David Benyamine has a reputation as one of the best poker players in the world. The 35-year-old can regularly be found at the highest stakes tables in the world, both online and live, facing off against the biggest names in the game.
His success in cash games has been so astronomical that the the former tennis pro rarely plays tournaments because he said he can win in a cash game in one night what would take him three days to win in a tournament, and that's only if he took first place.
But earlier this year, someone lit a fire under Benyamine.
"They said 'I don't think you can play tournaments, you can only play cash games, that's all you can do,'" Benynamine said. "So I said, okay, I'm going to try for one year and then let's see at the end of the year what I will do."
What he's done this year was already impressive: Three deep finishes in three different varieties of poker, consisting of two final tables and one 10th place near-miss in the World Championship of Seven Card Stud Eight-or-better.
If there were any critics left, they were silenced on Saturday when Benyamine finished off one of the highest caliber fields of the 2008 WSOP to win Event #37, the World Championship of Omaha Eight-or-better.
The final table of Event #37 featured nine pros whose combined WSOP achievements included 139 cashes, 59 final tables and 11 bracelets. Benyamine had a substantial chip lead when the final table kicked off and after Tony Ma, David Chiu, Ram Vaswani, Eugene Katchalov and Mike Matusow were all eliminated, it was down to four players: Benyamine, WSOP bracelet holder Toto Leonidas Australian-born poker pro Jason Gray and Greg Jamison, who has an exemplary Omaha Eight-or-better record that boasts 10 final tables, including a 6th place finish at last years WSOP World Championship.
"Short-handed I was just hitting too many cards," Benyamine said after taking down the Championship. "They had no chance today."
Benyamine eliminated Leonidas and Gray to get heads-up with Jamison, but the 3.6:1 chip deficit was more than Jamison could overcome. The 41-year-old Las Vegas poker pro was knocked out in 2nd place, earning $331,350, the biggest tournament cash of his career.
Benyamine's win earned him $535,687, his first WSOP bracelet and the title of 2008 World Champion of Omaha Eight-or-better.
"I was really motivated and I really tried hard," Benyamine said.
Benyamine, who shares his time between Las Vegas and Paris, estimated that he's played less than 100 tournaments in his poker career, giving more weight to his results which include a World Poker Tour title and now a WSOP World Championship.
"I never really felt like I had anything to prove, I play poker because I like it."
For the full list of payouts from the Omaha Eight-or-better World Championship, head over to the WSOP results page.