– General Information –
Known as ZeeJustin to those who follow him online, Justin Bonomo was born on September 30, 1985 and spent his formative years in Virginia. Currently 1st on the All-Time Money List (with nearly $43,000,000), he’s taking the poker world by storm.
Bonomo’s obsessive study of his opponents’ hand histories and playing styles is well known, but this concentrated and particularly analytical approach to playing poker definitely works for him.
– Key Career Dates –
- 2005: 1st teenager to appear on TV at a poker event—the EPT French Open
- 2008: 1st victory in a Poker Tournament, Team Championship – No Limit Hold’em
Dream Team Championship in Las Vegas for $18,000
- 2012: 1st place at the Monte Carlo EPT Super High Roller for $2,167,588
- 2014: 1st WSOP Bracelet ($1,500 No Limit Hold’em Six Handed) for $449,980
- 2017: Two victories at the WPT High Roller at the Bellagio ($25,000 No Limit Hold’em)
- 2018: 2nd WSOP Bracelet and Biggest Live Cash ($5,000,000) at the $300,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller Bowl.
– Justin Bonomo’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Bonomo has been an avid gamer since childhood. The first game he fell in love with was Magic: The Gathering, which he started playing when he was 9, and by the time he was 12, he was competing in the top Magic tournaments around the world.
Although the prize pools for Magic were often worth up to $250k, Bonomo soon realized that a lot of Magic players were also making pretty good money playing poker online. He decided to give it a try too, but he found it difficult to build his bankroll. Unexpectedly, a Magic tournament in California proved to be a turning point in his poker career.
While at the Magic tournament, Bonomo watched some of a WPT on TV and got caught up in the live action. Reinvigorated to play more poker, he bought a few books and read them on his flight home to Virginia, where he began to approach his poker game with renewed focus and motivation.
At 16, he started playing online poker seriously. He sold an MMORPG character (Everquest) for $500, which he deposited on Paradise Poker. Continuing his intense study, he worked his way up the ranks at Party Poker. Eventually, he built his bankroll to about $10k.
In September 2004, he made his debut in live play when he competed in a WPT event in Aruba. Although he failed to make it to the second day of play, he learned a lot that he brought back to a much more successful second attempt.
On his second attempt at the 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, Bonomo came in 30th place, earning him $15,600. However, being under 21 and living in the US made it difficult for him to find live games that he was legally allowed to play in. Needing to find a way to hone his skills, he turned to the only option available and headed to Europe, which turned out to be a great move for him.
In February of the same year, he took 4th place at the French Open, becoming the youngest player ever to make a televised final table. That moment marked his breakthrough moment, as he went on to sit at many final tables, including at the World Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker.
→ World Series of Poker ←
- 2007: 1st WSOP appearance; cashed in three events, including a 4th-place finish in the $2,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, which brought him his biggest cash yet: $150,000.
- 2008: two WSOP cashes, including 2nd at the $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event for $230,159.
- 2009: six WSOP cashes, including a final table at the $40,000 No-Limit Hold’em – 40th Anniversary event for more than $400,000.
- 2011: four WSOP cashes and another runner-up finish at the $2,500 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw event for $117,305.
- 2012: six WSOP cashes, including €20,150 for 48th place at the WSOP Europe Main Event.
- 2014: 1st place at the 1,500 No Limit Hold’em – Six Handed (Event #11) for $449,980.
- 2016: 2nd place at the $50K Poker Player’s Championship for $801,048.
- 2018: 1st place at the $10K Heads Up for $185,965.
→ WPT ←
Although he doesn’t have a World Poker Tour title, Bonomo has made a total of $890,800 from WPT competition. His biggest cash in a WPT event came in December 2016 when he finished 5th in the $10,000 + 400 No Limit Hold’em #17 Five Diamond Main Event for $345,272.
