Justin Bonomo has spent years as an online and tournament poker professional, earning over $7 million during an at times controversial career, but until this week a World Series of Poker winner’s bracelet has eluded him.
That all changed with his victory Wednesday in the $1,500 buy-in NLHE Six Handed competition at the Rio in Las Vegas, when he bested a field of 1,587, a highly experienced final table and a heads up against respected fellow professional Mike Sowers to win the bracelet and the $449,980 main prize.
But at one stage it all seemed about to slip through Bonomo’s grasp on the threshold of victory, when Sowers scored four double-ups in a row to get back into contention, causing a further anxious delay before Bonomo was able to at last eliminate him and send him home with a second placing check for $278,000.
The event – number 11 on the WSOP schedule – started Monday and took three days to conclude as entrants battled for a share in the $2,142,450 prize pool.
At the heads up stage Bonomo was suffering from a 5 to 1 chip disadvantage, but through disciplined and talented play he fought his way into the lead and a significant advantage. Then, just when it appeared that he was about to oust his last obstacle to the bracelet, Sowers scored his startling series of double ups.
Fortunately for Bonomo it wasn’t enough to withstand his strong position and continued patience, and Sowers was eventually eliminated.
It was Bonomo’s fourth heads-up in a WSOP bracelet event, making the achievement all the sweeter.