Justin Bonomo has been in an excellent form in the last months and he carried his momentum to the US Poker Open. The 32-year-old American pro showcased his talent in the first $10,000 No Limit Hold'em event, topping the 68-entry field for a $190,400 payday.
"I've just had an incredible run of cards in the last two months and I hope it continues," said Bonomo who already came into the US Poker Open as the #1 ranked player on the GPI Player of the Year leader board.
Bonomo takes an early lead in the race for the overall US Poker Open title which comes with a spectacular, 25-inch tall trophy. In the moments after his victory, Bonomo declared he'll jump straight into the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha event that kicked off earlier today.
Bonomo has been constantly showing his prowess in the toughest tournaments all around the world. He's also an accomplished mixed games player and the combination of his skill set, fine form and a brilliant start immediately puts him among the hottest favourites for the US Poker Open crown.
Bonomo came back for the final day holding the chip lead. But even the shortest stacks among the final six contenders maneuvered a solid 40 big blinds so everyone had a legitimate shot at the victory.
The main character of the opening period was Boutros Nadim, a recreational player from Lebanon who fearlessly competed in a lot of pots, seeing many flops. Nadim's approach paid off when he tangled in a three-bet pot with Sam Soverel who eventually called Nadim's all-in on a turn. Soverel had just a third pair and a gutshot straight draw and Nadim's top pair dodged a lethal damage as he stacked a big double to take over the lead.
Meanwhile, Bonomo kept handling his big stack with an excellent precision, picking his spots with a pinpoint accuracy. Other contenders were making moves as well with the 30-second shot clock keeping the tournament at an entertaining pace. PokerGO viewers could watch the dramatic battles with the hole cards up.
Soverel was eventually the first player to leave the table as he couldn't mount a comeback after the loss to Nadim. Stephen Chidwick finished him off in a fair race, beating Soverel's sevens with ace-jack.
However, Chidwick ended up being the next casualty. A few unfortunate collisions significantly wounded his stack and Chidwick put his last nine big blinds in play when his king-jack was dominated by David Peters' king-queen.
It was Nadim still guarding the pole position at the time but Peters was getting more involved in the action with his stack growing to a more comfortable position.
The fact that Justin Young didn't double his short stack certainly helped Peters and Bonomo whose game plan could shift a little away from the ICM. Bonomo took care of Young, raise-calling a 15-big blind shove with king-queen suited. Young was a hair ahead with ace-seven but a king on the flop sent him packing.
Peters was the shortest stack among the final three but he patiently cruised his chips until he found himself on the better side of a cooler, getting a full double from Nadim. Peters flopped a set versus top two and while both players slow-played their hands, the river brought the inevitable fireworks.
Peters was still trailing his two remaining rivals but he narrowed the gap and even took over the lead for a moment before facing off with Bonomo in a key pot.
They had been to many of the blind-versus-blind battles before and Bonomo had the advantage of a better position. Most of the pots between the two heavyweights ended in small contests but the 131st hand on the final table was a different one.
Peters limp-called with six-five suited and flopped an open-ended straight draw. After a checked flop, Bonomo hit a top pair on the turn but Peters took the betting lead. Bonomo called and Peters hit his own pair on the river but it was only a third pair. He checked and Bonomo over-shoved, puzzling Peters. He eventually pulled off a call only to see Bonomo claiming the pot worth two-thirds of all chips in play.
That looked to be the decider, even more so when Bonomo knocked out Peters on the following hand. He entered the heads-up as a three-to-one chip leader over his less experienced opponent.
But Nadim was ready to fight for the win as hard as he could. He was one card away from being eliminated when he over-shoved with a bottom pair only to run into a top pair but the river not only saved him but also catapulted to the lead.
Poker gods were fair to Bonomo and rescued him once as well when he was all-in with two pair against the same two pair but holding a worse kicker. The river brought a chop and the final match would continue on for a few more dozens of hands.
It was a case of many double ups for Nadim who bounced back from five big blinds at one point, scoring three doubles in a span of just six hands.
But Bonomo tackled his rival again when they clashed in a massive cooler. Nadim had no chance to escape as he looked down at ace-king. Bonomo, however, held the bullets and the chips naturally went in preflop. Bonomo's aces held strong and he finally busted Nadim in the next hand, the 183rd of the final table.
"You put me in some really tough spots, man," Bonomo said to Nadim, praising him for his aggressive approach. "I enjoyed it," Nadim replied.
US Poker Open - Event #1: $10,000 No Limit Hold'em results:
|1||Justin Bonomo||United States||$190,400|
|3||David Peters||United States||$88,400|
|4||Justin Young||United States||$68,000|
|5||Stephen Chidwick||United Kingdom||$54,400|
|6||Sam Soverel||United States||$40,800|
|7||Cary Katz||United States||$34,000|
|8||Andy Park||United States||$27,200|
|9||Jake Schindler||United States||$20,400|
|10||Anthony Zinno||United States||$20,400|
Justin Bonomo is the first winner at the US Poker Open but there are seven more tournaments to find their champions so make sure you tune back to PokerGO for the cards-up final table broadcast and to PokerNews for the live coverage of the series.