JUSTIN BONOMO WINS 2018 BIG ONE FOR ONE DROP

July 18, 2018 - 02:48:48 AM EST  | 

JUSTIN BONOMO WINS 2018 BIG ONE FOR ONE DROP

More than $2 Million Raised for One Drop Charity

17 July 2018 (Las Vegas) – If there was any doubt before, it’s now been erased: 2018 is the year of Justin Bonomo. The 32-year old poker professional, who has already been having the best year of his career, is now officially having the best year of anyone’s career after he won the Big One for One Drop at the World Series of Poker, earning the third WSOP bracelet of his career and the $10,000,000 first-place prize.

Even before this event, Bonomo had already had $14,945,425 in recorded earnings in 2018, and nine victories in events with a buyin of at least $10,000. One of those victories was the $10,000 Heads-Up championship here at the WSOP, for which he earned $185,965 and his second career bracelet. Now, after this win, he had $42,979,593 in lifetime earnings, which moves him to the top spot on the all-time list, ahead of legends of the game like Daniel Negreanu and Erik Seidel. His 2018 earnings alone (now totaling $24,945,425) would be enough for ninth on the all-time list.

“Being number one on the all-time money list is sweet,” he said after the tournament, with just a bit of hesitation as he formulated his thought. “It’s awesome. It feels good. But to be honest, I understand that that is not the measure of who a great player is. At the end of the day, I feel like this past year I’ve played fantastic poker. … And that’s something I can be very proud of. I’m not going to say I’m the best player in the world, but I’m very confident that I’m up there and I’m very proud of what I’ve done.”

This is the fourth incarnation of the Big One for One Drop. The first, held in 2012, was won by Antonio Esfandiari. Dan Colman won in 2014. Then in 2016, a special version of the event with a buy-in of €1,000,000 was held at the Casino Monte Carlo de Monte Carlo on the shores of Monaco. Elton Tsang won it. And now Bonomo joins the exclusive club of Big One winners.

The Big One for One Drop is a charity event in support of One Drop. One Drop works to ensure communities in impoverished regions have sustainable access to clean water, and their work has improved the lives of over 1,000,000 people in India, West Africa, Mexico, Central and South America, and Haiti.

From each buyin, $80,000 goes to One Drop, and the remaining $920,000 goes to the prizepool. With 27 entries, that means $2,160,000 was raised for One Drop’s clean water efforts. The other charity event at WSOP this year, the $1,111 Little One for One Drop, raised another $525,252. The partnership between One Drop and WSOP began in 2012 with the first Big One for One Drop, and since then the partnership has raised $23,091,974.

For Bonomo, the charitable component is the best part of this event. “It’s an honor to be part of [it],” he said. “Everyone kept asking me, ‘Are you excited to play One Drop?’ And my answer to everyone was ‘No.” Yes it’s a great privilege, but I see it as a great responsibility. It’s more money than I’ve ever played for in my life so I buckled down during all my breaks, I studied, I took the day off the day before and just studied all day. Meditation every single day. I just took this as seriously as I possibly could and tried as hard as I possibly could.”

The 2018 Big One for One Drop drew 27 entries. There were 24 on Day 1 (Sunday), and late registration remained open until the start of Day 2. Three more players joined the fray before play began Monday afternoon – Brian Rast, Ranier Kempe, and Byron Kaverman.

Five players were eliminated on Day 1: David Peters, 2012 One Drop champion Antonio Esfandiari, Isaac Haxton, Bryn Kenney, and Jake Schindler. Esfandiari was the only previous winner of the event to compete this year, and his elimination ensured a new champion. At the end of Day 1, the chip leader was Rick Salomon, with 11,445,000, slightly more than double the starting stack of five million. He was follow by Phil Ivey in second (10,365,000) and Daniel Negreanu in third (8,100,000).

On Day 2, the field was reduced to the final six players. Negreanu and Ivey were among the casualties. And when Nick Petrangelo – who won his second career bracelet in the $100,000 high roller event earlier this summer – was eliminated in seventh place, the TV table was set:

Seat 1 – Rick Salomon – 19,650,000
Seat 2 – Byron Kaverman – 10,525,000
Seat 3 – David Einhorn – 12,300,000
Seat 4 – Fedor Holz – 22,125,000
Seat 5 – Justin Bonomo – 48,950,000
Seat 6 – Dan Smith – 21,450,000

This tournament was played with a 30-second “shot clock,” and each player received four time bank chips, which would give them an additional 30 seconds. Each player’s time bank chips were replenished at the start of the final table.

Bonomo held the lead heading into the final day, and he was well-positioned to continue his historic 2018.

One of the shorter stacks was David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager who has played in all four of the Big One for One Drop events, finishing third in the inaugural Big One in 2012. He’s also made two deep runs in the WSOP Main Event, and he donates all of his WSOP winnings to charity. This year, he was playing in support of Service Year, an organization dedicated to promoting service opportunities for young people. Unfortunately, he finished in sixth place this year after he was eliminated by Bonomo. “If I’m being totally honest,” Bonomo said, “I almost feel guilty for knocking David Einhorn out because he gives 100% of his winnings to charity. I was conflicted about that. I will give a lot of the money back to charity, but I’m not as well off as him to give it all back.”

The defining hand of the tournament came just a few minutes after Einhorn’s elimination. Byron Kaverman, who had the shortest stack at the table, moved all in for 8,025,000, and Fedor Holz called. Salomon then moved all in over the top for 26,900,000. Holz went into the tank, using all his time-extension chips. He had more chips than Salomon, but not by much. If he called and lost the hand, he’d be left with roughly three big blinds. Eventually, he chose to call with   . Kaverman had shoved with   , Salomon had   . Holz was in the lead, but the flop was    , giving Salomon two pair. Then the turn gave the players a sweat when the   fell. Now Kaverman had a flush draw, Holz gained an inside straight draw, and Salomon was still ahead with his aces and kings. Then the river was the  , giving Holz a set of tens to win the pot. Kaverman was eliminated in fifth place ($2,000,000), Salomon was eliminated in fourth place ($2,840,000) and Holz took over the lead with three players remaining.

This is the third time Salomon has cashed in the Big One for One Drop. He took fourth place in 2014 and third place in 2016 in Monte Carlo.

The next elimination wasn’t for about two and a half hours. Dan Smith had become fairly short-stacked, and he pushed all in with   . Bonomo called with   . Bonomo had the lead, and he ended up winning the hand with a straight to eliminate Smith in third place ($4,000,000).

That left Bonomo and Holz to play heads-up. Just as Bonomo is having a year for the record books, Holz had a similarly successful year in 2016, earning over $16 million that year.  Holz entered this event with over $26 million in career earnings, good for number six on the all-time list. But despite Holz’s success, 2018 is the year of Bonomo. Holz and Bonomo battled heads-up for roughly two hours, but Holz fell just short and finished in second place, earning $6,000,000. This finish moves him to fourth on the all-time money list.

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE UPDATES FROM THE EVENT

Results:
1 – Justin Bonomo - $10,000,000
2 – Fedor Holz - $6,000,000
3 – Dan Smith - $4,000,000
4 – Rick Salomon - $2,840,000
5 – Byron Kaverman - $2,000,000


 
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Robert Kirschen – Managing Editor


About the author: Robert Kirschen is the Managing Editor of WSOP.com. He oversees the news, recaps, and other information on the World Series website, and spends much of his time on the road at WSOP Circuit events. He has been writing for the World Series of Poker since 2013.
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