A professional poker player has been accused of showing COVID-19 symptoms while attending the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The man to make the allegation is esteemed poker community member Justin Bonomo, a card player who has amassed over $56 million in winnings and who is considered an authority in the game.
While not calling the player by their name at first, it later transpired that the pro in question was Chris “Big Huni” Hunichen. Big Huni stepped forward and revealed himself as the man who was exhibiting said COVID symptoms in a spell of Twitter outpouring.
The situation would have been left at that had it not been for the fact that Big Huni did test positive for COVID-19 immediately after the $50,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller – 8 Handed tournament he participated in. Responding to that, he explained:
“First, this is very dramatic and overblown. I didn’t know I had COVID until after the 50K. After playing, I hung out with 7-8 of my best friends, as well as my wife and cousin. I smoked hookah, blunts, joints, etc, with everyone.”
Bonomo took an issue with the fact that Hunichen made no effort to contact him two days after they played together and the former had found out that he had been infected. “The person […] still made no attempt to let me know,” Bonomo noted in his tweet.
Hundi assured the poker community that he had no idea he had been infected and said that he had bought 40 rapid tests so that he could test all of his contacts. He said he did and that none of those tests showed an infection until after the event was over. Therefore, there was “no way” anyone at the table could have been infected by him.
Is Bonomo a Hypocrite?
He also pointed out that the COVID-19 infection had got him badly and he was focused on staying alive. Every close contact he had after the 50K tested negative. He then asked Bonomo if he had tested himself after EDC and if he hadn’t, then his argument was hypocritical, to begin with.
Admittedly, there are some omissions in Big Huni’s logic from where we sit. He should have let other people at the 50K table whom he came in contact know that he had tested positive. His symptoms during the event weren’t any reassuring. Then again, Bonomo probably should not have let the issue alone and raised his concerns openly and on the spot.
Big Huni has been a controversial figure in the poker community. Last year, he suggested a bet on the death toll COVID-19 would claim in the United States, betting on 100,000 deaths. In an interview for LA Times, commenting on his controversial behavior regarding the wager, Hunichen said that he was “particularly vulnerable to the disease,” due to asthma episodes.
Yet, this doesn’t explain why he used this phrasing to justify his not alerting Bonomo or fellow players earlier: “After playing, I hung out with 7-8 of my best friends as well as my wife and cousin. I smoked hookah, blunts, joints etc with everyone.” Big Huni should have known better.