See The Unhappiest Winner Ever of an EPT Monte Carlo EventMay 13, 2016 12:24 pm
At the start of May, Justin Bonomo took down the €2,200 EPT Monte Carlo for €110,600 ($126,568), and in the process boosted his live career earnings to just shy of $10 million. However, the 30 year-old US pro is still smarting from what he believes was an attempt by PokerStars to defraud its customers by implementing radical changes to its VIP rewards program at the end of 2015. As a result, he said that he would be refusing all photo opportunity or media requests made by either the EPT or its chief sponsor PokerStars.
A week earlier, Bonomo had made his intentions clear after he stated that he was not prepared “to do unpaid promotional work for a company that has defrauded many thousands of players”, and following his EPT win he tweeted the following message to his 30.7k Twitter followers:
“Part of the deal is that I get the trophy and the win, which I really wanted so I can say fuck you to Amaya and refuse to do a winner photo.”
However, Bonomo then became concerned that he would not be allowed to collect his winnings without first posing for a photo, and subsequently wrote that he believed that he would be banned from all live PokerStars events if he didn’t toe the line. Despite his claims, PokerStars has said that it would never ban a player for not taking part in a photo shoot, but did say that players taking part in EPT events agree to abide by certain rules. As the operator states:
“As a condition of participating in the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final, all players agreed “to carry out any reasonable request by PSLive during any Event in which you participate to assist in publicising, televising, webcasting or promoting the Event.”
As you can see, Bonomo did eventually agree to have his photo taken, but the pro then went to great lengths to express his frustration for all to see. Nevertheless, while Bonomo has admirably shown that he is prepared to stand up for his beliefs and continue protesting against PokerStars, it still begs the question as to why he is still playing on the site, or traveling half way across the world to compete in live events sponsored by the operator when he has such a disdain for PokerStars.