It’s been quite an exciting six months of poker for Justin Bonomo. Since the start of 2018, Bonomo has been on a tear in the High Roller world, winning ten championships and making 19 final tables. That tear has brought in $24,811,941 (thanks Hendon Mob!) in just seven months…or maybe less, if you extrapolate Bonomo’s latest result over his other achievements.
An Open Letter to His Supporters
In a very open Tweet to his followers, Bonomo admitted that, during the “Big One for One Drop” at the 2018 World Series of Poker, he and Fedor Holz closed a deal once they reached heads up play. “Fedor and I chopped half of the prize pool when we got HU (heads up) and played for the other half. (Writer’s note: this would have been worth $4 million initially for each man, chopping half of the $16 million remaining). My final share (most likely after taxes) was $8,751,111.” The people who were most pleased about that were the YouStake backers – those who had bought pieces of Bonomo over the backing site.
Bonomo would go on to explain to his stakeholders that he had taken out $75,000 as a donation to the One Drop Foundation (plus some more money from his stake) and showed the appropriate receipts for these transactions. “Normally I wait until December to make donations for tax reasons,” Bonomo reported, “but this was something I had promised publicly (and) I wanted to do it right away. I will still be giving more money in December as I usually do but I will most likely not make those public.”
With a deal in place, give credit to both Bonomo and Holz for battling it out as they did for the championship. The twosome played for almost two hours, with the lead teetering back and forth between them, before Bonomo was able to wrest control of the event away from his German competitor. Once Bonomo had vanquished Holz in the $1 million buy in tournament – his A-J off suit besting Holz’s A-4 off suit on a K-8-3-2-Q board – Bonomo captured the $10 million prize.
…And a Dose of Gratitude
While issuing his statement to his YouStake backers, Bonomo also took the time to humbly discuss the rest of 2018. “I’m grateful for the unbelievable amount of success I’ve had this year,” he started in his letter. “I ran out of ways to express how unreal it’s been months ago and yet somehow the streak continues. I’ve been playing poker for 17 years and I never thought I would be “the guy” with the super crazy insane win streak.”
Bonomo goes on to thank the players, peers and otherwise, “who I have studies with and learned from throughout my career, especially over the past two years.” He thanks his family “who provided me with so many advantages in life.” In particular he points out the thrill of sharing the “One Drop” victory with his father and sharing the Super High Roller Bowl (prior to the start of the WSOP) with his mother. He then delves into what many are thinking about for the rest of 2018 – his schedule.
“A lot of people have been asking me what’s next,” Bonomo starts. “Am I going to try to play every last tournament to cement the biggest year in poker history or try to win GPI Player of the Year? The answer is no. Sure, the accolades and records are great, but happiness and self-care are more important. I will be taking some time off and won’t be playing any more poker tournaments until Poker Masters in September.”
Even if he didn’t play another tournament in 2018, Bonomo’s run is one for the history books. The more than $24 million he has won in 2018 is a record for single season earnings and the ten tournament championships has to push the record also. For his career, Bonomo has passed $42 million in earnings (in fact, his next cash will push him over the $43 million mark – he’s at $42,965,927 right now) to sit atop the standings for all-time money winners. The GPI Player of the Year race, however, would currently go to Stephen Chidwick, who has a ten-point edge on Bonomo.
Such openness from one of the top professionals in the game is rather refreshing, including the discussion of how the tournament bacon is fried, especially at the end. Kudos have to be handed to Bonomo for his overall approach following one of the biggest championships of his career.