Mike "Timex" McDonald nearly didn't make it back to Dortmund to defend his title.
PokerStars.com EPT4 Dortmund champ Mike "Timex" McDonald almost opted out of returning to Germany to defend his title.
Then the airlines nearly made his decision for him - and all this after he'd only reluctantly decided to go in the first place.
"It's no secret that Dortmund isn't exactly an exciting place to be," the Canadian wunderkind told PokerListings.com. "They've lowered the buy-in this year and the value isn't as high."
As the tournament approached, Timex remained ambivalent.
"I thought if I had anything at all to do this week I wouldn't come," he said. "But none of my friends had anything going on."
McDonald decided to make the trip, but when he showed up at the airport, disaster struck.
"My passport went through the wash back in October," he said. "I've used it four times since and I didn't think it was that bad, but I showed up at the airport and they told me it was unacceptable."
The airline directed McDonald to a same-day express service outside of Toronto and promised him a seat on the next day's flight, provided he could renew his documents in time.
"It was kind of tough because all of my friends are my age and you have to have had your passport for a certain amount of time in order to vouch for someone," he said. "I was thinking I'd probably not get it approved in time and miss my flight."
Miraculously, though, the passport came through and Timex was golden. Luckily, he'd waited to register until he hit the ground in Germany.
"I got in [Wednesday]," he said. "If I had registered online to play on Day 1a I would have been able to play, but I would have had to stay up for like 30 hours straight."
Now that he's here, how does he like his shot at a repeat?
"I liked it a lot better a half-hour ago," he said. "I just lost a $20k pot. But the field is quite soft; there are a lot of German locals who aren't that good.
"I think if I go deep it might start to get easier, because people will start to respect my raises, knowing I'm the guy who won it the year before."
As of this writing, McDonald is on $11k - above average and, considering the hoops he's jumped through to get here, in pretty good shape.
Check out all of the action from EPT Dortmund in our Live Tournaments section.
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