Griffin Benger, one of the most decorated players in PocketFives history, had no intentions of playing even a single event at the 2016 World Series of Poker. He’d been in Malta working as one of two commentators for the Global Poker League and playing a little bit on online, mostly on Sunday.
It was on one of those Sundays, six weeks ago, that Benger was clicking buttons when he saw a WSOP Main Event satellite on 888 poker and he decided to take a shot. Only problem was that with the tournaments he was already playing, he didn’t have enough in his account to cover the $1,060 buy-in.
“I just decided to play a satellite last minute on 888 poker, just deposited just to play it,” said Benger, who has $6,491,997 in lifetime online earnings. “I had a good feeling about the $1K satellite and I played it and won it.”
Benger, who has held the #1 spot in the PocketFives Rankings five times in his career, suddenly had to make plans to come to Las Vegas and play.
“I didn’t come out for any other part of the Series, just came out for the Main Event and so far, it’s working out,” said Benger. With less than 150 players still in the field, Benger is able to draw on some experience he’s had in past Main Events that saw him run deep.
“I’ve kinda been here before, which is really rare, people say it’s a once in a lifetime thing. It doesn’t feel too surprising that I’m here again. I’m just extremely grateful and I just want to make sure I don’t make any mistakes and that i stay focused,” said Benger, who finished 304th in 2012 and 90th in 2014. “It’s hard though, it’s a lot of pressure once you actually have this kind of stack. You don’t want to get too happy and you don’t want to get too ‘impending boom’, but things happen. So I’m just expecting the worst and praying for the best pretty much.”
The six-time PocketFives Triple Crown winner is also relying heavily on his online poker acumen and looks at poker’s most prestigious live series as a variation on something every online poker grinder is very familiar with.
“If you really think about it, the World Series of Poker is just one glorified Sunday with the amount of tournaments you’re playing and sometimes you brick Sundays, and when you brick Sundays you’re probably not going to be doing that great in the last tournament,” said Benger. “I think a lot of Main Event success is bred from having some time off. A lot of the people that just come out here for a few events at the end, I think they are going to have more success in the Main Event, unless they’ve had a really good summer, which not a lot of people.”