Justin Bonomo, who was banned from PokerStars in 2006 after an investigation revealed he had been entering multiple accounts into tournaments on the online poker site, is back at PokerStars and registered in the Spring Championship of Online Poker Event #1 Thursday afternoon after having his ban lifted by site management.
The ban went into effect in February 2006 after an investigation by PartyPoker revealed that Bonomo had registered upwards of six accounts in tournaments and played all accounts from the same IP address. Once that news became public PokerStars began their own investigation and discovered more multi-accounting by the then 20-year-old.
Both rooms confiscated winnings from Bonomo’s accounts and some estimates put the total at over $200,000. Only two months prior to the ban Bonomo had won the $500,000 Guaranteed on PokerStars for $137,000. The former Magic: The Gathering player used his blog to apologize for his actions and admit his mistake.
“I screwed up, on a practical, maturity and most importantly, ethical level. I’ve let everyone down including myself and for that I am very sorry,” Bonomo wrote. “The past month has been the hardest month of my life. I’ve never gone through anything like this before. In all facets of life, I’ve worked hard to develop a good honest reputation. But now that I’ve severely messed up, I have undone all that hard work.”
PokerStars has lifted the ban and allowed Bonomo back on the site, most likely as a result of Bonomo’s actions since his account privileges were revoked. Bonomo initially took some time away from poker and waited for his 21st birthday so he could begin playing live events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. In October 2006 Bonomo went about repairing his image. At the Five Diamond Poker Classic at the Bellagio that December the young phenom showed he had the skill to play with the best players in the world. He made the final table in four events and cashed for a total of $265,000 and he narrowly missed making the televised final table of the World Poker Tour event.
He then made a final table in a preliminary event at the 2007 World Series of Poker and just before the final table was signed by online poker operator Bodog.com to wear a Bodog logo at the final table and for the duration of the WSOP. With his image nearly fully repaired Bonomo continued to negotiate with Bodog in hopes of securing a long term sponsorship agreement. In May 2008, just before the WSOP, Bonomo became a full time member of Team Bodog.
Now, nearly one year after an online poker room sponsored him, it appears that all is forgiven at PokerStars.
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