Bodog is a U.S.-friendly online poker room that also ties itself to the world of online sports betting. The site uses both a traditional downloadable software client in addition to a Mac-compatible web-play option. Two big name pros with television experience were recently released from Team Bodog. Jean-Robert Bellande lost his status at the end of 2009 and just last week it was announced that Justin “ZeeJustin” Bonomo is also out.
There are now only two remaining members of Team Bodog, David Williams and Evelyn Ng. Bonomo, now out the outs with Bodog, has more than $1.2 million in live tournament winnings from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) and its Circuit events. In the $40,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em Tournament commemorating the 40th anniversary of the WSOP, Bonomo made the ESPN final table sporting his Bodog gear. Previously, he had won his first Circuit gold ring by besting Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi at the Caesars Palace Championship for $227,000.
The first hint that Bonomo was no longer a part of Team Bodog came when he appeared on the UB.com sponsored poker show “Poker2Nite” last week, which airs on the Fox Sports Network in the United States. He broke down a hand from a $5,000 Mixed Hold’em event during the 2008 WSOP. During the segment, there was no Bodog logo to be found on his shirt. In addition, the b-roll footage of Bonomo from that event had his Bodog logos blurred out.
Still listed on Bodog’s website in a Heads-Up TLB records section, Bonomo’s Twitter page continues to have a Bodog logo appear on it. With Bellande and Bonomo out, it’s now up to Williams and Ng to be the ambassadors of a poker room that has minuscule traffic compared to the competition. Williams recently appeared on the online poker reality show “2 Months, $2 Million” on the G4 television network. During the episode, Williams was described as “dead money” and dropped $50,000 during the home game. Other players appearing at the cash game include Team PokerStars Pro member Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier and David “Viffer” Peat.
Bomono’s photograph was take off of Bodog’s website sometime during the day on January 9th and Bellande lost his status as a member of Team Bodog in November. The marriage between the two hadn’t lasted long, as Bellande signed with Bodog in February 2009. Poker News Daily reported that they spoke to a Bodog Poker Room Manager, who said, “Jean-Robert Bellande’s deal with Bodog Poker expired at the end of October and the decision was made not to renew the deal. It has been an absolute pleasure having Jean-Robert as one of Bodog.com’s poker pros and we wish him all the best.”
Reaction to Bonomo’s exodus from Bodog was met with much sarcasm at the TwoPlusTwo forums. The first two pages of one of the threads addressing the topic were pot shots at Bonomo’s past, which includes multi-accounting. At the time, Bonomo said that the other accounts were not his and actually belonged to his grandmother.
For now, only two poker pros remain as spokespeople for Bodog. With major expansion planned in 2010, there may be no other big names anchoring the site to help attract new players. MacPoker will continue to monitor the Bodog expansion and sponsorship news stories as they break and report back with any new findings.