He followed up that excellent showing with a great 2017 at the WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic in Las Vegas, where he came in 1st at the $ 25,000 No Limit Hold’em – Bellagio High Roller #14 and #25 for $310,500 and $140,000 and 4th at the #15 of the same event for $97,500.
→ Other Tournaments ←
- 2012: 1st EPT win in Monte Carlo at the Super High Roller 8 Max Event for $2,165,217.
- 2015: 1st in Malta at the € 2,000 + 200 #47 No Limit Hold’em for $106,370.
- 2016: 1st in Monte Carlo at the € 2,000 + 200 No Limit Hold’em #47 for $126,568.
- 2018: 1st in Monte Carlo at the € 25,000 No Limit Hold’em #24 for $457,356 and the €24,700 + 300 No Limit Hold’em – Single Re-Entry #40 for $311,268.
Super High Rollers:
In march 2018, Justin Bonomo won the Super High Roller Bowl China title for $4,800,000, beating Patrik Antonius.
In june 2018, Justin Bonomo beat Daniel Negreanu and won Aria Casino’s Super High Roller Bowl for $5,000,000.
In july 2018, Justin Bonomo beat Fedor Holz and won the Big One for One Drop for$10,000,000, his biggest cash.
→ Global Poker League ←
In 2018, he joined the first Global Poker League, teaming up with Igor Kurganov, Chris Moorman, Liv Boeree, Sam Trickett, and Vanessa Selbst for the London Royals team.
He’s currently (2018) ranked among the top players on the Player of the Year Index.
He battled Randy Lew (aka Nanonoko):
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) May 11, 2016
→ Online Poker ←
Bonomo used to have an account on Party Poker, where he was known by many as the 12 tabler due to his ability to play 12-hour straight online poker sessions. His cunning ability to dominate Sit N Go poker at Party Poker often involved playing eight $200+15 Sit N Go tables at once. At the peak of his online poker playing, he visited the $1k Sit N Go’s and played 8 at a time. According to Bonomo, he nets about $400/hour when he plays like this.
Eventually, he moved up to the biggest heads-up poker on PokerStars and FullTilt, from $25/50 to $100/$200. As Bonomo puts it:
“For me it’s really fun to play against the same player for 3,000 hands straight. You get to really analyze every aspect of his play, every single decision you make is so important heads-up. You really have to figure out every aspect of your opponents play and I enjoy that.”
However, following the total crash of his online career in 2010, he basically stopped playing on FullTilt:
Following the Black Friday fiasco, Bonomo headed to Malta and found better results playing on PokerStars, eventually joining the ranks of the SuperNova Elite. In 2015, he concluded that big live cash was a far better score for him.
→ Sponsorship Deals ←
From 2008 to 2010, Bonomo joined David Williams, Evelyn Ng and Jean-Robert Bellande as a member of Bodog Poker’s online pro team.
→ Scandals ←
Party Poker accused Bonomo of multi-table cheating in 2006. Exploiting a bug in their software enabled him to open multiple accounts at once by rapidly clicking the Party Poker icon. Once they proved that he had indeed done this, Party Poker confiscated $100k from his account, which equaled approximately the same amount that he had made the week before when he won the Big Sunday $600+40 Party Poker tournament. After a thorough investigation of his account, Party Poker concluded that his winnings from the Big Sunday tournament ($137k) were legitimate.
After the investigation, Justin publicly apologized for his actions and added a public statement to his website explaining how wrong he felt his behavior was but arguing that he believes that Party Poker’s response was blown out of proportion. While many of his followers support his argument that Party Poker overreacted to the situation, others were more than a little disappointed in him.
Account Sharing accusations
Prahlad Friedman accused Bonomo and his friend Isaac Haxton of account sharing in 2011, but they have both vehemently denied the accusation. Instead, they’ve suggested that Haxton may have been coaching Bonomo and the situation was misunderstood.
