Less than a week ago, Justin Bonomo Tweeted his thoughts about finishing second in a gold bracelet event for a third time in his life:
"Always a bride's maid, never a bride."
Well, Bonomo is probably blushing a bit about that statement. Today he collected his first piece of WSOP hardware in the $1,500 Six-Handed No Limit Hold'em event, besting a stacked final table to win the most coveted prize in poker, the $449,980 payday, and the lead in the 2014 WSOP Player of the Year race, taking the leadaway from his pal Brock Parker who now sits in second place after less than 24 hours at the top.
"After coming in second again the other day, I started thinking that maybe I shouldn't worry so much about winning the bracelet and just concentrate on the money," Bonomo said moments after the victory. "But then to have this actually happen, I see how important it is. It feels incredible."
In a lengthy heads-up battle against another accomplished poker pro, Mike Sowers, Bonomo rallied from the short stack, then battled back to eventually take a big chip lead. Even with that though, Sowers would not give up without a fight, doubling up a remarkable six times after being left with just a handful of chips. In the end though, Bonomo managed to hold strong to defeat the formidable opponent and win his first bracelet.
It was seven years ago that Bonomo was heads-up for a bracelet the first time, losing to Erick Lindgren in the 2008 WSOP $5,000 Mixed Limit Hold'em event. In that time, he has made five WSOP final tables, amassed over $2 million in WSOP earnings, but never managed to pick up the bracelet until today.
Last week when he came up just short against Tuan Le in the $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Championship, it seemed unclear how long he would beed to wait to get another shot at a win. Turns out hard work and patience does pay off, oftentimes sooner than you would expect. "To win a bracelet just four days after coming second is something I couldn't have possibly imagined, especially in something like this with more than 1,500 people," Bonomo said.
The sentiment around the poker world is that six-handed No Limit Hold'em is an action-packed game. That sentiment was out in full force on this final day of play, as the field went from ten to the final table of six in just eight minutes. From there, it took only 61 hands to get down to heads-up play between Bonomo and Sowers.
This final table featured four players making return appearances to the WSOP final table felt. One of them, Taylor Paur (6th), won a bracelet last year. Bonomo, Sowers, and Mittelman all made final tables previously, but were looking to claim their first bracelet.
This tournament drew 1,587 players, up from 1,069 players in last year’s event. The strong uptick in participation resulted in a prize pool of $2,142,150. The top 162 players finished in the money, including Jeff Madsen (117th), David Bakes Baker (100th), Jason Mercier (86th), Erik Cajelais (41st), Russell Thomas (29th), and Corey Burbick (13th). Here are the final table results from the $1,500 Six-Handed No Limit Hold’em event:1st: Justin Bonomo - $449,9802nd: Mike Sowers- $278,5183rd: Daniel Strelitz - $180,5874th: Lance Harris - $119,9775th: Niel Mittelman - $80,3416th: Taylor Paur - $55,703