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Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Pro Dead

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

Professional poker player John “Bones” Bonetti, who won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) championship gold bracelets in his career and finished third in the WSOP Main Event twice, has died.

He was 80.

Born in New York City, New York, USA, Bonetti died in Houston, Texas, USA, his adopted hometown, on June 28, after a long battle with cancer, according to media reports.

According to tournament records, Bonetti captured his first WSOP bracelet in 1990, winning a $5,000 buy-in, no-limit 2-7 lowball draw tournament that earned him $83,250.

His second bracelet came at the 1993 WSOP, where he won a $1,500 buy-in, pot-limit Texas hold ‘em tournament and earned $122,400.

His third and final WSOP bracelet came in 1995, when he won another $5,000 buy-in, no-limit 2-7 lowball draw tournament and earned $101,250.

He almost won the WSOP Main Event.


In both 1993 and 1996, Bonetti finished in third place in the WSOP Main Event.

The ‘93 WSOP Main Event third-place finish earned him $210,000 and the ‘96 WSOP Main Event third-place finish earned him $341,250.

In all, he finished in the money in 32 WSOP events in his career, and made 20 WSOP final tables.

He also won a lot of money competing in World Poker Tour events and in tournaments hosted by various casinos.

Records show he earned almost $2.7 million in his career playing tournament poker.

Remarkably, he didn’t start playing poker until he was 55 years old, in 1983, and then he didn’t start playing professionally until a couple years after that, media reports said.

His first WSOP payout came in 1987, when he finished in 23rd place in a hold ‘em tourney and earned $10,000, records show.

Maybe even more remarkably, he was diagnosed with spinal cancer and prostate cancer in 1993, media reports said, but continued to play poker and play it well, winning his last gold bracelet well after the double-diagnosis.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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