Bracelet winner John Bonetti dies at 80

John Bonetti
John Bonetti: 1928-2008

Phil Hellmuth broke the news over the weekend that three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner John Bonetti died on Saturday, June 28.

Bonetti had been waging a long battle with cancer and had been told he only had a few months left. According to Hellmuth in his blog, Bonetti had been given that sentence more than once over the years and beat the odds, but this time his number was up.

Bonetti, nicknamed Bono in the poker world, won his first World Series of Poker bracelet in 1990 in the $5,000 2-7 Draw after getting a late start to his poker career. He didn't begin playing poker until the age of 55 when a coworker encouraged him to try the game.

Bonetti made his WSOP debut in 1987 with his first cash when he was on the verge of 60 years old, and he continued on to great success after his first bracelet win in 1990. That same year he had numerous other wins and in 1993 he picked up another WSOP bracelet as well, plus two third-place finishes.

In 1995 he came back to win the $5,000 2-7 Draw event for a second time for his third bracelet win.

His domination of tournament poker in the 90s also included two third-place finishes in the WSOP Main Event.

Had Bonetti come along just a few years later when the poker boom happened, he could have been one of the most well-known players on the circuit for all the final tables he's made over the years in various events.

"Like most poker players (and me), Bono swore a little bit too much. Also, like most poker players, he had a big heart," Hellmuth wrote in his blog. "Bono's fire at the table in poker tournaments was legendary! He wanted to win more than you did, period."

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