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A Poker Life -- Mike 'Timex' McDonald (Latest News About Casino, Poker, Baccarat in Philippines)

A Poker Life -- Mike 'Timex' McDonald
Article ID 00043104
Author Kristy Arnett
Date JULY 27 2022
Eighteen is a magic number in the timeline of a person’s life, and depending on who you are talking to, the age can have a number of different reasons for significance. It’s the age at which one can vote, purchase tobacco, and bear arms. For poker players, it means being able to play poker online and eligibility to compete in tournaments overseas, and Michael McDonald took advantage of both. At 18, McDonald became the youngest European Poker Tour winner and won a prize of nearly $1.4 million. Canadian, Through and Through McDonald grew up in Waterloo, Ontario. He was a somewhat shy and pensive young one who did well in school and generally stayed out of trouble. If a doctor had to guess what side of the brain McDonald used, it’d be the left side. “I was never really good at the artistic things. I have the messiest writing, and my artwork was the worst, but I was always good at math and subjects similar to that. Overall, though, I did quite well in school.” An active and athletic teenager, McDonald competed in soccer and hockey, but focused on squash, volleyball, and badminton in high school. He was also a competitive chess player, an avenue that would eventually lead him to poker. A Hobby Turned Lucrative Having played competitive chess for four years, McDonald began playing poker by the suggestion of his chess coach, as did his father. The process of learning was quick for McDonald, and the highly analytical game played to his natural strengths. He started playing limit hold’em and studying poker literature. It wasn’t long before he began to improve enough to step up the stakes. In January 2006, Steve Paul Ambrose , a young poker player also from Waterloo, won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event for nearly $1.4 million. Excited to see that other young guys were taking poker seriously in his town, McDonald decided to contact him. “I sent Steve this ridiculously long and embarrassing e-mail basically asking him if I could watch him play. He thought I might be just some weirdo and wasn’t too fond of the idea, but his roommate is a small-town kind of guy who doesn’t assume anyone is going to be a creep, so he convinced Steve to let me come over. I got to hang out with them, and we all got along great.” Through the help of the slightly older and more experienced mentors, McDonald became more willing to play higher instead of clinging to the stakes at which he was comfortable with and severely over-bankrolled for. He was able to plug some leaks and challenge himself, which fast-tracked him to becoming a dangerous limit and no-limit hold’em player. Age 18 After high school, McDonald set off to the University of Waterloo to pursue actuary science but immediately began questioning his choice of study. While contemplating a switch of majors, McDonald also considered the option of leaving school, a decision which his father supported. So, at 17, McDonald dropped out of college and focused more than ever on fine tuning his game and building his bankroll, knowing that in just a few short months, he’d be 18 — the legal gambling age in most parts of Canada, and overseas. Handcuffed by the law, McDonald watched close poker friends Adam Junglen and Jimmy Fricke succeed at the 2006 Aussie Millions , with Fricke finishing second in the main event to Gus Hansen. It’d likely be an understatement to say that McDonald was ready to hit the ground running, and on his 18th birthday on Sept. 11, 2007, he entered Day 1B of the World Series of Poker Europe main event. “I flew there, not even sure if I could register for the tournament since I wasn’t 18 by Day 1A.” In his first major live tournament ever, the just-hours-legal McDonald was seated at the televised table with 2005 WSOP Champion Jamie Gold. With the blinds at 100-200 with an ante, Gold limped from under the gun, followed by another limper, and McDonald raised on the button with pocket jacks to 1,000. Gold limp-reraised to 3,000, and McDonald called. On a 9-high flop with a flush draw, Gold check-raised McDonald all in with pocket threes. McDonald called, and Gold hit a two-outer on the turn to send McDonald to the rail. “I did an interview afterwards, and they edited it to say something I didn’t answer. They asked me how big live tournaments compare to the big online games of similar stakes, and I basically said a long-winded answer about how at similar buy-ins, the online tournaments are way tougher, and in comparison, at the same level, live players suck. Then they cut it down and just showed me shaking my head saying live players suck. It was pretty funny.” After the WSOPE , McDonald continued on the live tournament circuit. He jet-setted to Turks and Caicos, to the EPT event in Prague — at which he snagged his first live cash — and then to the Aussie Millions . He cash three times, with one win, and even competed in the $100,000 high-roller event. For a young man who’d only been on a plane once before turning 18, the new lifestyle was a bit surreal, but it was what he’d been waiting for. Having been on the road for weeks, McDonald considered not attending the 2008 EPT German Open event, but decided last minute to go after a friend won a seat. It turned out to be a good decision. McDonald made the final table as chip leader. He battled from the adversity of losing a big pot early as a 2-1 favorite, and soon after, he eliminated his friend [[P:Christian Harder]] with kings versus A-K. With the chip lead heads up, McDonald put the pressure of a $1.4 million top prize aside and used his experience to exploit his opponent. In the end, McDonald won the event. “My parents got to watch the final table on EPT Live, and they said they were really nervous. Even some of my cousins and my grandparents watched. It was great to have all of their support.” When McDonald returned home from his monumental win, he celebrated his win by taking his extended family out to a fancy dinner. Since the million-dollar score, he’s continued traveling the European circuit and dominating tournaments online. He says 2009 was his most consistent year, with tons of five- to six-figure online cashes. Watch Out McDonald continues to live in Waterloo and is active outside of poker. This summer, he ran 26.2 miles in a local marathon in attempt to challenge himself in an endeavor outside of poker. The next age-milestone in his life is 21, and McDonald will hit that this year. Unfortunately for him, it will not be in time for the World Series of Poker . That will have to wait for 2011. “I’m so excited for that. I’ll probably play every tournament I can for six weeks straight. I’ll probably get burnt out, but I can’t wait.” Equipped with an enviable bankroll, Full Tilt sponsorship, hundreds of thousands of hands of experience, a maturity well beyond his years, and nothing but time, McDonald is going to be one killer pro to watch out for in the United States — once he’s legal, that is.

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