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Canadian poker pro and former competitive e-gamer Griffin Benger is deep in the world's biggest poker tournament. In this video interview Benger talks about how much fun he's having making another run in the Main Event, and how he plans to play the PokerListings.com Battle of Malta in November. Benger is perhaps best known for winning the televised poker competition Shark Tank in 2014 for $1 million. He also made his mark in online tournaments under the screen-name Flush_Entity. Right now Benger has more than 1 million chips, good for a top 50 stack of the remaining 522 players. Benger's deepest Main Event run came in 2009 when he finished 90th out of 6,683 players. He also cashed the Main Event in 2012. Check out the full video interview with Griffin Benger at the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Griffin Benger: I'm excited. I mean, it's all been a pretty steady incline which is a bit terrifying for someone who has so much tournament experience and so much perspective. I know these things go on dips and stuff. It never really happens in a straight line. So I'm just trying to go with that flow, expecting the worst but hoping for the best and just letting it come to me.
Matt Showell: Are you having fun?
Griffin Benger: Yeah I am. I keep on making chips so it's hard not to have a good time when you're doing that.
Matt Showell: The last time I saw you was actually on line when you were commentating for the GPL. You were living in Malta. The Global Poker League is still in its infancy a bit but you've had an inside look so how was it?
Griffin Benger: It was great. It was a learning experience for sure. It was my first ever broadcasting gig and I had a lot of fun with it. I love being on camera and it was great getting an insight into players' thought processes. I think I'm a much better player. I think GPL is one of the best kept secrets in poker. Even though everyone knows about, there's so much good information there to learn from and get better and also to see the character of some of these people. It's been a lot of fun and I hope to come back.
Matt Showell: Like I said, GPL is still in its infancy and I think they're doing some things right, they're probably doing some things wrong. Alex Dreyfus is the first to admit there are things to improve. I know you come from a sports broadcasting background so are you hoping they might look to you a little bit? You're from Toronto which is a huge sports market.
Griffin Benger: I definitely have experience with what big sports-market stuff should look like and I definitely think we're moving in that direction. It's just a learning process and it's still very early on. I really believe in the product and I think by Season three, four, five, it's going to keep on getting better. It's really great that Alex has taken the initiative to make this a reality.
Matt Showell: The PokerListings office is in Malta. We have our tournament the Battle of Malta. I've sort of been sent here to get a commitment from you if we can expect to see you there.
Griffin Benger: Yeah, honestly, November 2nd is marked on my calendar. I had a chance to come into your office and see how everything's done and it was brilliant. I've heard a lot of things from some great people. Maria Ho's told me it's one of the best tournaments in Europe and that's coming from someone who's played all over the European Poker Tour.
Malta is such a beautiful place. It's like a little village community and it's where they filmed Game of Thrones. I mean, King's Landing is in Malta.
Matt Showell: And it's got a great poker community too.
Griffin Benger: Yeah so many good poker players there. So I think for anyone who wants a little vacation or anyone who's in Europe, you've gotta come down to the Battle of Malta. I think it's going to be great.
Matt Showell: We were talking to Maria Ho and had good news for her and I guess good news for you too given where you are in the Main Event. The November Nine was changed ...
Griffin Benger: Just for the Battle of Malta?
Matt Showell: The US presidential election was just a side benefit. So basically you could make the November Nine, win and still make it to Battle of Malta.
Griffin Benger: There you go. Book it.