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Look Out: Michael Benvenuti

Look Out: Michael Benvenuti

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Jun 07, 2011


Michael BenvenutiMichael Benvenuti started playing poker a few years ago as a sophomore at the University of Texas. The last few years on the live-poker and virtual felts have been profitable for the 24-year-old poker professional, and the $1,880,240 he has won has paved a path for him from Austin, Texas, to Henderson, Nevada.

Benvenuti learned the game primarily online, and he also read a lot of forums to accelerate his learning curve. He made friends in the poker world, so he had people to discuss strategy with regularly. He also read a lot of books to supplement his interaction with other players. “I think the forums are really important, because for one, you get to learn what players are thinking. The game evolves quickly, and that is the best way to keep up with where the game is going. It is definitely a great tool for learning the fundamentals of strategy, and that is huge,” said Benvenuti.

The bulk of Benvenuti’s results have come online, but he started to cash regularly in live events in 2009. He won a $1,000 no-limit hold’em preliminary event at the World Poker Tour Southern Poker Championship that was good for $63,898 in January 2009. He made his first final table in a major tournament at the 2009 Caesars Palace Classic, where he finished second and took home $129,562. 2010 saw him score cashes at the World Series of Poker and WSOP Europe, as well as on the World Poker Tour.

His biggest cash to date was at the 2010 WPT Festa al Lago Classic at Bellagio. He took second place in a field of 335 players and was awarded $564,200 in prize money. “That was definitely a boost for my career. It helped out a lot to keep me motivated. It was my biggest score and it was televised, so it is definitely my most memorable moment,” said Benvenuti.

His online resume includes close to 100 cashes, and he has won four tournaments online. He won a PokerStars Super Tuesday $1,000 event in 2009 that was good for $75,855, and he has also made large scores in the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker ($81,296 in May 2010) and Full Tilt Online Poker Series ($47,500 in February 2011).

Benvenuti offered this advice to players who want to advance to a higher level, as he did. “Work on your game and play satellites, in order to take shots whenever you can. Hopefully, you can get into a big event from there and hit a big score.”

When he is not playing poker, Benvenuti enjoys an active lifestyle that includes golf, surfing, and snowboarding. His future plans rest with poker for the time being, but he plans on returning to the University of Texas one day to get his degree. ♠