Jean-Robert Bellande Interview
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
JRB reveals One Drop plans.
Just the other day, high-stakes favourite Jean-Robert Bellande posted a photo on Instagram showing him buying into the Big One for One Drop with fat stacks of cash. But where did Mr ‘Broke Living’ get the money to stump up the cool $1 million buy in? We find out.
We’ll go straight in – you’re playing the One Drop. How did that happen?
I wanted to play last time, a couple of years ago. I raised about 60% of the money and then it didn’t happen. I did play the small One Drop last year and had a lot of fun, I actually got off to quite a good start, but then lost all my chips to Timoshenko. Recently I’ve had a couple things go my way, and had a few people say they were interested in partnering with me for the One Drop. So I decided to give it a go.
There’s a lot of speculation on what % of yourself you have. How much is it?
I can say I have less than 30% of myself. I can’t say much more than that.
There’s been a lot of hype around you entering – how much notice do you take of that?
Well, every time a guy who’s pretty much known for not having any money comes up with a million dollars I expect there to be a lot of attention given to that. I’m just really really excited about the opportunity to play. I’m really looking forward to taking part, and the whole televised aspect of it. I’ve got a really good feeling about this. Don’t be surprised if you see me going really deep in this event.
Last year you posted a picture of your CHASE bank which had $10k in it, which you said was your WSOP Main Event buy-in – but you didn’t cash in the Main Event. What happened after that?
That is true. Since then I haven’t been playing many tournaments. I think I’ve only played something like 2-3 tournaments in the last six months. I’ve been playing a lot of cash games, and having bits of success here and there. I had a pretty good score recently at my buddy Dan Bilzerian’s house. It wasn’t quite as good a score as he was making it sound, but that gave me a chance to put a decent portion away. I’m not going to be broke living any more!
Can you tell us a bit more about the score at Dan Bilzerian’s house?
The funny thing is, you would think that I’d beat him out of his money, and that’s not at all what happened. He was winning a ton of money at the time, he was just upset that I was winning just as much or more than he was! It was so funny – as much money as he was winning, you’d think he’d be thrilled, but he was miserable every time I won a pot. Regardless of whether it was against him, or not. The funny thing is, he’s on my side. He’s a little frustrated about when we did business together and it didn’t work out. Now he sees it working out for me and his own buddy who’s doing business with me now. He’s a little bitter about that! I keep teasing him. He acts all miserable about me winning, but really, Dan’s in my corner. If I end up winning this One Drop I promise you, he’s going to be one of the happiest people for me. He loves to give me a hard time and loves busting my balls and I do the same to him. I’m a fan of his; I’m not going to say he’s a fan of mine, but he’s definitely in my corner.
What was the extent of your business with him?
He staked me for a little bit, and he lost about a million dollars, so he pulled out and that was that.
You’re both party guys – do you compete with each other in that respect?
I like Dan’s little shtick, he kind of took what I was doing and blew it up to another level. He saw my broke living thing and said, ‘Let me give the world a taste of some rich living!’ It’s just amazing seeing him with two million followers on Instagram, things are insane with that guy. I’m happy for him.
He’s the rich living to your broke living? Brilliant.
Yeah [laughs]. I told him we should do a TV show, ‘Rich Living vs. Broke Living’. I think it’d be pretty popular, actually!
I’d watch that. Your whole persona is built around broke living – will you have to reinvent yourself if you win One Drop?
The whole thing of broke living isn’t so much about me being broke, necessarily. It’s just the actual excerpts of what’s going on in my life, and the struggles of being in and out of broke. I’m a very candid person – I’m transparent, and happy to tell people exactly what’s going on with me all the time. If I see a nice piece of success coming up for me, you guys will know about that, too.
Do you foresee that taste of success coming up soon?
2014 has been an amazing year for me, and I feel like it’s just going to get better and better. Winning One Drop would be amazing. I do feel like I have a better chance than most people, and I’ll tell you why. I play poker a little bit better than most people think I do. But more importantly, I know how to play against fellow pros, AND I know how to play against business guys. In the cash games I play against both groups all the time. There’s a difference – you can’t play against the two the same, and I’m somebody who understands that difference. I think that’s going to give me an edge.
Do a lot of people underestimate you?
Is there anyone who’s confirmed to play at the moment you’d rather avoid if you can help it?
I’m looking forward to competing against everyone. There are certain guys out there who are extra tough, and who I have a lot of respect for. I don’t really want to be playing short-handed with Brian Rast, Andrew Robl, Scott Seiver and Antonio. These guys are all super tough. I’m not fearing anybody, though, but obviously I’d rather be up against less tough opponents.
What will you do with the money if you win?
[laughs] That’s probably why so many of the pros are rooting for me! I assure you, if I did win then that money would be going straight back in action. That money’s not going to Australia or anywhere else, it’s going to be right here in the community, ready for action.
Awesome. People say you’re the ‘wildcard’, how do you feel about that?
I am the wildcard. The chances of me playing this most people would have rated as slim to none. Me playing seems to be just a win for everybody. My boss Bobby Baldwin over at Aria is thrilled about it, my buddy Ty Stewart over at the World Series of Poker is absolutely thrilled about it, and Guy [Laliberté] sent me a personal text just a few days ago to say congratulations, and invited me to come and have a drink with him to discuss things. It’s just a win for everybody. I’ve been fortunate to have been put in a spot where I’m kind of an ambassador for our poker community, and I hope to represent properly. I think a win here would be good for me and for poker in general.
Is that a lot of pressure?
It’s not, actually. It’s an honour, it really is. Me winning this One Drop would be akin to when Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP Main Event. It’s something that would be great for poker.
What are you going to be doing in the run up to it?
I’ll be playing some smaller events at the World Series, and playing cash games.
Should the pros who have already signed up be scared?
I just think everybody out there should go out there and try their best to win. I’m not rooting against anyone, I’m just rooting for myself a little more!