Born in 1951, Humberto Brenes (pronounced "Umberto") is a professional poker player from Costa.
Humberto holds a degree in industrial engineering from the University of Costa Rica. He used his education and instincts to become a successful in business. He owns a television station, a construction company, and a number of restaurants. Humberto and his family are known throughout Costa Rica for their business success.
Known as the "godfather of the Costa Rican players," Humberto started his gambling career as a baccarat player. He understood the odds very well and, at the suggestion from a friend, switched to poker. He beat many of the amateur tourists who came to the casino but his friend challenged him by saying he could not beat the poker pros. Humberto proved him wrong by placing 4th in his first major tournament in 1987. Even though he made more money in baccarat and craps tournaments against tourists who have a lot of money (he made $377,500 in one craps tournament in Nassau many years ago), he only plays in poker tournaments now because they are more challenging. He has stated that when he started playing poker that it was just a hobby and there was no pressure to make money. Because of this, he could think more clearly and make better choices. This led to him winning while having fun at the same time.
Brenes finished 14th in the WSOP main event in 1987. He became a regular tournament player in 1988 and built a great tournament record. He came in 4th place in the main event in 1988 and continued to play in the WSOP every year and eventually won two bracelets in 1993. One bracelet was in the $2,500 Limit Hold'em where he won $149,000 and the other bracelet was in the $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha where he won $128,000.
In 1995 he finished 2nd in the $5,000 Limit Hold'em Event for $134,550 and the next year he finished 2nd in the 1999 $3,000 Limit Hold'em for $101,400.
In 2002 he finished in first place and won $502,460 at the Jack Binion 2002 World Poker Open, beating Erik Seidel heads up.
In 2004, during season 3 of the WPT, Brenes made 2 final tables. He finished in 3rd place in both, winning $636,930 and $898,475.
2006 he finished in 36th place (out of 8,773 payers) in the main event, winning $329,865. He tied with Phil Hellmuth, Jr. for the most cashes (eight) in the 2006 WSOP.
In 2007, He finished 3rd in the $5,000 World Championship Pot Limit Hold'em event where he won $197,348. He then cashed in the Main Event, placing 83rd out of 6,358 players, winning $82,476. He was eliminated by Hevad Khan when Brenes went all-in with A-K and got called by Kahn's pocket Aces.
Humberto's brothers, Alex and Eric, have also had success on the tournament circuit. They have both won WPT titles and travel with Humberto to many tournaments. Humberto, his brothers, and Jose Rosenkrantz, are collectively known as the "Costa Rica Connection".
Humberto often wears bright tracksuits and a a visor at the table. He also wears a head set so that he can listen to music, which helps him remain calm at the table.
Since 1987 until 2009, he had cashed in at least one WSOP event every year except 3 years (1997, 2001, and 2004). As of 2009, he has 2 WSOP bracelets, 55 WSOP cashes, 8 WPT cashes, and total live tournament winnings exceeding $5,500,000. He also is a member of Team PokerStars.
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