It’s been quite a week for Kainalu McCue-Unciano. Last Thursday, the man from Hawaii won his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) title, when he took down the $1,500 Monster Stack event earning more than $1 million. Then today, as he collected his bracelet from Jack Effel in the Amazon Room, his mind was actually focused on another piece of jewellery: an engagement ring he intended to offer to his girlfriend Nicole.
With around 1,100 pairs of eyes focused on him, as well as at least 20 friends and relatives he had flown out to Vegas on the back of his huge win, McCue-Unciano offered his thanks to the World Series for making him a millionaire, but then dropped down from the stage and on to one knee to turn the attention to Nicole.
“She said yes!” a relieved McCue-Unciano said afterwards, admitting that he was more nervous about popping the question than he was when watching the final flop during his tournament win. “My legs were shaky,” he said. “I tried rehearsing it, but it’s not the same. I was outside, pacing back and forth, thinking, ‘How do I do this?'”
Thankfully, Nicole didn’t keep him waiting too long, and accepted his proposal quickly. It brought whoops from across the Amazon Room, where the Day 1A field was as surprised as Nicole by the turn of events. Only McCue-Unciano’s nearest and dearest were in on the plan, including his grandmother who was the guardian of the ring.
“I planned it after I won,” McCue-Unciano said. “I was thinking about it, and a few days ago I bought the ring. My grandma was holding it — she was in on it too — I grabbed it and I got on a knee.”
The couple have been dating for around two years but will now take some time to plan their big day. With an additional million dollars in the bank ($1,008,850 to be precise) the wedding, likely back in Hawaii, should be an extravagant, jubilant affair. Congratulations to Kainalu and Nicole!
WSOP photography by PokerPhotoArchive