Former Irish Open champion Griffin Benger has won the last tournament of PokerStars’ prestigious North American Poker Tour event in Las Vegas.
Benger had one of the biggest scores of his career when he took down the Irish Open Main Event in 2017. He beat a 1,129-entry field to snag a €200,000 first prize; others on that epic final table included Chris Dowling – now an Irish Open Ambassador – and Fintan Hand, now a member of PokerStars Team Pro.
Benger has also joined the ranks of “poker workers” and frequently joins Joe Stapleton and James Hartigan for PokerStars live streams around the world. He was busy in the commentary booth for most of NAPT Las Vegas but, once the Main Event was over, had a chance to jump into a Last Chance tourney. The $1,100 Super Hyper Turbo NLH event attracted 41 runners; this was short of the prize pool guarantee so $50,000 was up for grabs to the top six finishers.
Benger, a former November Niner and #1 online poker player, took it down for $17,250. The 38-year-old now has close to $4.5 million in live tournament winnings and is ranked 22nd on Canada’s all-time money list.
Benger loved his experience at the 2017 Irish Open. He said: “The event definitely had a special feel to it and I was honoured to win it. There was a large Canadian presence there and they were hugely supportive during my run. It was their annual trip and they just really love the balance of good fun and beautiful location Ireland provides.
“I really enjoyed the games the organizers set up. Having the bars and games right outside the poker area really ensured that if you were anywhere near the event you were set up to have a good time. It’s definitely unique in that regard; fun for the players being the absolute priority.”
PokerStars, which sponsors the Irish Open and will be running satellites for the 2024 event, was visiting Sin City for the first NAPT festival in 12 years. The Main Event there was won by French-born poker dealer Sami Bechahed who outlasted such poker luminaries as Sergio Aido and Nick Schulman to claim the $268,945 top prize.