– General Introduction –
David Benyamine is a French professional poker player and former professional tennis player. He was born on July 5th, 1972 in Paris, France.
He is a WSOP gold bracelet winner. He won the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split event for $535,687 in 2008.
In the poker world, he’s best known for his regular appearances on classic American poker TV shows Poker After Dark on NBC and High Stakes Poker on The Game Show Network. He also played super high stakes mixed game cash games online on the now defunct poker site Full Tilt.
– Key Career Dates –
- 1998: He starts playing live cash games at the Aviation Club de France in Paris.
- 2007:He starts appearing on the classic poker TV show Poker After Dark on NBC.
- 2008: He wins his first WSOP gold bracelet after finishing first in the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split event for $535,687.
- 2011: He finishes 3rd in the A$250,000 Super High Roller NLHE event at the Aussie Millions for $1.088 million. That is the biggest single live tournament cash of his career to date.
– David Benyamine’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Benyamine grew up in Paris, France. As a child, he wanted to become an archeologist – however, he quickly gave that dream up after discovering he had a shot at becoming a professional tennis player. Sometime partway through his transition, his family taught him how to play 5-Card Draw at the age of 12.
He even was ranked in the top 25 youth tennis players in the world at some point. Sadly, however, Benyamine had to give up tennis due to his chronic shoulder pain at the age of 18. While the decision initially devastated him, he turned to pool after a while to make his living. He eventually became one of the best pool players in France. Then, he switched to cards – however, at first he played Gin Rummy, not poker.
At the age of 26, one of his Gin Rummy player friends showed him the cash game room in the legendary (and sadly, now closed) Aviation Club de France card room in Paris. He quickly fell in love with this new, exciting and potentially highly profitable game, Texas Hold’em.
By 1999, he was regularly cashing in low and mid stakes No Limit Hold’em tournaments in France.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Benyamine has cashed for $7.862 million in live tournaments during his long career, according to his Hendon page. That sum is the product of cashes in 112 different tournaments over the course of 20 years.
The first recorded result on his page is from June 1999. He finished 8th in a FF1,000 (FF being the old currency, French Franc) NLHE tourney at the Summer Festival in his favorite venue, Aviation Club de France. He won FF1,400, which equaled around $222 at the time.
Up until the summer of 2002, he only played events in his home country of France. In that early period in his career, the biggest score for him was FF467,000 ($66,666). He earned that for coming in 2nd in the FF30,000 NLHE European Championships event at the Euro Finals of Poker in February 2001.
He first came to the US to play in 2002. His big break soon followed: after returning to France, he took down the €10,000 WPT Grand Prix de Paris tournament at – where else – the Aviation Club. He won a massive €357,200 after defeating Jan Boubli heads-up for the title.
It was the first time Benyamine made a cash for over $100K. After that one, all the big scores started coming in for him.
In July 2008, he finished 2nd in the $15,000 WPT NLHE event at the Bellagio Cup for $840,000. In January 2011, he came in 3rd in the A$250,000 Super High Roller NLHE event at the Aussie Millions for $1.088 million. That is his biggest single live tournament score to date.
→ World Series of Poker ←
David Benyamine has won one WSOP gold bracelet so far.
In 2008, he took down the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Lo Split event for $535,687. He beat the American Greg Jamison heads-up for the title.
Omaha has always been a specialty game for Benyamine, as evidenced by a number big cashes in Omaha events at the World Series.
In 2008, he came in 3rd in the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha (Rebuy) event for $316,307. In 2018, he finished 7th in the $25,000 PLO 8-Handed High Roller for $161,020.
He also has a final table finish from the biggest mixed game event every year, the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. He took 4th place for $497,122.
In 2010, he made a deep run in the Main Event. He eventually busted in 58th place in a field of 7,319 players and won $138,285. That year, Jonathan Duhamel from Canada won the Main.
Overall, Benyamine has cashed 40 World Series events, for a total of $2.541 million combined.
→ Live Cash Games ←
As we wrote in our intro, Benyamine started his career playing No Limit Hold’em cash in Aviation Club de France. He never fully abandoned this format, although later in his career, he put more volume into tournament play.
He has been a regular in the world’s most famous high stakes cash room at the Bellagio, Bobby’s Room (now renamed Legend’s Room). According to the casino’s website, the minimum buy-in in there is $20,000, which – applying the industry standard 50 BB minimum stack – would mean that the stakes are $200/$400. However, we know from the players’ reports that games are usually much bigger there – even as high as $4,000/$8,000…
Benyamine has also appeared on a number of TV shows where he played live cash in front of cameras. He played on both classic poker shows, Poker After Dark on NBC and High Stakes Poker on The Game Show Network.
He was featured in a total of 15 episodes, in seasons 3 through 6, on High Stakes Poker. There, he played sessions of $300/$600 NLHE cash with a $100 ante against – among others, Doyle Brunson, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu.
In one hand, Benyamine turned a straight flush against Sammy Farha’s set of 2’s, which earned him a nice $500,600 pot.
Benyamine also appeared on Live at the Bike, a live cash game stream broadcast from the Bicycle Casino in California. In December 2017, he played a session of $25/$50 Pot Limit Omaha with Joe Ingram in the line-up.
→ Online Poker ←
Benyamine used to play super high stakes cash games on the late poker site Full Tilt. He played on two different accounts, something that was allowed on FT back in the day.
One of his accounts was “MR B 2 U SON”. There, according to the online cash game database, he lost around $1.570 million in a 60,000-hand sample from between November 2008 and July 2009. His most common game was the mixed game H.O.R.S.E.
His other account was his FT sponsored account – with the screen simply being the same as his actual name, David Benyamine.
On that account, HSDB has 585,500 hands tracked and a $1.497 million profit recorded – almost balancing out his losses on his other account. There, too, Benyamine played mostly H.O.R.SE.
His biggest ever recorded pot is from a 3-handed $500/$1,000 NLHE cash game. He won $607,247 against fellow former tennis pro Patrik Antonius.
As we wrote above, Benyamine was a sponsored pro for the now defunct poker site Full Tilt.