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Poker Mental Game & Planning

Justin Bonomo Poker Strategy

12,777 Views on 22/5/17

Justin Bonomo is somewhat of a controversial figure in the poker world and his game is certainly worth of some close examination.

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Justin Bonomo is somewhat of a controversial figure in the poker world. Back in the good old Party Poker days a decade or so ago. Bonomo was caught influencing his luck beyond the legally acceptable measures.

Justin played multi entry tournaments way before it was cool - or acceptable - by registering to major tournaments using a few different accounts. However, unlike many other players who have fallen out of poker world's grace for one reason or another, Bonomo apologized and made an effort to atone for his transgressions by donating some portion of his tournament winnings to charity.

Justin became a very successful poker player since then. With more than $15,000,000 in tournament winnings, he's just outside of the top 20 on the all-time money list. He's also a bracelet winner an accomplished cash games player and his game is certainly worth of some close examination.

Taking a Page out of Ike Haxton Book

Justin Bonomo and Isaac Haxton share many similarities. They are both highly accomplished players in the tournament and the cash game poker formats, they are the same age, they both have a history of playing a collectible card game called Magic: the Gathering before they retired the cards with elves and dragons and swapped them for queens and aces. They are also fans of highly underused and extremely devastating cbet/3bet line.

In this particular hand, Bonomo opened his button with 86o and got called by Tobias Reinkemeier in the big blind. Reinkemeier is an extremely tough player, a real tournament veteran, which makes a play Bonomo made against him all the more impressive. The flop offered many different draw and combo draw possibilities, fortunately for Bonomo, he was holding one of those hands and he was heavily blocking many of the other ones, not to mention the fact that between his middle pair, a gutshot draw and backdoor he had plenty of equity.

Additionally, Reinkemeier range was somewhat capped by the fact that he declined to 3bet preflop. Because of how well Justin's hand wrapped around the board texture, he had no issue recognizing the fact that Tobias was unbalanced towards bluffs and he punished that with a flop 3bet.

By going all in Bonomo ensured the maximum amount of pressure and denied his opponent the ability to use his stack as leverage and go over the top once again.

Everything by the Book

Sometimes all you need to do is to flop a flush and keep betting. This little hand from PokerStars Big Game serves as a great reminder that long and successful poker careers are built on solid betting lines.

Flopping a flush is, of course, a matter of short term luck but having enough discipline to avoid the fancy play syndrome and follow through with a disciplined triple barrel for value, is something that surprisingly large percentage of players have trouble with. This is especially true for beginners who find the solid lines too 'basic' or 'boring'.

A good rule of thumb, in this case, would be "if the line isn't too good for Justin Bonomo it certainly isn't too good for you". It also turns out that even players like Jason Mercier can on rare occasions, turn into real pay-off wizards if you give them the chance to do so.

Redemption Story

Turns out that being good at flopping flushed could prove to be a great recipe for a long successful poker career! That being said the last hand from the WSOP 2014 Event #11, isn't exciting due to the board texture.

It's an important milestone in Bonomo's career because it bookends his redemption story. While some poker fans are still unhappy with Justin's multi-accounting scandal, he approached the issue in a mature way, he apologized, made amends and that allowed him to stay in the poker world for long enough to eventually win a WSOP bracelet and secure his place in the annals of poker history.

Sometimes the most important skill a poker player can have is not the ability to crush souls at a table with fancy betting lines. It's the willingness right the wrongs, keep his head down, stay consistent and persistent.

Justin Bonomo is someone who did exactly that, which in turn brought him some forgiveness, a WSOP bracelet and a whole lot of cash.

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Matt is predominantly a mental game and planning expert, with a terrific knowledge of science, meditation, practical methods of improvement and of course, a good level of poker skill! Look out for his strategy articles and follow him for hi ... Read More


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