Justin Bonomo extended his lead over Bryn Kenney at the top of the all-time money list at the weekend after the eponymous American player ran out the winner in the $25,000 buy-in 8-Max High Roller, taking home $574,529 after a three-handed deal. With this latest victory, Bonomo moves just half a million dollars short of $60 m in live tournament winnings and is now $2.3 million clear of second-place Kenney at the top of the only leaderboard that matters.

In Form Alex Kulev Crashes Out First at Final Table

With the final table featuring nine players, play was not eight-max for the only time in the tournament. All-in for just six big blinds with ace-eight, Lithuanian player Dominykas Mikolaitis had called off his stack against the pre-flop shove of Rui Ferreira with ace-queen and although a seemingly miraculous eight landed on the turn, all that fortune was undone on the queen river to send Mikolaitis home with $90,350.

The Ireland-based Bulgarian Alex Kulev has been in rare form recently and he followed up results in the Super MILLION$ where he won in November, as well as four cashes at the EPT Prague festival in December and a 37th-place finish in the PCA Main Event that was won by Michel Dattani just a couple of days ago. Kulev was skittled in eighth place for $108,450 after his all-in pre-flop move for exactly ten big blinds with pocket threes ran into Justin Bonomo’s pocket queens, giving the American an early call and another scalp as a queen on the turn ended all hope Kulev might have been holding out for a late board reprieve of his own.

Bonomo did not have it all his own way, losing with king-queen to Mario Mosboeck’s ace-king to double up the Austrian, and soon after, it was Seth Davies who left in seventh place instead of the former short stack. Davies was all-in from the small blind with queen-ten, but Jean-Noel Thorel had a fairly simple call with ace-jack and the K-9-6-6-9 board didn’t reward Davies’s bravery, instead condemning him to the rail with $130,600.

Thorel Flips Out, Haxton the Hero

With six players left, Mosboeck’s recent double had only stayed his execution and the hangman caught up with him in sixth place for $169,800. The Austrian raise-called off his stack pre-flop with king-ten off-suit, only to run in into Ferreira’s pocket jacks and despite a ten landing on the flop, the ‘fishhooks’ held firm for Ferreira to climbs up the leaderboard at Mosboeck’s expense.

The Frenchmen Thorel was the next to go, busting in fifth place for $220,700 when his pocket deuces couldn’t win a coinflip against Ferreira’s ace-jack. The flop of Q-J-5 immediately put Thorel in extreme danger of his tournament ending, and no deuce on turn and river put paid to his dreams, sending the smiling player out before the fab four retook their seats to play down to a winner.

Carlos Chadha had barely appraised his new circumstances before deciding to get all his chips into the middle before the flop with pocket eights. That was in the form of a call after Isaac Haxton, he of the PokerGO Cup and PCA Super High Roller victories in the past week – earning him over $1.5 million – had shoved with pocket nines. No help came for Chadha on the flop, turn or river as the board came K-Q-4-4-2 to take him out of the equation for a cash result of $286,950.

Deal to Decide Leads to Bonomo Trophy

Three-handed, a deal was agreed on an ICM basis that left only the trophy to be played for. All three players were very happy with the deal, as at the time Haxton was shortest. Isaac Haxton’s start to January has been better than any other player, officially, because he moved to over $2 million in winnings after his third-place result, cashing for $491,550 when Justin Bonomo took care of his fellow American’s chances.

Haxton was all-in blind with ace-three and his two opponents followed suit, Bonomo’s queen-nine taking the pot after it hit two pair. Shortly afterwards, Ferreira followed from the felt, his ten-seven beating Bonomo’s deuce-three for a brief reprieve before six-four lost to the American’s king-five suited. The ten-high board sent Ferreira home as the runner-up despite him winning the most money ($664,820).

For Justin Bonomo, the amount was not too important within the context of the tournament, but in terms of the all-time money list, it mattered. Putting him over $2.3 million ahead of Bryn Kenney, and past $59.5 million in terms of lifetime earnings, Bonomo is now a long way ahead. While Kenney definitely plays the sort of events that mean a top prize may well give him the chance to catch his adversary, Bonomo’s current advantage gives him a huge chance of going into this summer’s World Series of Poker top of the pile.

2023 PCA $25,000 High Roller 8-Max Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Justin Bonomo U.S.A. $574,529*
2nd Rui Ferreira Portugal $664,820*
3rd Isaac Haxton U.S.A. $491,550*
4th Carlos Chadha Canada $286,950
5th Jean-Noel Thorel France $220,700
6th Mario Mosboeck Austria $169,800
7th Seth Davies U.S.A. $130,600
8th Alex Kulev Bulgaria $108,450
9th Dominykas Mikolatis Lithuania $90,350


James Guill

James Guill is a former professional poker player who writes fro GambleOnline.co about poker, sports, casinos, gaming legislation and the online gambling industry in general. His past experience includes working with IveyPoker, PokerNews, PokerJunkie, Bwin, and the Ongame Network. From 2006-2009 he participated in multiple tournaments including the 37th and 38th World Series of Poker (WSOP). James lives in Virginia and he has a side business where he picks and sells vintage and antique items.

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