my life,” he said. “I’ve played three $3.2 million pots in my life, that was one of them – I lost all three of them by the way,” he said.
“That was the hand that finished me off. After that I was out of action until I got staked,” he said. “These things happen. You can be right and study all the charts and do things correctly and you can run really awful for a certain amount of time.”
Listen to the full 30-minute podcast and make sure to subscribe to “Heads Up with Remko” podcast. All episodes of Poker After Dark’s “The Return of Tom Dwan,” featuring Bellande, is available on PokerGO in their entirety.