Born in Fort Worth, Texas in 1986, David Benefield developed as a competitor from an early age, playing baseball all the way throughout high school. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury early in his senior year left Benefield unable to throw a pitch, leaving the teenager to focus more of his time on poker.
One of many pros who were initially inspired to try the game by the 1998 Matt Damon film Rounders, Benfield began playing for small stakes with his friends. It didn’t take Benefield long to realise that poker was a game of skill and, after reading a few strategy books, the 16 year old Benefield was soon frequenting some of Texas’ famous underground poker rooms.
It didn’t take long for Benefield to move onto the online poker scene, playing under the screen name ‘Raptor’, which he discovered after discussing hands on the 2+2 forum. After grinding online with great success for a number of years during which he was a lead instructor for Cardrunners, in 2008 Benefield made the decision to stop playing poker full-time, and to get back into education.
He has since attended St John’s College and Columbia University in New York, where he is currently studying mandarin and political science. He has stated that he gets more enjoyment out of playing poker part-time, and that the daily grind can make you lose some of your passion for the game.
David 'Raptor' Benefield is currently a member of the November Nine, after a fantastic deep run in the 2013 World Series of Poker Main Event. Despite arriving at the final table as the short stack, Benefield is very much alive at the Main Event. He has looked out of it before: he arrived with the shortest stack in the room on day 7 when there were 27 players remaining, but has managed to make the final table, guaranteeing himself at least $733,224. Benfield also has the benefit of having the table’s bigger stacks seated to his right, and as a player with a wealth of experience, you’d be mad to count him out of it.