David Benyamine was born on July 5th 1972 in Paris, France. He was a professional tennis player before he discovered poker, but had to give up the sport due to a serious shoulder injury. Benyamine then gave billiards a try, and surprisingly became one of the top ten players in France. His nicknames include Napoleon and Dengenyamine. He was formerly engaged to Erica Schoenberg, a professional blackjack and poker player; however, their relationship did not work out. In 2004, it was alleged that Benyamine’s full name was similar to that of a suspected terrorist, and since he didn’t have a work permit to live in the United States of America, he was deported. He currently resides in Henderson, Nevada, with his daughter.
Benyamine was introduced to poker when he was only 12 years of age, but didn’t play professionally until many years later on. Being competitive by nature, Benyamine took up billiards, but soon moved on to poker because there was more promise in terms of cash prizes. He was mostly into cash games, rather than serious tournaments, but due to pressure from his peers, Benyamine decided to be more involved in tournaments from the year 2008. This is the year that he began to make serious cash earnings from playing the sport. As a result, billiards became a thing of the past.
The French poker star has made a name for himself by making four final tables in the World Poker Tour (WPT) events that he has participated in. In the year 2003, he emerged 1st in the Grand Prix de Paris, bagging a cash prize of over 590,000 US dollars. He has also won one bracelet in a World Series of Poker (WSOP) event. Other awards to Benyamine’s name in the poker world include: 6th position in the 2004 L.A Poker Classic, 2nd place in the Bellagio Cup IV in 2008 and position 4 in the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship in 2010.
Just like majority of his fellow poker mates, Benyamine used to play numerous online matches in the Full Tilt Poker site before it was shut down. Through this and his participation in live tournaments, Benyamine has earned over 4.5 million US dollars; a quarter of which have been accrued from his cashes in the WSOP events.
Undoubtedly, Benyamine owes most of his fame to his winning the coveted WPT Battle of Champions II title, an event which is invitational. Here, he beat major poker personalities such as Hoyt Corkins, Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari and Mel Judah. Benyamine has also become a popular name due to the fact that he made three final tables in the same year (2008) and even won a bracelet. Such consistency is bound to get anyone noticed.
Another contributing factor to the Frenchman’s fame is his former relationship with Schoenberg. Their relationship was in the limelight because they were both well-known personalities in the professional world of poker. There was a lot of speculation after the two broke up, and many rumors about how each party was affected. However, this didn’t stop their individual poker careers from flourishing.