If the first episode of High Stakes Poker Season 11, which aired Monday on PokerGO, is any indication of how this season will go, poker fans are going to be in for a treat.
The game was bigger than ever before on the show as all six players at the table were in for at least $500,000, and straddles of $4,000 and above were on throughout the session. There were two HSP regulars — Jean-Robert Bellande and Andrew Robl — mixed in with four other familiar faces, including Rob Yong, Charles Yu, Rick Salomon, and Ferdinand Putra. Stack sizes when the show began were as follows:
Robl would add on to his stack later in the show and was above $1.6 million at one point. There were numerous monster pots, including top two pair running into a Royal Flush, which you can read about below.
Salomon, Bellande Getting in on the Early Action
The 11th season of the iconic poker show began with one of its most recognizable players, Bellande, raising the $4,000 straddle up to $11,000 with 8♠6♠. Action folded around to Salomon in the straddle, and there was no way he was going anywhere with A♦Q♦.
The former Mr. Pamela Anderson predictably went for a three-bet to $33,000 and received a call. The flop came out 6♥5♣3♥ and the preflop aggressor opted to check ace-high. Bellande, with top pair, then made an interesting decision to also check.
The turn was the 9♣, which added a straight draw for JRB. After Salomon checked, he bet $35,000 and put an end to the hand.
Moments later, the action really picked up with Bellande raising to $15,000 with K♦J♠. Robl, with A♠10♥ and Putra, holding A♣3♣, both called before Salomon followed suit with 10♣7♠ in the straddle.
Four-way to the flop it went, which came out A♥3♥9♣, multiple players hitting something interesting. Robl bet $15,000 with top pair before Putra, with two pair, raised it up to $45,000 and only Robl called.
Putra was loving the 7♣ on the turn as it also gave him the nut flush draw. With over $150,000 already in the pot, he went for a bet of $110,000, and this time it was enough to convince his opponent to fold.
Can Yu Get Paid off on Royal Flush?
In an epic hand, Putra raised to $11,000 with K♠Q♥ from an early position before Yu, in the small blind, called with A♣J♣. To the flop they went, which was quite juicy as it came 3♦Q♣K♣ – top two versus a Royal Flush draw.
Yu checked it over to his opponent and then check-raised the $10,000 wager up to $25,000. With top two, there was no way Putra was going anywhere. Alas, he made the call to see the 10♣ on the turn, completing Yu’s Royal Flush.
Yu opted to lead out for $25,000, about one-third the size of the pot, instead of slow-playing a hand that couldn’t possibly lose. Although three clubs were on the board and Putra didn’t have a club in his hand, he couldn’t possibly fold to just one bet with such a big hand.
The 6♣ on the river was an action-killer as it brought a fourth club among the community cards. Yu bet out $45,000, but that river card destroyed his chances of getting any value with his Royal Flush.
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Bellande Loses a Bunch
The spicy action would continue when Putra attempted some big bets with ace-high on a non-face card board and lost a pot of over $300,000 to Bellande, who refused to fold pocket jacks.
With $121,000 in the pot on the river in another hand – the board was showing K♦8♣7♣10♠9♥ – Robl went for razor thin value with 9♦9♣, betting out $11,000. The only problem for him and his set was that Putra had A♦J♦ for a straight and raised it up to $80,000. But Robl was unable to find a fold and paid off the bet.
On many occasions, JRB has been the victim of horrible luck during High Stakes Poker and other televised poker shows over the years. During Episode 1 of Season 11, he lost some monster pots, but luck wasn’t the main factor.
In the first of two questionable plays by the long-time high roller, he raised from an early position to $20,000 with 10♠10♣ – there was a $9,000 straddle on. Robl, in the small blind, made it $90,000 with 6♦4♦ and those two players went to the flop heads-up. It came A♣7♦5♣, giving Robl, who made a $60,000 continuation bet, an open-ended straight draw.
In position against an aggressive player, JRB didn’t think folding was a wise decision, so he made the call. The turn was the 3♦, giving Robl a straight to go along with a straight flush draw. He ripped off another bet, this one for $125,000. Bellande, drawing dead, sill wasn’t a believer and again called.
The river was the 7♣, which wasn’t exactly the card Robl wanted to see as it brought about the possibility of being up against a flush or a full house. That scare card forced him to check this time, and Bellande paused for a bit, perhaps considering a jam, before checking behind and then losing the $567,000 pot.
Later in the episode, on a board of 7♠8♥2♦3♦J♠ and $226,000 in the pot, he bet $60,000 with 8♣5♠ after Salomon checked back his K♠8♠. Bellande could have saved the last bet, although perhaps he was hoping to force a better eight off the pot. Salomon, however, decided on a call and scooped a $346,000 pot.
Episode 2 of High Stakes Poker Season 11 will air next Monday (August 14) at 5 p.m. on PokerGO.
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*Images courtesy of PokerGO