“Every One of My Friends Said I Was a Poker Genius”


A couple of weeks ago, benatiasmade the final table of the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up and banked $28,000, his largest score ever. That cash comes on the heels of wins in the $320 Saturday Super Knockout and Big $109 this year and the Israeli is up to over $600,000 in online MTT scores.

PocketFives: Congrats on the Warm-Up final table. How are you feeling about it?

benatias: Thank you. I feel so excited since it’s my best score so far. It was probably the best week I’ve had in my poker career. I chopped the $320 Super Knockout the Saturday before, so it was really amazing.

PocketFives: Walk us through how the Warm-Up went in general.

benatias: The Warm-Up is a pretty tough tournament. I was chip leader when there were 100 left and the field was pretty tough. The final table was the hardest part. I came into the final table with 20 big blinds. Only one guy had a really huge chip lead, so he put the rest of the guys and me in tough ICM spots. I think I played pretty well, though.

The last hand was pretty harsh. We were four-handed, the chip leader opened from under the gun, I had J-J just after him with about 15 big blinds, I 3bet shoved, everyone folded, and he tanked-called with A-J of spades. He made a straight on the river to send me home.

PocketFives: Do you have any plans for the money?

benatias: Not much. I’m going to save some and keep working hard on my game.

PocketFives: You’ve had your four largest tracked scores this year. Talk about 2015 and what kind of year it has been for you.

benatias: In the beginning of 2015, I joined the BBZ staking stable and got coached by BBZ and 87bowser. They really improved my game in the last year, so it was a pretty decent year poker-wise. I had a lot of support from my family and friends, so I feel it was a good year.

PocketFives: What poker goals do you have for 2016?

benatias: Keep working on my game. MTTs in general are pretty hard to beat, so I want to keep up the hard work on my game and maybe to start travel a bit to live tournaments like EPTs and maybe Vegas. And for sure I want to move up in stakes and start playing high-stakes MTTs regularly. I want to start playing the $100 Rebuy up to the Super Tuesday on a regular basis.

PocketFives: How did you get started in poker? And why was it interesting to you?

benatias: I think like everyone else did. I started in home games with friends. The game was really interesting. While my friends saw it like a gambling game, I realized there was a lot more involved like math and tells. Every one of my friends said I was a poker genius because I always won money in our home games.

I discovered online poker and couldn’t think of doing anything else in my life except playing poker for a living. The game really makes me happy.

PocketFives: Is there anything else you want to add?

benatias: I want to say thanks to all of my supporters, my family and friends, and big thanks to the BBZ stable for the opportunity that they gave me.

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