Winning the World Series of Poker represents the highlight of any poker career, but very few get to bask in such glory. Making the final table or even finishing in the money is a remarkable achievement, especially if this happens in the main event attended by hundreds of poker pros. Humberto Brenes is one of them, but almost 30 years ago when he made his first WSOP appearance he was just an ambitious player from Costa Rica who came to Las Vegas with high expectations.
The odds of winning the main event were virtually nonexistent and even making the money was highly unlikely, but that didn’t have a deterring effect on Humberto. While he was relatively familiar with Las Vegas poker tables, this was the first time that he had participated in the World Series of Poker. His adventure began with a $1000 side event in which Brenes made a deep run and by the time the main event began, he was already in high spirits and confident in his abilities.
The tournament started quite well for Humberto who doubled his stack in the first eight hours of the tournament, despite sharing the table with the likes of Johnny Moss, Johnny Chan, Barry Johnson, Doyle Brunson and Stu Ungar. One particular hand lingers in his memory, as he was dealt pocket 7s and the board featured four 4s, a terrible scenario for Humberto who had led the hand from flop to river.
Despite his lack of experience and the high-stakes, Brenes didn’t falter and went all in, prompting his opponent to fold the better hand. Not only did he win a significant pot, but he also earned the respect of the other poker professionals, with Doyle Brunson congratulating him for a good play. For aspiring poker players who find themselves at the same tables as poker pros, such words mean a great deal and in this particular case, that was the beginning of a cordial friendship between the two players.
Humberto Brenes proved critics wrong and made a deep run at the main event, eventually finishing in 14th place to win the biggest amount, in his short poker career. He returned to the World Series of Poker many times since 1987 and made the money on 70 occasions, while winning two bracelets. For 2014, Brenes has reasonable expectations, as he hopes to cash at least five times while adding his third bracelet.