Poker pro eyes second bracelet of the summer, $10 million and a spot atop the all-time money list

July 16, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - Justin Bonomo bagging the chip lead at the end of Day 2 of the $1 million Big One for One Drop sums up poker in 2018.

The poker pro, originally from Colorado, finished the second day of play with 48,950,000 in chips and takes the chip lead into the tournament’s final day with six players remaining. He’s got his sights set on his second bracelet of the summer, third of his career, and the $10 million first place prize.

“Tomorrow’s a very big day, so I’m not going to think about the accolades or the accomplishments,” said Bonomo after bagging his chips. “All I’m going to think about is how to maximize my expectation tomorrow.”

Before he wins the tournament, however, he needs to cash it. When play resumes at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday to play down to a winner, the final six players will start play on the money bubble. Only the top five spots will take home a min-cash of at least $2 million.

With about a third of the chips in play, Bonomo is in great shape to survive the money bubble and make a run at yet another victory. Bonomo came into the 2018 WSOP riding high with a victory in PokerGO’s $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $5 million and carried that momentum into the series with a victory in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up Championship, good for his second bracelet.

All while still scoring victories in high roller events around Las Vegas. He’s won more in the last couple of months than some people will ever earn in a lifetime.

“I’ve been on the streak of a lifetime,” said Bonomo. “[I] obviously never expected anything like this. I mean, I think I’m a great player, but what I’ve done is above and beyond what I’ve ever expected or think I even deserve to be honest.”

With all those accolades to his name, he’s not getting too far ahead of himself. He just tries to focus on every decision as it comes.

However, there is one specific achievement that he would like to use this tournament to take advantage of.

“One thing I have been thinking about is the all-time leader list,” said the 32-year-old. “And it’d be kind of sweet I passed Negreanu. I was actually thinking at the start of the tournament like ‘Man, I really hope Negreanu doesn’t win because that will set me back five years in passing him. And you know, of course now, I have a really good shot to pass him.”

Currently, Bonomo sits in third on poker’s all-time money list, behind Erik Seidel and Daniel Negreanu. Both Negreanu and Seidel busted, which allows Bonomo to control his fate on the list for the time being.

A simple min-cash would vault Bonomo ahead of Seidel, but he would need a win to overtake Negreanu for the top spot. A second-place finish would put them neck-and-neck with just over $600,000 separating the two at the top.

With the current landscape of poker’s high roller scene, it wouldn’t take much for Bonomo to make up that ground.

Joining Bonomo on Day 3 is Fedor Holz (22,125,000), Dan Smith (21,450,000), Rick Salomon (19,650,000), businessman David Einhorn (12,300,000) and Byron Kaverman (10,525,000).

Kaverman was one of three players to buy-in on Day 2, entering the event just before cards got in the air and registration closed. Rainer Kempe and Brian Rast were the other two players to use the option, but they busted early in the day, while Kaverman survived, but will start Day 3 as the short stack.

A regular in the high roller fields, Kaverman late registered simply because he couldn’t make up his mind on whether or not to take a shot at the field.

“I was prepared to play the tournament on Day 1,” said Kaverman. “And my plan was to decide after it started and after I saw what was going on, I decided against it. I was hanging out in Summerlin playing soccer and hanging out with the guys having a beer after and decided to play then.”

Day 1 finished with 19 players, and with the three players who exercised the Day 2 buy-in option, there were 22 players to start the day, bringing the total field size to 27.

Cards got in the air at noon and they reached an unofficial nine-handed final table around 6 p.m. Cary Katz busted in 10th to combine to a single table before Seidel busted in ninth, Phil Ivey fell in eighth and Nick Petrangelo busted in seventh.

Petrangelo was all in with ace-eight of clubs against Bonomo’s pocket nines. Bonomo flopped a nine and had the Massachusetts native drawing dead on the turn. It was one of the bigger pots that Bonomo won throughout the day, who noted that he was able to build up a stack without one, single huge hand.

“I didn’t have any of those super favorable cooler situations, but I just won small pot after small pot with monster hands,” said Bonomo.

Petrangelo’s elimination ended the day’s play and boosted Bonomo’s stack. the final six players will play into the money and to a winner televised on a 30-minute delay on ESPN.

Dominik Nitsche, Matthew Siegal, Steffen Sontheimer, Jason Koon, Mikital Badziakouski, Stephen Chidwick, Talal Shakerchi and Adrian Mateos were also among the day’s eliminations.

Day 3 Seating Arrangement:

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

Relive the Day 2 action with live updates