McDonald, who won EPT Dortmund in 2008 when he was just 18, was attempting to become the first player in history to win two EPT titles.
It appeared the Canadian might pull it off as he got heads-up against Panka and had the Polish player covered during an all-in.
Instead Panka won the pivotal all-in, battled back and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after a marathon heads-up match that didn’t end until 5:00 a.m.
It was a dream come true for Panka who picked up a massive $1.4 million for first place.
“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I feel very happy. I would have been rooting for Mike if I busted before him!” said Panka.
Baron, McDonald, Panka Each Get Over $1 Million Thanks to Deal
It took several hours to find the first elimination as Argentinean Fabian Ortiz eventually busted first.
Pascal Lefrancois, Shyam Srinivasan, Daniel Gamez and former chip leader Madis Muur busted in succession over a day that took over 16 hours to complete.
After Madis Muur finally busted in fourth the remaining three players started working out a deal to reduce variance.
In the end McDonald, Baron and Panka decided on an ICM chip chop that saw each player get paid over $1 million, with $100k set aside for the winner.
Baron is certainly happy he made the deal because he was the next player to fall. Baron made an ill-timed shove with king-queen and got snapped off by Panka with A♠ 9♠.
Panka flopped the nut straight and that was it for Baron who finished third. The Californian did lock up his biggest live cash ever at $1.2 million.
That left McDonald and Panka to battle it out and that’s just what they did. For hours. It took over three hours of heads-up play for Panka to finally triumph over his Canadian rival.
Here are the complete final-table payouts (*reflects the three-way deal):
- 1. Dominik Panka - $1,423,096*
- 2. Mike McDonald - $1,064,865*
- 3. Isaac Baron – $1,207,599*
- 4. Madis Muur - $581,040
- 5. Daniel Gamez - $447,040
- 6. Shyam Srinivasan - $328,020
- 7. Pascal Lefrancois - $242,020
- 8. Fabian Ortiz – $173,220