Bonomo, Mercier's Eyewitness Account of $25K Aria High Roller Debacle

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After buying into a $125 tournament, a player was accidentally seated at the $25k high roller

“This guy very clearly knew what he was doing and was trying to steal money from the casino,” said Justin Bonomo.

The man Bonomo was talking about was the curly-haired Aria impostor.

A few days ago, a player brought into a daily $125 tournament at Aria but accidentally got seated at the $25,000 high roller.

The curly-haired impostor laid low and played his game.

“He didn’t say a word the entire time, he just had headphones and sunglasses on.” Bonomo said.

“In hindsight it’s pretty clear that he was trying to get away with something and didn’t want to draw any attention to himself."

Bonomo says the curly-haired impostor played for about seven hours. During that time, he played with and eliminated some of the top names in the game.

“He actually knocked me out,” said Jason Mercier. “It’s pretty unfortunate and I’m hoping that they make it right.”

Like Bonomo, Mercier said it was clear that the curly-haired impostor was trying to fly under the radar.

“He didn't really say much at all and was kind of undercover,” Mercier said.

Justin Bonomo 7
Justin Bonomo

“He splashed around in the beginning, did some weird stuff like raise 6x and whatever, but besides that he played pretty decent once we started to get deeper.

“I think he was just playing tight, trying to get a min-cash for $40,000.”

The Eye in the Sky Sees All

But no matter how inconspicuous you are, numbers don’t lie. The cage eventually noticed that they were about $25,000 short.

“Roughly 30 minutes after registration closed is when it happened,” Bonomo said.

“They must’ve been calculating the prize pool and realized the money they had didn’t add up.

“He was playing at the table with 300,000, which is 3x starting stack, and a floorman comes over and whispers something in his ear that takes like three seconds to say.

“The floorman grabs his backpack, the guy doesn’t question it, he’s not confused, he doesn’t hesitate, he just gets up and immediately follows the floorman.

“What I was later told is that once he got out of the poker room he just sprinted out of the casino.”

The curly-haired imposter was banned from the premises and his stack was taken out of play.

Some players are saying this didn’t go far enough and that players should be compensated.

Bonomo and Mercier Agree: "Aria Should do Something" 

“I mean, they should do something between a full refund and some sort of compensation for the people that were affected,” Mercier said.

Jason Mercier
Jason Mercier

“They could easily do some sort of rake-free something for everyone that played for the next five tournaments or something. I don’t know.

“It was definitely a weird situation.”

Bonomo doesn’t agree though and actually argues that the curly-haired imposter could have been beneficial for other players.

“If anything the players got kind of free rolled,” Bonomo said.

“Because if he actually cashed in the tournament, they’d have to pay the extra $25,000, take his money and move that down to the other players.

“I don’t think there’s really any scenario where the players could’ve gotten shorted money or screwed.

“I think they should do something for the players, like, sorry we screwed up, but I don’t think they owe $25,000 to all the players that got knocked out or anything crazy like that.”

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