Benya-wins Bracelet!: David Benyamine Interview

David, you're a great player, that's been proven already, but surrounded by players who've all won bracelets in the big game, how big an issue was winning this bracelet for you?

So far it hasn't been an issue before, because I haven't really tried hard to play the tournaments, I've been playing the cash games, only playing tournaments sometimes. My first job has been to play the cash games. And a couple of people this year, they said, so far you're not doing anything in tournaments and so I turned around and said, this year I'm going to turn up and I'm going to show them.

Who said this to you?

[laughing] Ahh, I can't say that. They said, I don't think you can play tournaments, you can only play cash games, they said, OK, you won one but you've done nothing, no big results, so I said, I'll give it a try for one year and see what happens.

Does this encourage you to play more tournaments?

I like playing tournaments, but sometimes it's frustrating that I can win in a cash game what it takes three days to win in a tournament, the amount of times you finish second, third or [don't] even make the money but, well, now I have a new goal so we'll see!

David, usually tournaments like Omaha/Eight can be quiet, sedate affairs but today with Mike Matusow at the table that was never going to happen, as he keeps a steady stream of chat going throughout. How do you react to that?

Mike Matusow
Matusow: Has a big heart.

It doesn't bother me whatever he does; you know I've known him for years, he always does the same. I've been in tournaments with him many times and it really doesn't bother me. I love Mike, he's a great guy, he's got a really big heart, he gives a lot to poker so you've got to respect the character that he is.

When you were heads-up you had quite a big advantage. Did you feel that you were definitely going to win at that point?

Yeah; I didn't think I was going to lose at that point. Sometimes you can have doubts when the guy is making a big comeback, but he is a good player, but his game is much better in a ring game than when he gets short-handed.

I mean obviously short-handed I was just hitting too many cards, they had no chance today but even on another day, I think I would stand a better chance than the other players.

In a ring game, maybe he would stand a better chance as he is more patient. I had been pretty patient in this tournament, I was really motivated and I really tried hard!

You play a lot of Omaha online. Is it your favorite game?

I don't think I have a favorite game. I like poker; I like every game in poker. I don't even think I have a favorite really.

Who was your toughest opponent in the tournament?

I think it was myself and the deck! [laughter] The other day when I came third, even though I had lots of chips I felt like I wouldn't win.

Today, when we went short-handed I went on a rush, I had aces all the time, I showed down the best hand too many times; there's nothing they could possibly [have done].

The other day when I finished third it was the exact opposite, I was not even disappointed. I was trying to win but you should really be grateful whenever you make third or even a final table, sometimes even when you [only] make the money you should be glad when you feel like you gave your best.

You have now made three final tables in this Series, all in different games. Do you have high expectations for the H.O.R.S.E. tournament coming up?

I always do and never do.

Tournaments are very tricky; for a long time I haven't done anything. I didn't try as hard as I'm trying right now, but sometimes I did and I didn't get good results. I've lost so many times at the first round so I don't have especially high expectations.

It looks like I'm running good and there's a chance I'll do good. Who knows, maybe I'll win another one!

It looked like when it got to four-handed you started bullying the table. You knocked out the last three players. Did you feel like you had to put the heat on the remaining players at this point?


I mean I had a plan, as I usually do when it gets to three-, four-, five-handed. Short-handed is my best game - I play aggressive but not too much and I read what people have pretty well; that's my strength in poker. But I didn't even have time to put my plan in effect because I was hitting too many cards.

I had very, very strong hands to play with all the time. There's nothing they could have done today I think.

You play a lot with players who have a lot of bracelets; do they ever give you a hard time for not winning one yet and how does it feel to shut them up?

I don't think so, I think they have a lot of respect for my game. You don't have to win a bracelet for people to have respect for you. First of all if you respect them, then they should definitely have respect for you as a person. I think they have seen me win too many times for them not to have respect for me with or without a bracelet.

I don't know how many hundreds of tournaments they have played and I don't think I have even reached a hundred tournaments today so they have to consider that and if they don't, that's their problem!

I really never felt like I have anything to prove, I play poker because I like it and I will keep on doing it the same way!

Reportedly online you had a very good month in May? Is this true?

Really? I didn't hear about this! I had a good month because I have a very good girlfriend, nice family, a lot of friends who support me.

We have a very good ambience in Las Vegas between the poker players as well, that's why it's a good month!

What would you be doing if it weren't for poker?

In my dreams I would be an archeologist, because that's what I wanted to be!

I was just way way too lazy to work that hard for so many years but I think I would have found poker somehow because I have a lot of gamble in me!

Well done David, great job today!

Thanks very much!

***************

So David Benyamine picks up his first bracelet and seems poised and ready for further success. With three final tables and a bracelet already in the bag, he's also a prime contender for Player of the Year.

This win also further enhances the claims some have made that this is the "Year of the Pro." It's looking that way at the moment, with many of the big names of poker strapping gold to their wrists thus far. Can the amateurs hit back?

The rest of the Series is going to be fascinating for sure!

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