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PokerNews Top Three: Best Poker Moments in Reality TV

Jean-Robert Bellande

Rumors have been swirling for months that Phil Hellmuth with be a competitor on the upcoming season of Dancing With the Stars. The general consensus in the poker world is that his appearance would be highly entertaining and comical, good for TV either way. Whether the rumors pan out to be true, only time will tell. In the meantime, PokerNews has taken a look back at other poker superstars who've been contestants on reality TV and compiled a list of their top three moments.

Tiffany Michelle & Maria Ho Fail to Complete Detour on the Amazing Race

The Amazing Race is one of the most popular reality television shows in history. In its 15th season, the show welcomed Tiffany Michelle, last woman standing at the 2008 World Series of Poker, and Maria Ho, newly minted UB pro and the last woman standing at the 2007 WSOP, as one of their all-female teams. The pair proved to be quite the savvy racers, although they attempted to hide their profession as poker players from the other teams. Once found out, Michelle and Ho became disliked by the other teams who believed them to be manipulative and dishonest.

Michelle and Ho performed well but were eliminated on the seventh leg of the race, placing sixth out of twelve. Their elimination came after neither woman could complete a task, called a “Detour,” in the Netherlands. Here is a description of the two detours Michelle and Ho failed to finish, as described by Wikipedia.

“In this leg's Detour, teams chose between Farmer's Game or Farmer's Dance . . . In Farmer's Game, teams had to strip down to their Dutch underwear and swim across a creek. On the other side, they had to retrieve a special set of golf clubs and play 3 holes of Farmersgolf. Team members took turns with each stroke and had to finish within par of 8 strokes on each hole to receive their next clue. In Farmer's Dance, teams had to find a country festival where one team member had to hit the bell on a high striker (if that team member failed, team members would take turns until they hit the bell). They then had to enter a dance hall to learn a traditional Dutch folk dance and perform that dance in front of a crowd.”

Since neither woman could successfully finish Farmersgolf in eight strokes nor hit the bell on the high strike, they were forced to take a 24-hour penalty which ultimately led to their elimination. Here is a clip of Michelle and Ho opting out of the detour.

Jean-Robert Bellande Gets Ego Stroked on Survivor

Survivor is the show that ignited the reality TV craze way back in 2000. Now with over 20 seasons, it is one of the most successful television shows of all-time. In its 15th season, Survivor producers attempted to get poker superstar Daniel Negreanu on the show. When he declined citing his unwillingness to travel during the summer and miss the WSOP, producers recruited Jean-Robert Bellande.

It is no secret that Bellande has a bit of an ego, which ended up hurting him in the game. During the show, Bellande performed well and found himself in a decent alliance. He made it to the tribal merge but was soon blindsided by members of his alliance, most notably eventual winner Todd Herzog. Bellande was voted out in eighth place and became the second member of the jury. It was there that Bellande, who was upset by the betrayal, confronted Herzog. Ever the player, Herzog realized he could stroke Bellande’s ego to his advantage. During the Final Tribal Council, he did just that by telling Bellande what he wanted to hear and stroking the big man’s ego. Bellande took the bait and ended up giving Herzog his vote. Watch Bellande get buttered up below.

Joan Rivers Goes Ballistic on Annie Duke on the Celebrity Apprentice

Perhaps the most successful poker player turned reality TV star was none other than Annie Duke, who appeared on the second Celebrity Apprentice. She played the game alongside the likes of Joan Rivers, Melissa Rivers, Clint Black, Jesse James, and Brande Roderick. Even against such stiff competition, Duke managed to raise the most money of all the contestants, an astounding $730,725 for Refugees International.

During the course of the competition, an intense rivalry developed between Duke and the elder Rivers, with the latter labeling the former a “Nazi” and “a piece of s**t.” Rivers went on to attack the character of poker players the world around, saying “Poker players are trash, darling, trash.” Fittingly, Duke and Rivers were the last two contestant left in the game and faced off in the final boardroom in front of Donald Trump. Anyone who watched the show could clearly see that Duke was the better player, but Rivers was more well-known to the general public and ultimately awarded the title as the “Celebrity Apprentice.” Check out the incident that sparked the Duke/Rivers rivalry in the clip below.

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