|John Bonetti, a three-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, has died of cancer in his hometown of Houston at the age of 80.|
Brooklyn-born Bonetti won his first WSOP bracelet in the 1990 $5,000 Deuce-To-Seven Draw event before going on to triumph in the $1,500 Pot Limit Hold’Em event three years later. He won his final bracelet again in the $5,000 Deuce-To-Seven Draw event in 1995 and had career earnings in excess of four million dollars alongside 20 WSOP final table appearances.
“From the outside eyes he was a very misunderstood guy,” said Al Barbieri.
“He had no problem telling his feelings or sharing his thoughts. Sometimes he’d out of line, with the f-word and stuff, but when he got away from the table this was a man who was very generous. He had a heart as big as this room. He was like a real teddy bear.
“He helped me all my ten years I’ve been winning. He was a great poker and made me a great poker player. I owe all my success to him.”
Diagnosed in 1993 with both spinal and prostate cancer, Bonetti didn’t slow down and cashed four times, all wins, between November of 1993 and February of 1994. He repeated his third place finish at the WSOP Main Event in 1996 and had 32 cashes at the WSOP in his career. He also finished on the television final table bubble of the World Poker Tour’s World Poker Open in 2004.
Bonetti was inducted into the Seniors Hall of Fame in 2001 and called poker ‘the greatest game in the world’, stressing that a player was never too old to learn the game or keep getting better at it.