Justin Bonomo Stakes His Claim as World's Best No-Limit Hold’em Player

Justin Bonomo Stakes His Claim as the Best No-Limit Hold’em Player in the World

June 8th, 2018 by Jon Sofen

Justin Bonomo advanced on Thursday to the final four at the WSOP $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up Championship — yet another incredible accomplishment, win or lose, in a heater of historic proportions, arguably even better than Fedor Holz’s epic 2016 run.

Justin Bonomo heads-up

Justin Bonomo (center) has been utterly dominating his competition in 2018, and could be one day away from winning his second WSOP bracelet. (Image: Jon Sofen/CardsChat News)

Bonomo is guaranteed his 43rd career WSOP cash for at least $73,000 regardless of how the cards fall on Friday. After winning the Super High Roller Bowl last week, he told PokerGo in his post-game interview that he’s “at the top” of his game and among the best no-limit hold’em players in the world. It’s hard to dispute that claim.

Since shipping the SHRB for $5 million, enough to propel the former Team Bodog member to third on poker’s all-time tournament winnings list ($32.6 million), he’s won two $25,000 buy-in Aria high rollers for $660,000 combined and has a chance to win his second career bracelet — $186,000 goes to the winner — on Friday if he can beat out two more heads-up opponents.

Performance for the Ages

Bonomo’s skillful — and admittedly lucky — run began long before the SHRB. It started back in January at the PokerStars PCA in the Bahamas with a $1 million score for 2nd place in a $100,000 Super High Roller followed by four six-figure cashes before scooping the Super High Roller Bowl China for $4.8 million.

In total, he’s cashed for $14,568,638, all in no-limit hold’em tournaments, since the start of the year. To put things in perspective, had Bonomo never before played in a single poker tournament, he’d have enough in earnings to rank 33rd on the all-time winnings list just from the past five-plus months. Or, enough money to retire comfortably, at age 32.

Comparing Two Superstars

In 2016, at age 23, Fedor Holz had an eight-month stretch many considered the greatest heater in poker history. During that span, the young German sensation had $15.8 million in cashes, including four seven-figure scores.

Bonomo, with an average of $2.9 million in cashes per month this year is on pace to shatter Fedor’s run from January to August 2016. If “ZeeJustin,” his long-time online poker screen name, continues at this pace, he will have won over $20 million for the year by the middle of August.

Tale of the Tape: Bonomo 2018 vs. Holz 2016


  • $14.5 million in cashes (early January to early June)
  • $2.9 million average monthly cashes
  • 8 tournament titles
  • 0 WSOP bracelets*
  • 3 seven-figure scores


  • $15.8 million in cashes (early January to late August)
  • $1.98 million average monthly cashes
  • 6 tournament titles
  • 1 WSOP bracelet
  • 4 seven-figure scores

*Bonomo is one of four remaining players in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Heads-Up Championship

Left on the WSOP schedule includes the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop in July, a tournament that will likely pay its winner at least $14 million, along with the Main Event and the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. So, there’s plenty of opportunity for Bonomo to crush Holz’s mark.

Chasing Negreanu

Before the year began, Bonomo wasn’t even in the top 15 all-time. Now, he’s rapidly climbing closer to Daniel Negreanu’s long-held record. Sure, $7 million may seem like a lot more ground to cover, but it’s hardly a benchmark out of Bonomo’s reach.

Current All-Time Live Tournament Money List

1 Daniel Negreanu (Canada) $39,546,094
2 Erik Seidel (United States) $34,507,095
3 Justin Bonomo (United States) $32,601,796
4 Dan Colman (United States) $28,925,059
5 Antonio Esfandiari (United States) $27,628,047

The $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop returns to the WSOP for the first time since 2014, and it’s almost certain to shake up the all-time leaderboard. Dan Colman, the 2014 champion, won $15.3 million of his lifetime $28.9 million lifetime earnings from that one event. Antonio Esfandiari added $18 million to his totals when he won in 2012.

In addition to the current top five, Bryn Kenney, Phil Ivey, and Fedor Holz all could leapfrog past Negreanu with a Big One for One Drop title.

As well as Bonomo has been playing — and as lucky as he has been getting — he’s almost certain to be the favorite to win the One Drop, or any NLH tournament for that matter.

7 Responses to “Justin Bonomo Stakes His Claim as the Best No-Limit Hold’em Player in the World”

  1. pirateglenn says:

    It has to be said..justin is becoming more legendary by the day and truly deserves that title..he is a consumate grinder 🙂

  2. playinggameswithu says:

    Eh…still think Ivey and Hellmuth are best players cash and MTT respectively. Remember Eric Lindgren was considered a running hot champion, now we know the truth on that.

  3. mitchy boi says:

    Would love to have bono in a bracelet bet I think hes so due to win one, there are alot of “minefields” to dodge in the large fields which is why the smaller field higher buy ins can have the same winners over and over a lot less luck involved. still all the best too him and gl !

  4. Zorba says:

    “Bonomo, with an average of $2.9 million in cashes per month this year”…….wow that’s insane, clearly he is heading to the title of best ever player, I wish him all the luck in the world and will be following his progress.

  5. JBGoode says:

    It’s crazy how good this guy has been running this year. absolute laser focus to be able to pull off what he has done. I would love to just have a 10 min conversation with this guy to pick his brain.

  6. akmost says:

    Seems like there is someone out there that has smashed variance. Ok, just outstanding performance so far and as the article pointed out the Big One for One Drop will change things on the leader board. Such a massive buy in and such huge 1st place prize. Have to wait for mid summer 15th of July to watch the tourney. Don’t know who gonna win it but some epic battles will be witnessed!I will stay tuned!!!!

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