The poker world is full of some of the most interesting personalities in the world. Throughout the 2008 World Series of Poker the people behind WorldSeriesofPoker.com will bring you some one-on-one time with some of them. To kick things off, we go Heads-Up with Survivor: China contestant and professional poker player Jean-Robert Bellande.
WSOP.com: Tell us a little bit about your daily routine during the World Series of Poker?
BELLANDE: Well, I try to get enough sleep, but I am so excited for the World Series that I get up pretty early. Tournaments start around noon, so I could use to sleep a little bit later.
WSOP.com: What do you do to stay focused?
BELLANDE: I am really not going to play tournaments unless I really feel like playing. When I’m playing I am incredibly focused, I am really, really pleased with how focused I have been during the first few tournaments. Yesterday I decided not to play in the afternoon tournament because I was frustrated about how things went in the earlier event and I didn’t think my focus would be there. I thought that was a good decision, and this morning I lost in a live game, so I thought playing the $1K rebuy would be a mistake. I am making smart decisions on what tournament to play and what not to play, but when I do play I am 100% focused.
WSOP.com: Are there any events that you are looking forward to more than others?
BELLANDE: I am really, really looking forward to the 2-7 No Limit with rebuys tournament. I love that tournament, but I don’t even know if I can afford to play it. The average buy-in has got to be $20K or $25K, and honestly I don’t even know if I can buy-in myself for that. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a backer though.
WSOP.com: Do you listen to music at the table?
BELLANDE: No, I very rarely listen to music while I play. I am there trying to get reads, and catch every detail of each hand that is being played. Information is so valuable as you move deeper in a tournament.
WSOP.com: If you could bust any player from a tournament, whom would you love to bust?
BELLANDE: There is no doubt who I would pick. There is one person that if I could bust them, I would feel like a million dollars, and that person is John Juanda.
BELLANDE: You know what? It’s interesting. Every poker player has arguments and disagreements at the table but its poker, its no big deal. However, there is smugness to that individual that just rubs me the wrong way. He has also done very well against me, always gets there on every hand against me. It would bring me a lot of joy to knock him out of a tournament.
WSOP.com: Which poker players do you admire?
BELLANDE: There are a couple of guys that I admire most in poker. There are three in particular, and it’s probably because I know them all very well. Nick Schulman and Tom Dwan; just young players that are super smart. It’s incredible that with their age they are already seasoned. It’s encouraging, because they have been playing fewer years than I have and there skill level is superior to mine. Another one is Joe Cassidy; a very good friend of mine who is super poised and just “gets it”. These are guys that we are going to see around for a long time. They aren’t the biggest name in poker, but they will be around for a long time.
WSOP.com: We know that you like to party a little bit, so what’s your favorite place to celebrate after a big score.
BELLANDE: There is no doubt what the answer is. This is coming from a guy who is from the club business; there is one place that stands alone, and it’s Tryst. I just love Tryst. Perhaps because it’s open air, and has a cool waterfall, but Tryst is by far my favorite.