The 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $25,000 High Roller began with 225 entrants (173 unique players + 52 re-entries) who created a $5.4 million prize pool, and after three days of intense play, it was Nick "FU_15" Maimone who eliminated every player at the final table to walk away the winner for $996,480.
Known primarily for his online exploits, Maimone, who hails from North Carolina but now resides in Honduras, managed to eclipse his live lifetime earnings, which previously stood at $881,218. The win was a big cherry on top of a successful 2016 PCA that saw him finish 87th in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event for $4,120 and fifth in Event #42: $5,300 No-Limit Hold'em 8-Handed Turbo Bounty for $10,580.
That money will certainly come in handy as Maimone and his wife are expecting their first child in May.
The day began with nine players returning to action, and it took nearly two hours for the first elimination to occur. That is when a huge three-way all-in pot developed between Maimone, Dario Sammartino and Anton Astapau. All three players held pairs – nine through jacks in fact – with Maimone out in front. The fishhooks held and Maimone more than doubled into the chip lead while sending Astapau to the rail in ninth place $116,640.
From there, Ben Heath was bounced in eighth when his pocket sevens failed to hold against the ace-eight of Maimone, and Chance Kornuth followed him out the door, the low man on the totem pole in a three-way all-in hand.
From there, Maimone eliminated both Andrey Zaichenko and Brian Yoon in sixth and fifth place respectively. The former ran his weak ace into Maimone's ace-jack, while the latter lost a standard coin flip.
In the first hand back from the dinner break, Winter raised to 180,000 under the gun and Maimone called from the button. 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Josh Beckley, who began the day as chip leader but fell to the short stack, came along from the small blind, Sammartino folded the big, and three players took a flop of , which they all checked.
When the hit the turn, two checks inspired Maimone to bet 300,000, Beckley called, and Winter got out of the way. The river put four spades on board, and Beckley checked to Maimone, who bet 525,000. Beckley then check-raised all in for 1.225 million.
"This is a tough one," Maimone said sarcastically before putting in the chips. Beckley confidently tabled the for an ace-high flush, but it was no good as Maimone held a straight flush with the . Beckley, who earned his seat via $2,700 satellite, was shocked, shook his head, and made his way to the payout desk to collect $439,560 for his fourth-place finish.
Maimone then eliminated Sammartino in third place – the result of the Italian's failing to get there against Maimone's – and took a slight chip lead into heads-up play against Winter. That is when the two opted to strike a deal that saw Maimone lock up $966,480, Winter $914,580, and $30,000 plus the trophy left on the table.
Maimone quickly pulled out to a healthy lead, and in what would be the last hand of the tournament raised to 250,000 from the button and then snap-called when Winter three-bet all in.
Winter had a major kicker issue, and it failed to resolve itself as the board ran out a clean .
By finishing as runner-up, Winter surpassed his previous best score of $562,772, which came last summer when he emerged victorious in the $10k Bellagio Cup. What's more, Winter admitted he had numerous side bets tied to the result and he is primed to head back to Florida with quite a bit more than what's reported.
Final Table Results
|1||Nick "FU_15" Maimone||USA||$996,480|
Congratulations to Nick Maimone, winner of the 2016 PCA $25,000 High Roller!