French Poker Pro Sami Bechahed Takes a Chance, Finds Success in California

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The return of poker tournaments in Los Angeles has given many local players something to look forward to after more than a year-and-a-half of empty poker rooms in Southern California. For players like Sami Bechahed, an online grinder, the return toward normalcy provided the perfect time to branch out and take a chance by focusing more on live tournaments. 

Sami Bechahad
Sami Bechahad after winning his first WSOPC ring (

Bechahed has made the most of that chance, winning two preliminary events at the Bicycle Casino.

“It’s just been a commitment for me. I’ve never played a series where I took some time off and dedicated myself to it,” said Bechahed. “I would play mostly cash with one tournament here and there, but I didn’t have time. Now that I’m focused on it and dedicated the time to play, it has paid off.”

Tournament tryout a big success

Bechahed, a French native, said that the vast majority of his poker experience before this series was through online tournaments on Winnamax, a popular site with French players. Bechahed says he’s encouraged by his new-found live success, and that his first WSOPC ring holds special significance to him.

“The ring means as much as the money to me. I’m going to keep it forever, whereas the money won’t be here forever. It’s pretty cool, I have a ring and a lot of poker pros don’t have trophies. I’m just happy and enjoying the moment. The hardware is great,” said Bechahed.

While taking down a couple of WSOPC events has been great, Bechahed says he has his eyes set on bigger goals as 2022 approaches.

Eyes set on 2022 WSOP

Unable to make it to Las Vegas for the 2021 WSOP, Bechahed says visiting the series in 2022 is his ultimate goal, and that playing at the WSOP would be a dream come true.

“I didn’t play any in Vegas this summer. I played a bit at Commerce Casino, but I’m looking forward to the next WSOP, it’s a big goal for me,” said Bechahed. “When I talked to my wife about grinding tournaments, the main goal was to build a nice bankroll for the WSOP. It would be a dream for me to play, just to be able to shuffle the chips on that table.”

Like many other pros, Bechahed is a former dealer who moved to the other side of the table after deciding to pursue playing poker at a more serious level. His decision couldn’t have come at a better time, as the WSOP Circuit made a massive change this season, awarding all ring winners a seat to the $1 Million Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas at the end of the summer. 

Sami Bechahad After Winning Bounty Event (Image: Bicycle Casino)

All WSOP bracelet winners will also be eligible for that event as well. Playing in that event, Bechahed said, will be another dream come true for him. 

“It’s incredible. I’m so excited to play in that and I have a chance to go to Vegas where I don’t go very often. I love the game so I’m very excited to play in that.”

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