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A Florida poker player who failed to show up on Day 2 of a $500,000 guaranteed event with one of the bigger stacks had a very good reason — the birth of his son.

Nick Yunis chair
Pending fatherhood sent Nick Yunis to the hospital while his big stack was blinded away. (Image: Hard Rock)

Nick Yunis built a tower of 505,000 chips in the $1,100 Triple Stack No-Limit Hold’em at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open in Hollywood, Fla., on Sunday, expecting to return on Wednesday’s Day 2 to try to win his second event of the series, but his new baby boy decided to show up two months early.

The days after Yunis bagged the 11th biggest stack of the tournament on Sunday, his wife, Katerina, begin to experience complications, and a “last minute” C-section was scheduled for Wednesday morning. The professional player with more than $2.3 million in lifetime cashes planned on trying to get back to the Hard Rock in time to compete, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Both mom and their baby boy, Matthew James, are doing well.

Yunis just won the $1,100 8-handed Deep Stack event at the same series of $34,000 earlier this month. Katerina, carrying Matthew, was there to watch him win.

Nick Yunis
All smiles: Nick and his wife Katerina celebrate his victory. (Image: Seminole Hard Rock)

Yunis, who was born in Chile but makes his home in Miami, has 51 cashes in World Series of Poker events. His best cash is $249,152 for winning the $5,000 World Poker Tour Five Diamond World Poker Classic in 2015. He came as close as possible to winning a bracelet in 2022, when he finished second in a $1,500 8-handed event.

The event he won the first week of April attracted 120 entries. The $1,100 Triple Stack event attracted 823 entries and the 105 players who bagged a stack for Day 2 earned at least $1,940. Yunis’s name isn’t listed in the results, but two stacks went “unclaimed,” and they finished in 25th and 35th. If Yunis’ stack finished 35th, he won $3,850. If his stack did 10 spots better, he cashed $4,500.

The winner of the event, Johnny Bromberg, cashed $99,427 after a four-way chop.

The 2024 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown began April 3, and ends with event #130 April 23. The first of two starting flights of the $3,500 $3 million guaranteed WPT Showdown Championship begins Friday, and will play down to the final six on Tuesday, April 23. The players will then be flown to Las Vegas at the end of May where several final tables will be filmed for broadcast at the WPT studio in the Luxor.

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