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Benyamine takes Party Poker Premier League IV title

19 Feb 2010

GIBRALTAR -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- 37-year-old professional David Benyamine has taken down the Party Poker Premier League IV title at the M Resort in Las Vegas. Benyamine, a French poker legend and a resident of Las Vegas, overcame a final table that also included Daniel Negreanu, Phil Laak, Roland De Wolfe, Luke 'FullFlush' Schwartz and Party Poker online qualifier Giovanni Safina, a 44-year-old lawyer from Palermo, Italy , who qualified through an online satellite for just 100 euros. The total prize pool was $1.5 million, with $300,000 added by PartyPoker.com.

Benyamine has not played a tournament so far this year until the PartyPoker.com Premier League IV and has been extremely quiet on the circuit in general for the last 12 months. Regarded as a legendary online cash player, Benyamine has spent a lot of time out of the spotlight but is now back in business after taking out Luke 'FullFlush' Schwartz heads-up.

"It feels really good winning a title, I'm not used to it," said Benyamine. "The whole time I never thought about winning, I just wanted to do what I thought was right. I know people always say that when they win but it's true. I haven't really been around for a while and I hope this gives me momentum going forward! I really enjoyed the format and competition – I'm sure it will make great TV."

"Position in these final tables can help and I didn't do anything special today, I just got hands at the right time and played my own game. Luke (Schwartz) is a very impulsive player but I just stuck to my own game heads-up and it was enough." The contrast in styles was something Phil Hellmuth heavily picked up on, as he joined Jesse May in the commentary box for the final.

The runner-up was the controversial Luke 'FullFlush' Schwartz, whose table talk and banter featured heavily all week. "I'm really, really disappointed," said Luke, "I think I played the best this week and deserved to come first but that's the way it goes."

One man who basked in huge glory was online qualifier Safina. "This was a mind blowing experience, truly amazing. I am happy with my result. It is just so fantastic that one online qualifier like me who invested so little money on an online site can get to such a big stage as this playing with the best players in the world for a whole week in the PartyPoker Premier League." Safina's English language skills are limited, which was probably handy with the trash talkers around him. At one point he donned headphones to block the noise out.

A PartyPoker spokesman said: "Congratulations to David - it has been a fantastic week and was such a spectacle at a fantastic location in the form of the M Resort. The story of Giovanni Safina is inspiring, what a dream ticket for 100 euros! Yes, you get an online qualifier who wins millions in a big tournament quite frequently but this was different. You had an online qualifier who was thrown in the lions den in a league over seven intense days with players at the top of their game and those who were masters of table intimidation. He did himself proud - he never once shirked and deserves all the acclaim he has already got back in his homeland."

Eddie Hearn, Director of Matchroom Sport , said: "Bringing the PartyPoker.com Premier League to Las Vegas has taken the world's best distributed poker show to a whole new level – this is simply must see TV, it has been amazing. Everybody has also enjoyed the fantastic facilities and service of the M Resort. I would like to personally thank Richar Fitoussi and all the team there for being such wonderful hosts."

First out on the final table was final table chip leader Phil Laak, the yellow jersey wearer who dominated the group stages. His pocket tens ran into Benyamine's AK and an ace on the turn meant it was bike time for 'The Unabomber. Phil, who took down the PartyPoker.com World Open V, was disappointed but pragmatic but still cashes significantly after a fantastic run in the league stages. Next to go was Roland De Wolfe, who beat Team Party's Ian Frazer in the heads-up this morning, and then Daniel Negreanu, who had taken out JC Tran in the heads-up. Daniel was his usual chirpy self at the table, at one point saying to Schwartz he hoped they would get heads-up so he could put a bad beat on him. "I can't wait to hear you rant and rave about how washed up and bad I am," joked Negreanu, who exited to the rail in fourth.

Out in third was Safina, who had plenty of support on the rail. A David amongst Goliaths, his fate was sealed by Schwartz. Safina moved all in with As 7c - Luke Schwartz snap-called and flipped over Kc 3c and immediately looked disturbed. "I thought I had king-jack!

The flop came 5s Qd 6d and Safina's hand was still in the lead. The Js hit on the turn, and now if Schwartz had held the king-jack he would be in the lead. It wouldn't matter though, as the 3d came on the river giving Schwartz the winning hand nonetheless. He screamed with excitement, and immediately walked over and graciously shook Safina's hand. The Italian drew huge applause from the crowd.

Heads-up Schwartz had the lead 1,320,000 to Benyamine's 580,000. Here's how our friends at PokerNews described the finale:

"After going from chip leader just five minutes ago to now being on the brink of elimination, Luke Schwartz raised it up to 80,000 with Qd 2s and would get called by David Benyamine who held a dominating Qs 8d. The flop would be cruel to Schwartz putting him in an awkward spot coming down 5s 3c Qs. Benyamine coyly checked, allowing Schwartz to bet 70,000. Benyamine then raised it up to 210,000 and after a few seconds Schwartz moved all in for 480,000 more. This move sent Benyamine deep into the tank, as he pondered whether or not to make the call. The longer it took, the more confident Schwartz got thinking for sure he had the best hand. "He would have called by now if he had me beat," said Schwartz. Phil Hellmuth commented that the confidence Schwartz was showing, thinking he was ahead could possibly prompt a fold from Benyamine. Finally, Benyamine slid the chips into the center and Schwartz proudly announced he had a queen, only to see it was no good. "Why'd you slow roll," Schwartz said to Benyamine. "That's an easy call."Schwartz then pleaded the dealer to peel some sort of card that would help his chances for a chop, even offering up $2,000 for a winning three. The turn card was the 7h eliminating any chance at a chop, and now Schwartz would need a three, and only a three to take down the pot. It wasn't meant to be as the 6h hit the felt."

Full hand analysis and videos can be found at http://www.pokernews.com/live-reporting/partypoker-premier-league-iv/premier-league-iv/day7/

http://blog.partypoker.com/ gives a great perspective on the colour of the week including bikes, trikes, star wars and kermit.

PartyPoker.com Premier League IV will be broadcast for the first time in the UK in September and then distributed worldwide. The event was organized by Matchroom Sport and presented by Team Party's Kara Scott.

PARTYPOKER.COM PREMIER LEAGUE IV – M RESORT, LAS VEGAS – FINAL TABLE CHIPCOUNTS – 18th FEBRUARY 2010

1. Phil Laak – 480,000
2. David Benyamine - 380,000
3. Giovanni Safina - 290,000
4. Luke Schwartz – 290,000
5. Daniel Negreanu – 260,000
6. Roland De Wolfe – 220,000

Total Prizepool $1.5 million ($300,000 added by PartyPoker.com)

Total payouts including league stages

David Benyamine $476,000
Luke Schwartz $258,000
Giovanni Safina $158,000
Phil Laak $146,000
Daniel Negreanu $132,000
Roland De Wolfe $114,000
Ian Frazer $52,000
JC Tran $40,000
Phil Hellmuth $38,000
Yevgeniy Timoshenko $32,000
Vanessa Rousso $32,000
Tony G $22,000

Final League Standings
x-1. Phil Laak 48 points
x-2. David Benyamine - 38 points
x-T-3. Giovanni Safina - 29 points
x-T-3. Luke Schwartz 29 points
5. Daniel Negreanu 26 points
6. Ian Frazer 26 points
7. Roland De Wolfe 22 points
8. JC Tran 20 points
9. Phil Hellmuth - 19 points
10. Yevgeniy Timoshenko 16 points
11. Vanessa Rousso 16 points
12. Tony G - 11 points

x - clinched final table berth

 
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