Canada’s former #1-ranked online poker pro in the world, Griffin 'Flush_Entity' Benger, is the inaugural PokerStars Shark Cage champion for a winner-take-all prize of $1,000,000. Benger won the fifth of eight heats to earn his seat at the final table, where he plowed his way to victory.
“It’s the ultimate cliche but it doesn’t really feel like real right now. It was just a lot of fun and I’m just grateful. This is why we all play and this why I came to play the shark cage. Poker has been a big gift for me in my life. I think that that’s really the right attitude to have when you have something like this. I feel very very blessed,” Benger said after his victory.
Benger was joined at the final table in London by the other seven heat winners. Fellow Canadian Kara Scott, online qualifier Gareth Coles, billionaire businessman Bill Perkins, German poker pros Ole Schemion and Philippe Gruissem, former PokerStars Team pro Vicki Coren-Mitchell, and England World Cup-winning Rugby player Mike Tindall.
In one the first hands, online qualifier Coles picked up under the gun and raised to 30,000. The next seat over, Perkins made the call with . Action folded around to Benger who looked down at . Benger slid out a three-bet of 100,000 and both Coles and Perkins made the call.
The dealer delivered a flop and Coles and Perkins both checked. Benger continued with a bet of 145,000, to which Coles took no time raising to 290,000. Perkins folded, Benger just called, and the dealer laid out the on the turn.
Coles was first to act and with three seconds left on his shot clock, he announced all in. Benger now not so comfortable tossed out a time bank chip to extend his shot clock by 30 seconds. With 10 seconds left on the clock, Benger made the call.
Coles could only grimace as Benger showed him his aces. With Perkins folding a jack as well, Coles was left with one out. Coles did have Benger covered, but as the fell on the river, he was left with less than five big blinds. Benger was pushed the massive 2,202,000 chip pot to take an overwhelming chip lead.
Schemion took the chip lead with the elimination of Gruissem, but Benger got it back when Perkins shoved all in after Tindall opened for 85,000. Action folded to Benger who, after getting a count from Perkins of 714,000 and an estimate of Tindall’s stack, made the call. After a brief moment, Tindall laid his hand down and the cards were turned over.
Perkins was a bit relieved to see he was actually in a race-position. The billionaire businessman ran out of gas as the board ran out , giving Benger a flush and the pot.
It wasn’t a great day for Kara Scott. She was put to the test by the all-in shove of the short-stacked Tindall. After using a timebank chip, Scott eventually made the call only to see Tindall had her dominated with to her . She found no help from the board, leaving her nine big blinds.
In the next hand, Scott moved all-in with and was called by Coren-Mitchell holding . After flopping an up and down straight draw, Scott hit her straight on the river. The two ladies at the table passed chips back and forth for a couple hands until Scott's luck ran out and she was eliminated in fifth place by her fellow countryman Benger.
Soon after, Coren-Mitchell and Schemion fell to Tindall leaving the Englishman and the Canadian heads-up for a million dollars.
Tindall started heads-up play with the chip lead, but after a couple of hands the more experienced Benger closed the gap. Benger took a commanding lead when he woke up with . After raising to 210,000, Tindall three-bet to 525,000 with , Benger four-bet shoved all in, and Tindall made the call. The board ran out , giving Benger 8.34 million chips to Tindall’s 330,000.
Benger ran into some trouble closing out the win. Tindall was able to triple up in three straight all-in pots to draw near to even. But that would be the end of Tindall’s run. In the last hand, Benger was on the button and looked down at . Setting a trap for Tindall, Benger decided to limp in. Tindall checked with and paired his five on a flop. Tindall moved all in and Benger snap-called. The dealer laid out the and on the turn and river to give Benger the title, trophy, and $1,000,000.
You can watch the two-part final table right here: