The Raptore of David Benefield

Dec. 23, 2011, Posted by rick.dacey

The Raptore of David Benefield

For this column I was going to broach that monumental PokerStars $10m guaranteed tournament. Someone – Canadian ‘First-Eagle’ as it would happen – had just won a life changing score with more than a million dollar return on his $215 buy-in. Four others (almost five) had scooped upwards of $500,000 in a six-way deal that took place as many British nine-to-fivers were on their second tea or coffee at around 10am.

I was going to discuss the final table negotiations by Aussie player ‘tunafish919’ who managed to wrangle an extra $60,000 as the short stack, winning more than eventual runner-up ‘Unstoffable’, simply by sticking his heels in and insinuating that he was prepared to gamble, gamble, gamble.

I even considered breaking down how young Brit Adam Matues must have felt going to bed after busting in 22nd place after getting sucked out AK

 We’ve heard it all before. Not just Adam. All of it: the near-hits, the booms, the busts and a never-ending spin of superlatives that only serve to numb any lingering sense of wonder, so it was with heavy fingers I sat down.


Raptor revelations

What you hear about less frequently is about a poker player genuinely changing their life, less so when that player is someone who has blazed a trail at some of the highest stakes and is willing to speak openly and eloquently about it. That’s why everyone in poker - pro player or recreational fan - should take a look at David ‘Raptor’ Benefield’s well* on poker forum Two Plus Two. It’s a fascinating and genuine insight into the life and times of a key figure of the American online wunderkind generation who, alongside Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan, Phil Galfond and the brothers Dang, applied razor-sharp insight, fierce analysis and thousands of hours into winning dollars by the bucket load.


Benefield, having raked in those millions grinding online throughout the early poker boom, decided that poker wasn’t going to be the only thing in his life. He’s gone back to studying where he’s learning Chinese and taking philosophy classes simply because they interest him, ala the Steve Jobs’ ‘Stay hungry. Stay foolish’ motto. It might not be for everyone and it’s fair to say that not every winning pro could just give up their sole source of income, but it’s certainly food for thought.

While I could flagellate myself into a frenzy of cut-and-pasting it’s probably better that you just indulge yourself. Approach it as you would the Tate Modern or the early, less desperate, stages of a night club: move through it at whatever pace you so choose. Stop and stare or tear through it looking for the best bits, whichever suits. Dive in, it’s a fascinating read:


* A forum ‘well’ is a free-for-all where the subject answers any and all questions posed to them with as much honestly as they can muster.

Rick Dacey has been writing, reporting, living and breathing poker since leaving conventional journalism in August 2005 to join the launch team of PokerPlayer magazine, an anarchic mag that became Britain’s best selling poker title. Since going freelance in 2008 Dacey has split his time between playing and writing about the game, becoming a regular feature on the European poker circuit in the process. He can often be spotted stalking between tournament tables carrying a notepad, pen and sour expression or, after play has ended, with a beer, expletives and stolen sandwich. He tweets under the  handle and can also be found spouting vitriol at


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