Hole Cards debate
During the Super High Roller Bowl in 2016, Bonomo refused to show his hole cards on the televised game, which earned him the ire of several players who openly criticized his decision. Indeed, Leon Tsoukernik took the criticism a step further, calling Bonomo “a scandal person” and suggesting that he should be disqualified.
After winning an EPT Monaco Satellite Event in November of 2016, Bonomo refused to an official photograph because he claimed that PokerStars “stole” $50k from him in rake when they failed to honor the previous SuperNova reward system through the conclusion of the 2016 calendar year. However, he gave in to the request once it was pointed out to him that the tournament rules legally binded him to oblige to the photo request:
Legally binded by the tournament rules, he finally obliged :
Bonomo’s stance on sexism
In his short life as a blogger, Bonomo created only two posts on the BlogSpot account he opened in 2015: One that narrated his Burning Man Festival experience and a second taking a stand against “Sexism and Misogyny in Poker“. In this post, he wrote, “An inexcusably large percentage of male poker players treat women like shit.”
He followed up on this indictment of sexism in poker in 2016, when he reported other players’ inappropriate behavior during a tournament. Using Twitter to report what he witnessed at the 47th Annual WSOP, he logged instances of “microaggressions,” which he defined as a “subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other non-dominant group that is often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype.”
Most recently, in response to the #metoo movement in 2017, Bonomo declared his support for the cause via social media and publically apologized for his own role in perpetuating sexist stereotypes and sexually aggressive behaviors:
– Justin Bonomo’s Private Life –
→ Love Life ←
According to Bonomo, he practices “ethical, responsible, consensual, non-monogamy“. Also known as “polyamory,” Bonomo enjoys non-monogamous, multi-partner relationships. As he further explained:
“I’ve watched girlfriends play with other people before, and it’s something I actually enjoy, it turns me on, I’m not possessive at all.” Moreover, he’s stated, “To me, that’s the strongest bond, when you can be emotionally intimate and sexually intimate with them, and you can still talk about other relationships with other people, that’s a really strong, powerful connection“.
→ Net Worth ←
According to Hendonmob, Bonomo’s is currently 1st on the All-Time Money List with Total Live Earnings of nearly $43,000,000.
→ Hobbies & Personal Life ←
Bonomo lives in Las Vegas, but he generally enjoys a more quiet life, rather than the party life the city is known for. Prior to 2018, when he moved, he lived in Panorama Towers, which is a three-building complex that houses over 70 professional poker players, including Barry Greenstein, Joe Sebok, David Williams, Adam Junglen and the Binger brothers, Michael and Nick. Bonomo is close friends with Haxton and Seiver. So close, in fact, that they all used to have a piece of each other’s action.
All moved in to my new apartment in Vegas pic.twitter.com/AtUOJpLo0O
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) May 23, 2018
In a 2010 interview with Bluff Magazine, Bonomo said claimed that while he rarely goes out to night clubs, he does revel in all the wonderful food options available in Vegas: “A night out for the most part is just go to a restaurant and get like six courses and just really enjoy it. We’ve made it a point to find all the best restaurants in Vegas. I think there’s 18 Michelin-rated restaurants in Las Vegas and I’ve eaten at 12 of them. So I’m making it a goal to eat at all of them.”
Besides poker and great eats, Bonomo enjoys playing video games (particularly Heartstone and Street Fighter), meditating, and listening to live music. He can frequently be found at alternative rock concerts.
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) April 30, 2018
Morning meditation in the Japanese gardens of Monaco to prepare for a long day of poker. A passerby took this photo of me and sent it to me a few days later when I ended up at his table pic.twitter.com/xSIJxa8qxD
— Justin Bonomo (@JustinBonomo) April 30, 2018
Although he hasn’t publically expressed an interest in any particular philanthropic ventures, Bonomo did donate $13,250 to the SENS project, which is a life extension research project for the elderly.
– Justin Bonomo on Social Media –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JustinBonomo 36,400 followers
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zeejustin/ 3,600 subscribers