Last December, the 2020 World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 Main Event domestic tournament – which played its first two days on WSOP.com – saw the final eight players of a 705-player field gather at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas to play down to a winner. Louisiana’s Joseph “kolebear” Hebert began with a big chip lead and managed to close it out for $1,553,256.
While known to many players in the South, the then 38-year-old Hebert was relatively unknown to the poker masses. Even so, he had amassed $667,664 in lifetime tournament earnings dating back to 2008 according to The Hendon Mob. His best score before his breakthrough was $140,932 for finishing runner-up in the 2013 WSOP Circuit Harrah’s New Orleans Main Event.
Hebert not only closed out the year strong, he began 2020 on a heater as well. Prior to the pandemic shutting down live poker in the U.S., he won the 2020 Million Dollar Heater $2,000 High Roller in Biloxi for $74,000.
Last summer while in Vegas, Hebert roomed with eight-time WSOPC ring winner Michael “miguelfiesta” Lech, who took down Event #13: $1,500 NLH High Roller Freezeout for $164,249 and his first bracelet.
Of course, Hebert was thrilled for his friend, and the very next day he was excited to make a run of his own in Event #14: $3,200 High Roller. Hebert found himself with some chips, and at one point he thought he might actually make a run at the bracelet, but ultimately a bad turn of cards saw him bust in 37th place for $7,238.
A couple of days later, Hebert flew home and, on the way, texted his mom the viral video of Lech doing his bracelet dance.
He explained: “She loved to see it. I texted her, ‘Man, one day I hope I can win a bracelet. It’s something I always dreamed of and I just don’t know how many more chances I’m going to have to do that.’ She texted me back and said, ‘I keep hoping and praying that what will be, will be. Things will work out.’ That was our last text, she passed away three days later.”
Hebert’s mother, Linda, who had been married to his dad, Jules, for more than 50 years, died unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism. She had been assisting some folks involved in an accident outside her home when she collapsed, and ironically, the ambulance she had called for others wound up trying to help her. Unfortunately, she died a few days later in the hospital.
“This is all for her, it’s #ForLinda, that’s my mom’s name,” an emotional Hebert revealed. “I just want everybody to know that."
Now, near the one-year anniversary of his mother's passing, Hebert is back in Vegas and once again looking to do it #ForLinda.
For more on Hebert, check out this video interview with PokerNews.