Rick Dacey
June 15, 2023
4Pro Profile

Online beast and 4Pro Francisco Benitez has put Uruguay on the poker map. Expect to see more shine at the WSOP…

A couple of months ago, Francisco Benitez was in a bar in Brazil buying drinks after a long day of live tournament play. The 4Poker site had been quietly opened to LatAm players as an early stage of its rolling beta and Fran was giving players a site walkthrough over a beer or two. As a sponsored 4Pro he’d been encouraged to, but we suspect he’d be doing something similar even if he wasn’t. This guy absolutely loves the game.  

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Francisco Benitez flying the 4Poker flag at the tables

If you’ve not come across Fran before, here’s what you need to know. He’s been making waves in the online poker world for a few years playing out of his native Uruguay, registering millions of dollars in tournament wins. Last year, he transferred that form into the live arena where a ten-day spree at EPT Barcelona saw him win two events and make four final tables, collecting €1.1m in doing so. It’s a long way from playing card games with friends for a dollar or two.

“I was introduced to poker by older friends who I played Magic the Gathering with,” explains
Fran. “We played for a few dollars once a month. When I went to the casino for the first time, I took 600 dollars that I had saved up… and I had a good result. I decided then that I am going to dedicate myself to the game since it used the same logic that was used in Magic, which I was very good at it.”

Francisco Benitez playing Magic the Gathering.jpg

A lot of big players found their way into the game from MTG

Playing under the name Tomatee online, Fran has had a lot more good results since. Namely
multiple six-figure scores that include a couple of SCOOP titles and a second-place finish to the legendary great Erik Seidel for $759k. You know thatif you’re going to get pipped to a title by anyone then it may as well be Seidel. 

Fran is currently sat in the second spot on the All Time Money on The Hendon Mob for Uruguay (by just $10k), but it’s not something that factors into his thinking much. 

“Honestly, it is not that important to me,” said Fran. “Regarding my goals, luckily I think I have achieved all the ones I set for myself when I began to dedicate myself to poker. My goal today is to be able to continue my career in the way it has been for the last 5-6 years.”

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Fran’s recent exploits have taken him to the top of the Uruguay leaderboard

That said, growing the game in Latin America is important to him. 

“South America is a community with less money, so reaching the high levels and the biggest tournaments is more difficult than in Europe or the USA.”

Being a 4Pro is a mission that Fran relishes: “For me it is something very nice. It motivates me and that I think I can do well. The Latino community is very large online and got some great players, at mid and low stakes especially.” 

The number of players from LatAm playing at the WSOP has grown over the years, despite the onerous visa requirements. 


Francisco’s own success in poker has come from countless hours of hard work. He spends hours studying the game, but he also understands that there’s more to being a long-term winner than just knowing your four-bet jamming ranges. Bankroll management isn’t the sexiest of terms, but it’s a key concept for aspiring players. The poker dream of turning pro is a balance of hard graft and calculated risk. 

Francisco Benitez learning to play.jpg

Everyone has to start somewhere…

Fran has come a long way since that first big shot-take at the casino. His advice for up-and-coming players is: “Dedicate your life to poker until you truly train as a professional. When it gets worse... dedicate more time to it, never stop being constant until you achieve it. And don't rush, manage your money well.”

His most cherished poker memory was grinding online and winning a SCOOP High Event: “I finally collected my first six-figure prize playing 100% for me and it gave me total stability in my career from there.”

That right there is the poker dream bottled. Talent plus a long-term bankroll. 

If you’re looking for Fran online at 4Poker it will be ‘FranBenitez’. He’s throwing that Tomatee away. You can find him on Instagram at 

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Rick Dacey has been in the poker industry for two decades as a journalist, marketeer, corporate comms man, and enthusiastic player. He's now helping out at 4Poker HQ.