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Justin Bonomo Hero Calls His Way To Poker Masters $25,000 High Roller Title

38-Year-Old Poker Pro Now Has More Than $64.4 Million In Career Earnings After Topping 37-Entry Field For $333,000


Justin Bonomo looked to be running away with the title in the final $25,000 buy-in high roller event held at the 2023 Poker Masters, until he wasn’t. After scoring every elimination on the way down to heads-up, he went from holding more than a 4:1 chip lead to trailing by nearly the same margin in the blink of an eye.

Bonomo, who poker’s second-highest-earning tournament player with more than $64 million in career cashes to his name prior to this event, found an impressive hero call to quickly correct course.

The hand in question began with Daniel Rezaei limping on the button with JSpade Suit8Diamond Suit and Bonomo raising from the big blind with AClub Suit8Club Suit. Rezaei called and the flop came down 9Spade Suit7Diamond Suit4Spade Suit. Bonomo made a continuation bet of 300,000 into a pot of 480,000 and Rezaei called with his gutshot straight draw and one overcard. The turn brought the 7Club Suit to pair the board and Bonomo checked. Rezaei bet 325,000 into the pot of 1,405,000 and Bonomo called, leaving himself with just over a million chips remaining while the pot had ballooned to 1,730,000. The 5Diamond Suit completed the board and Bonomo checked again. Rezaei moved all-in with just shy of 2.8 million in his stack and after plenty of consideration, Bonomo called for his tournament life with ace high.

Check out a replay of the hand via PokerGO below:

That huge double-up put Bonomo back on top, and from there he was able to close out the victory, earning $333,000 for the win. His career earnigns now sit at $64,439,800, leaving him just $844,456 behind all-time money leader Bryn Kenney.

This was Bonomo’s second title and ninth final-table finish of the year. He earned 336 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion, enough to climb into 52nd place in the 2023 POY race standings presented by Global Poker.

This victory also saw Bonomo take home 200 PokerGO Tour points. This was his second final-table finish of the series, having previously placed third in event no. 6 for $114,000 and 114 PGT points. His win in this tournament was enough to move him into seventh place in the race for the Poker Masters Purple Jacket.

This event attracted 37 entries, creating a $925,000 prize pool that was paid out among the top six finishers. The second and final day began with Bonomo in the lead and six remaining, with Isaac Haxton having been eliminated at the end of day 1 to burst the bubble.

Chino RheemBonomo scored the first knockout when he moved all-in with fives full of eights. Three-time World Poker Tour champion Chino Rheem called all-in with A-2 for fives full of deuces, with three fives, an eight, and a deuce on board. Rheem earned $46,250 as the sixth-place finisher. This was his fourth final-table showing of the series. He took down event no. 4 for $218,400 and then backed that up with a fourth-place finish in event no. 6 and another sixth-place finish in event no. 8. All told, Rheem has cashed for $434,640 during the series, accumulating 386 PGT points along the way. He now sits in second place in the series-long points race, trailing only two-time winner Vladas Tamasauskas heading into the final event of the festival.

Event no. 6 champion Orpen Kisacikoglu was the next to fall. He lost a big chunk of his stack with pocket aces against the A-Q of Daniel Rezaei, who committed the majority of his stack preflop and then called off the rest after picking up a broadway gutshot on the flop. Rezai hit his straight on the river to double into third chip position, while Kisacikoglu was left with just over eight big blinds. He soon got all-in with K-J suited, only to find himself in rough shape against the pocket kings of Bonomo. The pocket pair held up this time around to send Kisacikoglu home in fifth place ($74,000). He now sits in 10th place in the series standings.

A pair of preflop coolers resulted in the next two knockouts. The first saw bracelet winner Andrew Lichtenberger get all in with pocket jacks against the pocket queens of a surging Bonomo. Lichtenberger was unable to find any help from the board and was eliminated in fourth place. He earned $101,750 for his efforts, increasing his career tournament earnings to over $16 million. The event no. 5 winner now occupies the fourth-place spot in the race for the Purple Jacket.

The next cooler was a battle of the blinds, with Bonomo raising from the small blind with pocket kings. Stephen Chidwick three-bet out of the big blind with pocket queens and quickly called off when Bonomo four-bet shoved. A ten-high runout kept the larger pair ahead and Chidwick was sent to the rail in third place ($148,000). The score increased his career earnings to $52.6 million, good for third on the all-time money list. This was his 20th final-table finish of the year, with five titles won and more than $6.6 million in POY earnings accrued. The bracelet winner and two-time POY now sits in sixth place in this year’s standings.

Heads-up play got off to an action-packed start, as previously discussed. Rezaei doubled up in the first hand with pocket sixes besting pocket fours. He then doubled again, this time with pocket sevens holding against the A-2 of Bonomo. After the hero call saw Bonomo regain the chip advantage, the two proceeded to battle it out for roughly another half an hour.

In the final hand Bonomo limped on the button with AClub SuitQSpade Suit. Rezaei checked with QDiamond Suit2Club Suit in the big blind and the flop came down KDiamond Suit3Diamond Suit2Diamond Suit. Rezai checked with his pair and flush draw and Bonomo checked behind. The AHeart Suit on the turn gave Bonomo the lead once again. Rezaei checked and Bonomo bet 200,000 into the pot of 240,000. Rezai called and the QClub Suit on the river gave both players two pair. Rezaei checked with his queens and deuces and Bonomo moved all-in with aces and queens. Rezai called and was shown the bad news. He earned $222,000 as the runner-up, the third-largest recorded score of his career.

Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded at the final table:

Place Player Earnings POY Points PGT Points
1 Justin Bonomo $333,000 336 200
2 Daniel Rezaei $222,000 280 133
3 Stephen Chidwick $148,000 224 89
4 Andrew Lichtenberger $101,750 168 61
5 Orpen Kisacikoglu $74,000 140 44
6 Chino Rheem $46,250 112 28

Photo credits: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.