Three time World Series of Poker bracelet winner John Bonetti has died of cancer on Saturday, June 28th in Houston, Texas. Bonetti got his first WSOP bracelet in 1990 at the No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball event, he then went on to win his second bracelet in 1993 at the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’em Event.
Then in 1995 he won his third bracelet in the No Limit Deuce to Seven Lowball event where Johnny Chan finished in second place and Doyle Brunson finished in third. Overall John Bonetti has made 20 final table appearances at the World Series of Poker.
He would have appeared more but he didn’t begin playing poker until he was 57 unlike a lot of new players that are starting to play the moment they turn the legal age. Bonetti got his first World Series of Poker cash in 1987 and in 2001 he was introduced into the Seniors Hall of Fame.
At that time he was reported to have played in the WSOP Championship event 16 times and he finished in the money seven times, twice coming in with a third place win. In his acceptance speech Bonetti said poker was “the greatest game in the world,” and stressed that no one is too old to ever learn the game or get better at it.
Vince Burgio introduced Bonetti at the Seniors Hall of Fame induction ceremony and described Bonetti as being a tough, hard nosed competitor that gave no quarter and asked for no quarter. He also said that Bonetti was someone that displayed generosity and compassion for those who were less fortunate and for those that needed “a stake in a satellite or a few bucks to get home on.”
Bonetti will be remembered for some is numerous accomplishments in poker and for being one of the game’s most abrasive and colorful players. Phil Hellmuth said that Bonetti would have been “a huge star if the cameras had come five years earlier.”
Two time bracelet winner Mark Seif remebers Bonetti and said, “I was always so entertained by John — he always made me laugh. One time in Aruba he was firing at pot after pot after pot. I asked him why and he said, ‘Sometimes my wife likes to eat! Sometimes my wife likes to eat twice a day!” The way Bonetti said it, Seif noted, had the whole table cracking up. Seif also stated that Bonetti “… was fearless. He would play literally any two cards.”
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