Griffin Benger has spent most of his professional life behind a screen, but he will step into the brightest live-poker spotlight this fall as Canada’s only player to make it to the November Nine. Benger sits seventh in chip count going into the World Series of Poker (WSOP) final table, which actually gets underway on Oct. 31.
The Toronto native has been a professional gamer for years, but his name is most commonly heard in the world of professional video games, specifically Counter-Strike, where he goes by the name “shaGuar.” Benger was an original member of Team NoA (which won the 2007 Counter-Strike world championship) and is easily one of the most famous Counter-Strike pros to ever play the game. He stepped out of the pro video game scene a few years ago, though, when his skills began to evanesce.
“I think what happened to me in Counter-Strike towards the end of my career is that I was skirting a bit on reputation,” Benger told PokerListings.com after making the November Nine. “I think I’d lost a step or two. I was the equivalent of like an aging baseball player who still knew how to win championships and still had a little spark. But I was past my prime.”
Don’t mistake Benger for a poker dilettante, though. He’s been a successful online player (going by the name “Flush_Entity”) for years. Indeed, he is one of the most profitable online poker players in history, with well over $5 million in winnings from online tournaments. He’s had success in live settings, as well, winning $1 million on “Shark Cage,” a televised poker show.
Last year, Benger made a splash in the online gaming community when he joined the ranks of pros to stream online poker on Twitch.tv, offering commentary and insight as over 500 people tuned in to watch his first stream.
When the final table begins, Benger will be in seat one.
“I’m extremely grateful to be a part of it,” Benger said of his upcoming spot at the WSOP final table. “It doesn’t mean the world to me but it is the only thing that matters in the context of poker.”
Benger currently works as co-commentator for the Global Poker League.
(Photo credit: 888poker, Twitter.)
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