When the discussion about who could be the best player never to win a bracelet gets going, it wasn’t long before Justin Bonomo’s name made the list. As someone who has crushed cash games for years, with an EPT title, and a WSOP Circuit ring, a gold bracelet from the WSOP was one of the last achievements on his list. He’s come close in the past, with several final-table appearances in bracelet events, including a 2nd place just this year.
Only a few days earlier, Bonomo ended up at the stacked final table of the $10,000 Deuce-to-7 Triple Draw, where he faced off against some of the game’s biggest names. After making his way through the likes of Eli Elezra, Nick Shulman, and Phil Galfond, Bonomo found himself heads up against Tuan Le. Le prevailed after more than three hours of heads-up, denying Bonomo his first bracelet.
So when Bonomo made his way to the final table of $1,500 No-limit Hold'em 6-Max yesterday, viewers immediately wondered if he could close it out this time. It’s no surprise that the final table was full of online grinders. While there was only one WSOP bracelet at this final table, the six players combine for a whopping 69 cashes between them. Bonomo himself had the lion’s share of those cashes at 27.
Most of the final table went fairly quickly, as it took only 61 hands to lose four players. Taylor Paur, the only player on the table with a bracelet heading into the final table, was the first to go, collecting $55,703 for 6th place. Niel Mittleman finished in 5th place for $80,341, and Lance Harris and Daniel Strelitz ended in 4th and 3rd for $119,977 and $180,587 respectively.
Heads up was a battle though, taking more hands than the rest of the final table combined. Mike Sowers entered heads-up play as the 4-to-1 chip leader, and he maintained a solid lead through 50 hands of play until Bonomo was able to turn the tide and take the lead with an ace-high hand against Sowers’ ten-high.
Sowers slowly chipped back up to get himself practically even in chips with Bonomo by hand 141, when Bonomo opened the pot for 2.5 big blinds and Sowers raised to 230,000. Bonomo called, and the flop came down . Sowers bet 260,000 and Bonomo called. on the turn elicited a bet of 260,000 from Sowers, and Bonomo hesitated then called to see the river . Sowers took his time, finally pushing the rest of his stack to the middle. Bonomo called immediately, tabling for a rivered wheel straight to Sowers’ for the flopped two pairs.
That hand crippled Sowers, leaving him with 25,000 chips, or less than 1 big blind, and the match looked to be over. However, it took Bonomo another 20 hands to finally finish Sowers off, as he mounted a stunning comeback to grind his tiny stack back up as high as 800,000, but it was to be Justin Bonomo’s day, as he finally put the tournament away when he flopped a flush on hand 161, and Sowers was unable to improve his higher flush draw by the river.
Sowers finished in 2nd for $278,518 while Bonomo collected $449,980 plus the gold bracelet he’s coveted for so long. The win brings Bonomo’s live tournament winnings just shy of $8 million, with Hendon Mob showing him at $7,963,844. On his Twitter account, Bonomo was clearly happy to get the monkey off his back.