Justin Bonomo with mother WSOP One for One Drop

Justin Bonomo: The Biggest Winner in Poker History

Poker pro Justin Bonomo, known as ZeeJustin online, is probably best known (at the moment) for winning the 2018 World Series of Poker’s (WSOP) Big One for One Drop and a handsome $10 million.

With this win, Bonomo surpassed former top earner Daniel Negreanu and now sits atop poker’s All Time Money List with total live career winnings nearing $43 million. 

(Featured image credit: PokerCentral)

Justin Bonomo early life

Like numerous other poker pros, the 32-year-old native Virginian is a former Magic the Gathering competitor. He began at age nine and by the time he turned 12, Bonomo was playing in Magic tournaments across the world.

At the age of 16 he parlayed his card skills into poker. Where he, impressively, turned a $500 deposit on Paradise Poker into a $10,000 bankroll.

In February, 2005—at the tender age of 19—Justin Bonomo became the youngest player featured at a televised final table at the European Poker Tour’s (EPT) French Open in Deauville. He placed fourth in the event and won €31,500 ($40,815).

Since then he has become a regular participant on the High Roller circuit and has been busy cashing in events such as the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Super High Roller Bowls across the world, and the Aria High Roller events in Las Vegas.

Between 2008 and 2010, Bodog Poker sponsored Bonomo as he represented Team Bodog in several tournaments across the globe.

Justin Bonomo

Online play and the multi-accounting scandal

Bonomo was also an avid online poker player. However, in 2006, Party Poker accused Bonomo of using multiple accounts in the site’s tournaments and by exploiting a software bug. Consequently, Justin was banned from numerous sites and had $100,000 of his bankroll confiscated. After the investigation, Bonomo publicly apologized for his actions but he also expressed that he felt Party Poker’s response was out of proportion.

Then, again, in 2011, Bonomo—along with Isaac Haxton—was accused by Prahlad Friedman of account sharing. Both players have vehemently denied these allegations asserting, instead, that Haxton was simply coaching Bonomo.

Bonomo played on Full Tilt and PokerStars, excelling in mid- to high-stakes Sit’n’Go’s as well as other games. However, following the infamous Black Friday scandal in 2011, Bonomo left Full Tilt to play on PokerStars in Malta.

Eventually, by 2015, he began devoting all of his playing time to live tournaments a decision that would pay off big time. 

Poker highlights

The WSOP has been very good to Justin Bonomo over the years. He entered his first WSOP event in 2007 and has cashed in numerous events each year since then. Of his $43 million, nearly $14 million came courtesy of cashing in an impressive 47 WSOP events.

Bonomo has three WSOP bracelets. He won his first in 2014 at the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’Em Six-Handed event, pocketing nearly $450,000. He won his second and third bracelets in the 2018 WSOP: first in the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’Em Championship where he took home nearly $186,000, and the second in the aforementioned Big One for One Drop where he beat the great Fedor Holz heads up. This impressive win propelled him from 14th place to number one.

Bonomo is currently ranked fourth on the Global Poker Index.

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Justin Bonomo 2018 Winning Spree

Bonomo has had a fantastic 2018 thus far—one that has been 17 years in the making. Here’s a look at his first-place finishes and prizes.

1/22/18—Lucky Hearts Poker Open, Hollywood
$25,500 High Roller

2/1/18—US Poker Open, Las Vegas
$10,500 No-Limit Hold’Em

3/20/18—Super High Roller Bowl, Macau
HK$ 2.1 million No-Limit Hold’Em
HK $37,830,000 ($4,823,077)

5/1/18—EPT, Monte Carlo
€25,000 No-Limit Hold’Em
€378,000 ($457,356)

5/3/18—EPT, Monte Carlo
€25,000 No-Limit Hold’Em, Single Re-Entry
€259,700 ($311,268)

5/27/18—2018 Super High Roller Bowl, Las Vegas
$300,000 No-Limit Hold’Em

5/31/18—Aria 25K-02, Las Vegas
$25,000 + $1,000 No-Limit Hold’Em High Roller

6/3/18—Aria 25k-03, Las Vegas
$25,000 + $1,000 No-Limit Hold’Em High Roller

6/6/18—49th WSOP, Las Vegas
$10,000 No-Limit Hold’Em Heads Up Championship

7/15/18—49th WSOP, Las Vegas
$1,000,000 Big One for One Drop

In addition to these wins, Bonomo also placed in the top five in several other EPT, WPT, and WSOP events. Furthermore, back in December 2017, Bonomo also won the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic $25,000 Bellagio High Roller twice for $310,500 and $140,000.

Justin Bonomo WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open

Justin Bonomo WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open 2017-18. Photo credit: WPT

Justin Bonomo today

Today, Bonomo calls Las Vegas home as he resides in the legendary Panorama Towers along with more than 70 other local poker pros. He definitely takes advantage of the local lifestyle. In fact, he is an avid fan of the annual Burning Man festival, the Vegas live music scene, and the incredible restaurants around town.

A frequent meditator and video game enthusiast, Bonomo also openly practices polyamory which he defines as “ethical, responsible, consensual, non-monogamy.”

There is little doubt that Justin Bonomo will continue his sick run throughout the rest of 2018—and likely beyond. It will be interesting to see just how far up the leader-board this talented player will eventually climb.

If you’d like to learn more about this impressive poker pro, you can follow his Justin Bonomo Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Until next time.

Note: Want to upgrade your poker skills? Get free preflop charts and start playing like a pro before the flop.

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About the Author
Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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