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William Bennet was one of thousands of partypoker players who enjoyed the recent Grand Prix KO Series. Bennet enjoyed his time at the virtual felt more than most because he took down the $5.50 buy-in Grand Prix KO Mini 6-Max event, and turned his small investment into $3,781.

Bennet hails from Cambridge but has lived in the Midlands since he was 11 years old. The former Loughborough University student began playing poker while studying at the university as he and a few other players shared “the same dream to do this for a living and avoid the traditional nine-to-five path.”

From Chess Ace to Poker Star

The grinder’s first taste of poker came before his student days, at a chess tournament of all places.

“I first played poker at a chess tournament and instantly fell in love with it. I was an elite junior chess player, winning the British Chess Championship five times at U-11, U13, U-14, U-15, and U-16 level. This is what convinced me I would be able to win at poker as I was able to win at chess, and there is a huge crossover in skills. Basically, as soon as I turned 18, I started playing poker but didn’t really find any success until I met my friends at university.”

Bennet prefers and always has preferred tournament poker over cash games. Tournaments have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and there is “always a chance on any given day to get a big score.” He transitioned to live poker in 2015, mostly playing at Dusk Till Dawn; Bennet even moved to Nottingham to cut down on commuting to DTD! The majority of his $143,992 in live winnings stem from DTD tournament, including a £16,500 ($24,423) and a career-best £34,700 ($44,836) score.

From Registering Late to Becoming a Poker Champion

However, it is in the online poker world where Bennet’s most recent victory happened. He was one of 10,923 entrants in the Grand Prix KO #01 Mini 6-Max event. A couple of days later, Bennet became a poker champion.

“It feels completely surreal, especially to get the win when even sixth place was over 100-times the buy-in. I don’t think I quite realised how big the win was until after the tournament. I only entered my first flight that day, which was a 14:00 start, I late regged at 15:30, and made Day 2 by 17:00! So from my perspective, it was relatively quick and I didn’t really know there had been probably 50 flights before that week with thousands of players competing.

“It was a huge confidence booster as I thought I played really well and the tournament was well structured, so I felt I had a lot of play the whole way through.”

Big Hand at the Start of the Final Table

Even after reaching the final table, Bennet was unsure that he could win until there were only three players remaining. This despite his Jx-Jx holding against Ax-Kx at the start of the final table after his opponent three-bet all-in for 40 big blinds.

“I was trying to focus on not making a mistake while hoping other people busted. I had the deal button clicked, but the other chip leader has no interest in a deal.”

The tide turned in Bennet’s favour and he had one hand on the trophy after forcing a fold from his final opponent.

“I shoved all-in on the river on a Kx-Qx-Jx-Tx-9x board with Kx-2x and he snap-folded a guaranteed chop, leaving himself ten big blinds. I won the tournament on the next hand.”

Our champion got his hands on the $2,754 top prize plus an additional $1,027 from the bounty prize pool for a $3,781 combined score. A mixture of disbelief and elation swarmed over Bennet.

“Relief and disbelief! It was almost 04:00 and I had been going to bed around midnight, but I struggled to get to sleep thinking about what happened.”

Bennet plans to use his winnings to give his bankroll a boost so he can play slightly higher stakes, and he has his eye on a few $50+ buy-in tournaments. However, the week after his impressive victory resulted in a few celebrations and no poker. His plans for the rest of the year are simple.

“More poker and less ‘celebrations’ but hoping more reasons to celebrate!”

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