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Jean-Robert Bellande had already finished runner-up when playing heads-up for a World Series of Poker bracelet twice before he made it all the way down to the final two players in the 2018WSOP $5,000 six-max no-limit hold’em event. It seems that the third time was the charm, as this time around the 47-year-old high-stakes cash game regular emerged victorious, defeating Dean Lyall heads-up to secure his first bracelet and the top prize of $616,302.
“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,” Bellande told WSOP reporters. “Winning a bracelet in no-limit hold’em is an extra big surprise to me because it’s not my best game. 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.”
As the champion of this event, Bellande was awarded 1,680 Card Player Player of the Year points. As he focuses primarily on cash games, this was his first POY-qualified score of the year. This win alone was enough to catapult him into 75th place in the overall POY rankings.
Bellande, who was once a contestant on the popular reality TV show ‘Survivor’, came into the final table as the chip leader among the final six players. Kacper Pyzara was the first to hit the rail at the final table, finishing in sixth place ($85,570) after running A7 into Bellande’s pocket jacks and failing to come from behind. Eric Blair was the next to be eliminated when he flopped a pair of aces with a three kicker and called all-in against Andrew Graham, who had aces with a queen kicked. Blair never caught up from there and was knocked out in fifth place ($120,669). This was his second final table of the summer, having finished third in the $5,000 no-limit hold’em big blind ante event for $228,307 just three weeks earlier.
Tay Nguyen was left as the shortest stack going into heads-up play. He eventually shoved with pocket eights, only to have Bellande pick up pocket jacks again and make the call. Bellande’s hand held up to send Nguyen to the rail in fourth place ($173,598).
Andrew Graham doubled up Dean Lyall and found himself as the short stack. In the end he shoved less than six big blinds with the J8 from the button and was called by Bellande, who held the K2. King high ended up being enough for Bellande to win the pot, which meant Graham earned $254,684 as the third-place finisher.
Heads-up play began with Bellande holding a 2-to-1 chip lead over Lyall. The two battled back and forth, with Lyall able to take the lead at one point. Not long after he did, though, Bellande rattled off a streak of eight straight pots won to regain the ascendancy. Lyall ultimately shoved from the button for 17 big blinds with the A3 and Bellande quickly called with the QQ. The board came down 109364 and Bellande’s queens earned him the pot and the title. Lyall took home $380,595 as the runner-up finisher.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
|Place||Player||Earnings (USD)||POY Points|
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