2013 WPT Five Diamond Main Event: Jean-Robert Bellande Builds to Lead as Money Bubble Bursts

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The 2013 World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event concluded its fourth day on Monday and after a quick pace at the outset as the short stacks went down after desperation moves to try to move up the ladder, things slowed down considerably. It took nine hours for just 38 eliminations to occur as the field was whittled from 59 to 21. The money bubble was popped and leading the charge heading into Day 5 is a familiar face: Jean-Robert Bellande, proud owner (or renter, as they say) of 1,637,000 chips.

Bellande rose to fame in the poker world during the middle part of last decade, the golden age of poker. His personality at the table, which was a combination of brash, friendly, aggressive, and funny, endeared itself to television viewers. His entry into stardom was started with his third place finish in the 2005 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Circuit Championship Event, followed by his appearance on the made-for-television WPT Bad Boys of Poker II, a single table tournament in which he placed fourth. After that, television cameras followed him around at just about every poker tournament and he became a bonafide poker celebrity. Interestingly, though, his historical poker resume does not really lend itself to his celebrity status. While not bad by any means, $1,325,725 in career earnings is not nearly as much as one would think a star player would have accumulated. That said, Bellande is a very skilled poker player; there is more to poker than live tournaments.

Of course, Bellande has also become a pop culture celebrity when he competed on Survivor: China, the fifteenth season of the hit reality show. He was the eighth person voted off the show.

Other notables still alive in the Main Event include Christian Harder, Joe Serock, Dan O’Brien, Curt Kohlberg, and Will “The Thrill” Failla (who always seems to hang around in major events).

And in a lesson that leading a tournament one day guarantees nothing, the three chip leaders from yesterday – Don Nguyen, John Holsonback, and Mohsin Charania – are all out, though all of them did make the money. Two more of the top ten – Brian Rast and David Paredes – were eliminated on Monday, meaning half of Day 3’s top ten didn’t survive to Day 4.

The remaining 21 players will reconvene at noon Pacific on Tuesday and will play down to the televised six-handed final table.

2013 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic Main Event – Day 4 Chip Leaders

  1. Jean-Robert Bellande – 1,637,000
  2. Keith Tilston – 1,274,000
  3. Eddy Sabat – 1,026,000
  4. Christian Harder – 980,000
  5. Joe Serock – 949,000
  6. Barry Hutter – 766,000
  7. Dan Martin – 700,000
  8. Steven Silverman – 667,000
  9. Dan O’Brien – 643,000
  10. Gary Benson – 643,000


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