Event #16: $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em Championship, began with 114 players. After 113 matches, only one emerged with an undefeated record. 32-year-old Justin Bonomo outlasted the field, going 7-0 to capture his second World Series of Poker gold bracelet and the first-place prize of $185,965. Already on a record-setting pace for tournament winnings in a calendar year, Bonomo's live winnings in 2018 now stand at an incredible $14.5 million and it is only a week into June and the 2018 World Series of Poker.
"I think I’m dreaming," said Bonomo. "I think that this is not real life and I think that’s the secret. Just win in your dreams because there you can actually win every tournament."
Dreams or not, the reality is that Bonomo keeps on winning and the end isn't in sight.
|Place||Winner||Country||Prize (in USD)|
|1||Justin Bonomo||United States||$185,965|
|2||Jason McConnon||United Kingdom||$114,933|
|3||Juan Pardo Dominguez||Spain||$73,179|
|6||Mark McGovern||United Kingdom||$31,086|
|7||Nicolai Morris||United States||$31,086|
Let's recap his road to victory, shall we?
With an odd bracket number of entries, the majority of the field was given half of their buy-in back and essentially played a $5,000 satellite in a "play-in" round. Bonomo drew fellow High Roller David Peters and told us after Day 2 that having to face against such a tough opponent, one that he is very familiar with, helped him to focus immediately. Bonomo scored the victory to earn a spot in the official bracket of 64 players where he faced off against David Laka. Bonomo flopped a pair with a flush draw, turned the flush, and Laka went all in after the river with just top pair. Bonomo called and won the match, earning a spot in the Round of 32.
There he faced fellow High Roller Jake Schindler. A long match wasn't in the cards, though, as Bonomo decimated Schindler's stack on the first hand. Bonomo flopped a set, rivered a full house, and had his hefty river bet paid off before closing it out two hands later to lock up a seat in the Round of 16 the following day.
Fellow bracelet winner Niall Farrell awaited him there, with the winner being guaranteed a min-cash. Despite it being early in the match with fairly even stacks, Farrell four-bet shoved for about 96 big blinds holding pocket threes and ran into Bonomo's pocket kings. No help came for Farrell, and Bonomo was the first to make the Round of 8. Mark McGovern was his opponent there and Bonomo held control for the majority of the match. With more than a 7:1 lead, Bonomo slightly trailed when the chips went in with ten-seven against McGovern's ace-six suited. McGovern flopped a flush draw to go along with his better hand, but Bonomo spiked a four-out turn to pull ahead. He maintained his lead through the river, and Bonomo was off to the semifinals the next day.
Martijn Gerrits and Bonomo played a fantastic match in the semifinals — one that lasted 93 hands. It was a back-and-forth battle for a while until Gerrits scored a significant double to take a sizable lead. It expanded to as much as about 8:1 in Gerrits' favor, but Bonomo scored a series of double-ups to retake the lead and closed it out shortly thereafter. Now he had to wait for the other semifinals match to play out, and it only took 18 hands for Jason McConnon to defeat Juan Pardo Dominguez to set the championship match.
McConnon held the lead after six hands, but after Bonomo seized it on Hand #7 he never relinquished it. He steadily chipped McConnon down until the chips went in on Hand #59. Down more than 7:1, McConnon committed his remaining chips with queen-nine and Bonomo looked him up with pocket fours. The pocket pair held and Bonomo won his second WSOP bracelet.
"In the final match, I simply caught much hotter cards than I did in the semifinal match. I didn’t know who my opponent was before the start of the championship, but I looked him up online and he plays high stakes cash online. He’s just the type of guy that knows all the spots inside and out. Definitely not someone that you want to face in a heads-up tournament."
Asked how it felt compared to his first bracelet, Bonomo gave an honest response.
"The first bracelet definitely felt a lot more special. I had four second-place finishes at that time without a first-place finish. Now, I don’t really have to feel like I have to get any monkey off my back anymore or kill any kind of curse. The significance of this one just means that my insane winning streak isn’t over. I just hope it continues."
There are no signs of Bonomo cooling off yet, and that's a scary thought for the rest of the poker community.
That wraps up our coverage of the $10,000 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold'em event. Keep your browser locked to PokerNews.com through the duration of the World Series of Poker!