High Stakes Poker Season 11 Premiere: Intense Gameplay and Spectacular Moments Unfold

August 15, 2023
Nenad Nikolic

The Season 11 premiere of High Stakes Poker brought an electrifying start with a spectacular Royal Flush sighting on the grandest HSP episode. If this initial installment serves as a preview for the upcoming season, poker enthusiasts are in for a truly captivating experience.

The stakes soared to unprecedented heights in this episode, as all six players seated at the table were committed to a minimum of $500,000 each. Additionally, elevated straddle bets of $4,000 and beyond remained consistehroughout the session. Among the participants were a pair of regulars, Jean-Robert Bellande and Andrew Robl, joined by four other well-known faces: Rob Yong, Charles Yu, Rick Salomon, and Ferdinand Putra.

Robl made a strategic move to augment his chip stack as the episode progressed, ultimately amassing over $1.6 million at a particular juncture. The game was punctuated by several colossal pots, including a remarkable occurrence where a top two pair collided with a Royal Flush.

Salomon and Bellande Initiate the Action

The 11th season of the iconic poker show has commenced with a familiar face, Bellande, elevating the $4,000 straddle to $11,000 using 8♠6♠. The action circled back to Salomon, seated in the straddle position, and he certainly wasn't relinquishing his spot with A♦Q♦. The former spouse of Pamela Anderson logically executed a three-bet, escalating it to $33,000, which found a caller. The flop unveiled 6♥5♣3♥, and the pre-flop aggressor checked with his ace-high. Holding top pair Bellande took an intriguing path by also choosing to check. As the turn card, 9♣, made an entrance, introducing a straight draw for JRB, he took advantage of Salomon's check and placed a $35,000 bet, effectively concluding the hand. In another captivating moment, the action surged forward as Bellande initiated proceedings with a $15,000 raise, equipped with K♦J♠. Robl, holding A♠10♥, and Putra, with A♣3♣, both made the call. Salomon, positioned in the straddle, mirrored the call with 10♣7♠. Thus, a four-way encounter unfolded, leading to a flop of A♥3♥9♣, significantly benefiting multiple participants. Robl, owning the top pair, laid a $15,000 bet, prompting Putra, holding two pair, to amplify the stakes to $45,000, with only Robl responding. The 7♣ on the turn delighted Putra as it conferred the nut flush draw upon him. With an already substantial pot of over $150,000, Putra confidently wagered $110,000, compelling his adversary to fold ultimately.

Putra initiated proceedings with an $11,000 raise in an extraordinary showdown while holding K♠Q♥ from an early position. Yu, positioned in the small blind, entered the fray with A♣J♣. The ensuing flop, 3♦Q♣K♣, bore an intriguing dynamic as it pitted the top two against a Royal Flush draw. Yu opted to check, subsequently opting for a check-raise, augmenting the $10,000 bet to $25,000. Armed with a commanding top two hand, Putra certainly wasn't backing down. Thus, he made the call, leading to the appearance of the 10♣ on the turn, which actualized Yu's Royal Flush. Using an assertive approach, Yu introduced a $25,000 bet, a fraction of the pot's magnitude, instead of a cautious strategy. Despite three clubs on the board and Putra's absence of a club in hand, the latter couldn't bring himself to fold such a formidable hand. As the river card, 6♣, materialized, it dampened the action, introducing a fourth community card of the club suit. Yu pursued the initiative with a $45,000 bet, yet the river card's composition curtailed his prospects of extracting full value from his Royal Flush.

Bellande's Setbacks

The intense gameplay persisted as Putra embarked on audacious bets with an ace-high hand on a board devoid of face cards, culminating in a $300,000 loss to Bellande, who adamantly clung to pocket jacks. In a subsequent hand, featuring a board of K♦8♣7♣10♠9♥ and a pot worth $121,000, Robl attempted a subtly profitable maneuver with 9♦9♣, betting $11,000. However, his set was met with a challenging response from Putra, wielding A♦J♦ for a straight. Putra's counter was a raise to $80,000, which Robl, unable to extricate himself, ultimately met.

Throughout his poker career, Bellande has often grappled with unfavorable luck throughout his poker career on High Stakes Poker and various televised poker platforms. In this inaugural episode of Season 11, Bellande was entangled in several high-stakes pots, but it wasn't solely attributed to luck. In one of two debatable decisions the seasoned high roller made, he initiated proceedings with a $20,000 raise from an early position, armed with 10♠10♣, as a $9,000 straddle stood. Robl, stationed in the small blind, reasserted himself with a $90,000 raise, brandishing 6♦4♦.

The two players thus confronted the flop heads-up, revealing A♣7♦5♣. Robl, who executed a $60,000 continuation bet, was presented with an open-ended straight draw. In a tactical response against an aggressive opponent, JRB found folding an unsuitable choice and opted to call. The turn card, 3♦, emerged, delivering a straight and a straight flush draw to Robl. With another bet of $125,000, Robl advanced his strategy. Despite being in a dire situation, Bellande remained resolute and continued his call. As the river card unveiled the 7♣, an unfavorable development for Robl, given the potential for a flush or entire house, he elected to check, urging Bellande to deliberate momentarily. After contemplation, Bellande decided against a final bet, allowing Robl to claim the substantial $567,000 pot.

Later in the episode, on a board displaying 7♠8♥2♦3♦J♠ and a pot valued at $226,000, Bellande contributed a $60,000 bet with 8♣5♠, following Salomon's check-back with K♠8♠. Bellande's chance ultimately became an inadvertent contribution to Salomon's triumph, as the latter opted for a call and secured a $346,000 pot.

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