Biography of David Benyamine
David Benyamine has successfully earned both a World Series of Poker bracelet and a World Poker Tour title which reflects his incredible skills and effective techniques. Benyamine recently made it to number two on France's All Time Money List, having made over $6.4 million from poker so far.
Benyamine claims to be a Pot Limit Omaha specialist, although many of his most noteworthy accomplished were while playing other variations of poker. Either way, no one can overlook the fact that Benyamine is a very talented and respected poker player, having been asked to make guest appearances in both NBC'S Poker After Dark and the Game Show Network's High stakes poker.
David Benyamine was born in Paris, France on July 5th, 1972. He learned the basics of poker when he was only twelve year old, but he was such a talented tennis player that all of his time was devoted to that. It wasn't long before he started playing tennis professionally, but a severe shoulder and back injury lead to his early retirement.
Slightly depressed and unsure of what career path he should take, Benyamine started going to the casino more regularly to play rummy and pool, which he excelled at for several years before being introduced to poker. He ironically first started playing five-card draw poker, which he would now say is his least favorite variant.
The Switch to a Career in Poker
Benyamine eventually started playing Omaha and Texas Hold'em cash games at the local casinos with his friends, but many of them noticed his natural talent and love for the game so they encouraged him to start entering more tournaments. The first time he won a group competition was in 1999, at the Autumn Tournament in Paris, taking first place in the No-Limit Texas Hold'em event.
In 2002, Benyamine placed third in back to back No Limit Hold'em tournaments at the prestigious Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. Today he's a regular at the "Big Game" in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio, staking thousands of dollars every time he plays. He once played there for two and a half days straight, only leaving the table for quick bathroom breaks.
Benyamine was ecstatic to hear that the World Poker Tour would be stopping in Paris, France. Excited for some tougher competition, Benyamine entered the 2003 Grand Prix de Paris event, expecting to get beaten since he was going up against more experienced players. Many poker stars were competing that day including Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu. Even though all the odds were against him, Benyamine managed to win his first WPT title and over $410,000 in prize money.
The following year Benyamine had a run in with the San Diego, California FBI, because his name and appearance was similar to a person on the terrorist watch list, and to further add to their suspicion, he had over $25,000 in his wallet. They quickly discovered that they were mistaken, but Benyamine still had to be deported back to France because he didn't have the proper work visa he needed to continue playing in Las Vegas as a professional poker player.
He was prohibited from entering the United States for a full year, so he focused on tournaments in Europe for awhile. He competed in the Pacific Poker UK open tournament where he managed to make several final tables and landing both a first and a fourth place finish.
Benyamine came back to the United States with a three year work visa and more determination than ever. Immediately after returning he joined the Battle of Champions II invitational event of the World Poker Tour in Los Angeles. He creamed his opponents, defeating both Phil Laak and Antonio Esfandiari for the $25,000 grand prize.
Benyamine entered the World Series of Poker about a dozen times before he ever won anything substantial. In 2008 he made three final tables and won first place in the $10,000 buy in Omaha Hi-Lo Split, bringing home over half a million dollars. Less than a month later, Benyamine was chasing after his second WPT title at the Bellagio Cup IV. It was a close match, but Benyamine couldn't pull through for the win, losing to Michael Watson in the final round, but still managing to take home the second place prize of $840,000.
Benyamine was sponsored by Full Tilt Poker for several years before the site was shut down in 2011. He won a significant amount of money playing $200/$400 Pot Limit Omaha at their high stakes poker tables, using various screen names such as, "magicpitch1", "ballsrider", and "looseslots."
His most recent accomplishments are taking first place in the 2013 WSOP Poker Player's Championship event for $497,000 and for taking eleventh place in the 2014 WSOP $10,000 buy in H.O.R.S.E event for another $34,000.
Benyamine was engaged to Erica Schoenberg, an accomplished poker player in her own right, but they have since parted ways. No information has ever been released on why they decided to split up, not that it matters anymore, because Erica is now married to Erick Lindgren.
Today he currently lives in Henderson, NV with his daughter from a previous relationship. Benyamine still enjoys playing tennis and billiards in his free time and he actually is ranked #10 of France's Best Billiards Player of all-time list.
Author: Nicole Miller
Updated: October 2016
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