Nelson ‘FeCoNiCuZn’ Maccini: Trivia Champ, Sunday Million Winner


Nelson ‘FeCoNiCuZn’ Maccini talks about his love for team trivia and winning the PokerStars Sunday Million.

The flag of Greenland has only two colors on it: white and what other color? Answer: Red. What composer’s Requiem Mass in D Minor was completed posthumously by Franz Xaver Süssmayr? Answer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. What was the last name of Roseanne’s on-air family on the show “Roseanne”? Answer: Conner.

If you answered any of these right, consider yourself a genius. At least pat yourself on the back.

On April 17, Nelson ‘FeCoNiCuZn’ Maccini took down the PokerStars Sunday Million[ for $166,000 after a four-way deal. While that score will define his poker career, at least for the foreseeable future, a passion for team games and success at trivia define his life away from the tables.

“It’s a weekly quiz game at my local pub and some friends and I decided to go one week,” he said. “My friends are pretty smart people and we won and received a voucher for the pub. So of course we came back to spend it and a couple of weeks later they started the qualifying rounds for our state final, so we decided to make it a regular thing.”

Maccini and his trivia crew won at their local pub and moved onto the finals, where the group finished in the top half of the pack. Their bread-and-butter: a category called “Cinema Dyslexia,” which consists of an anagram of the title of a well-known film.

“We have only ever been stumped once, but in the final they made it rather trivial with ‘gib’, which of course rearranges to form Big. We were slightly annoyed with that given it is one of our strengths. We go to a central-ish pub in Adelaide, where I live. There are mostly Adelaide teams involved, with a few from another town. We are still going every week and qualifying for this year’s final begins soon.”

Some other movie anagrams for you to ponder: “whining wetted ho” and “cartwheel sink too”. They unscramble to Gone with the Wind and The Social Network, respectively. “I do often get the Cinema Dyslexia question right,” the Sunday Million winner said. “I’ve always enjoyed word puzzles and logic puzzles.”

The key to a good trivia team: a small-ish group with diverse interests that gets along well.

“I get the odd sports question or music question right too, or just general knowledge things,” he said. “There’s a group of people I met through a board games club that I go with. We all have varying interests, so we have most things covered. I bought everyone some beer this week after I won the Sunday Million, but we also had a voucher to spend from winning last week.”

Maccini outlasted a field of almost 6,000 entrants the week he won the Sunday Million and managed to negotiate a chop with three other players. That score doubled his career winnings in tournaments that PocketFives has tracked over the years. He’s now the #5 player in Adelaide out of 75 with PLB scores.

“I love team sports overall,” the Aussie said. “It’s a good feeling to work together with people towards a goal and then achieve that goal. I think it may also be that because it introduces more variables, I can’t only think about what I’m doing. I have to concentrate on what my teammates and opponents are doing and I think that’s really important in poker too.”

His passion for team sports certainly hasn’t hindered his career in poker, which is primarily a solitary sport. There have been a few attempts over the years to make poker a team sport, including the recently launched Global Poker League, but for the most part, it’s every man for himself.

“I have considered myself a poker pro ever since my SCOOPwin in 2014,” Maccini said. That year, he took down a low-stakes, big-field Six Max No Limit Hold’em event for $69,000.

“After another big cash later that year, I went on a losing streak for about 18 months, which was finally broken by this Sunday Million win, so I was really beginning to doubt myself and stopped using the word ‘pro’ when people asked what I did. But, this is obviously a huge confidence booster.”

Maccini almost exclusively plays MTTs and favors larger fields and slower blind levels. “I feel like I have more of an edge the longer a tournament goes on,” he said. “I rarely play sit and gos because they tend to be smaller and I’m also one for dreaming big, so I like to have a large first place prize to aim for. I almost never play cash tables because I really need direction. I need a goal to be working towards, and I don’t know when to leave the table because my goals aren’t clear.”

“I also feel like tournament play introduces a lot more variables which you have to consider, much like team sports,” he added. “I feel one of my biggest strengths is quickly assessing all of these variables and making a decision that factors everything in. But then again I’ll often have a gut feeling that I can’t attribute to anything in particular except perhaps the experience of being in similar positions many times over. I’ve learned over time to trust these gut feelings more so than the more mathematical analyses that other players use.”

One final trivia question: What was the name of the last Australian Sunday Million winner? ‘FeCoNiCuZn’.