The Nixon High Tide Hold 'Em on Tavarua

On Wednesday night, at the stroke of midnight, Yadin Nicol was dealt two pair on the flop. Eyeing his cards long enough to take a pull from his Fiji Bitter, he pushed his entire stack of chips across the table and declared himself "all in." Yadin had been playing head to head at the final table of the High Tide Hold 'Em poker tournament against Aamion Goodwin for all of four minutes, but when we saw his queens and fours, he thought he had a winner.

Aamion called and flipped his cards—and saw he didn't have a chance. He'd gambled on a pair of fives, and it'd just cost him an all-expenses-paid trip to Vegas. Yadin dragged the pot, howling, laughing. Someone poured a beer over his head and it ran into his eyes. He'd just become the first big winner of this contest, and not only is he going to Vegas—for free—but it's also starting to look like an overall win is in the works for the kid from West Oz.
With the poker tournament already in his pocket, an eye for tennis, a dominating presence on the ping-pong table, and a solid shot at winning the island spirit award—which basically goes to whoever gets the craziest during the course of the trip—Yadin could conceivable walk off the island with enough merchandise to actually make his bar bill seem minor.

But it's not over yet. And with no serious swell in the water—still—this "contest" has basically turned into a party with prizes. It's not like we aren't trying to coax the South Pacific to life, though. The other night, at Mark Cunningham's suggestion, the crew even dressed up like pirates and downed rum in the hopes that everyone would wake up, hung over, to find a sailor's delight at Cloudbreak.

That's how it was supposed to work, anyway, and we're still waiting. But even if the surf doesn't deliver…well, that's why Nixon put this thing together the way they did in the first place. There's fish to kill, ping-pong to be played and a whole tennis tournament set to kick off today, so check back in with and as the Nixon High Tide Hold 'Em on Tavarua draws to a close. Also visit the updated High Tide Hold 'Em photo gallery on the homepage for more exclusive images from Scott Aichner and Tom Servais.