Born in 1951 in Costa Rica, Humberto ”The Shark” Brenes started his working life as an industrial engineer. Over the years, he’s also played his hand at many different businesses, including hotels, restaurants, real estate ventures, construction, food export and even a TV channel. But despite his entrepreneurial spirit, it’s at the poker table where Humberto has made the real big money.
Having learned how to play card games by watching his father from a young age, Humberto initially found success as a Baccarat player in casinos across the Bahamas. Poker was fast becoming the more popular game of choice however, and he was able to make the transition successfully.
Today, Humberto reigns as one of the highest-earning players in history. Instantly recognisable by his bright clothes, table antics and infamous shark card protector, he is hugely popular with the fans. Don’t let the noise and craziness fool you though; Humberto is respected by his fellow professionals as a talented player of the highest order. He has a long list of accolades in a career that spans over two decades, especially at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). His first significant success came in 1988 when he finished fourth in the Main Event, earning US$77,000. This was just one of over 40 WSOP cashes he’s made over the years. In fact, Humberto is in the top ten list of players with the most World Series cash finishes. In 1993, he won bracelets in the $2,500 Limit Hold’em and $2,500 Pot Limit Omaha events, taking away a combined total of US$277,000. Humberto has also performed incredibly well at World Poker Tour (WPT) events, making four final table appearances and cash finishes amounting to a phenomenal US$1,735,780.
In his spare time, Humberto is known for the generosity he shows towards the people of his native Costa Rica. He also keeps busy attending to his business empire and even manages to find enough time to teach his many family members how to play poker. Humberto is also involved with a project in Costa Rica that helps protect the local shark population.
Bridging the gap perfectly between the old days of professional poker and the multi-million dollar game of today, Humberto Brenes is a true poker icon.