At just 18 years old Canadian Mike McDonald took on Europe's best poker players this week and showed down the winning hand. The young Internet phenom raked in the 2008 PokerStars EPT German Open with the class and style of a veteran champion.
The man who calls himself Timex sat down with PokerListings.com moments after the win to tell us just how he did it, where he's headed next and what he thought of the level of play here in Germany.
Mike, congratulations! Let's talk a little about how it all went down today. You came in with the chip lead and feeling pretty confident until Andreas Gülünay sucked out on you early after that great call you made with ace-jack. That sent you down to fourth in chips. How did you feel about that hand?
He still played the hand reasonably well. Even though I happened to have the best hand, if I were in his shoes I'd probably have played it similarly. I happened to have the best hand, but it wasn't a bad beat or anything. I was disappointed to lose that pot, but at the same time, it was just a cooler I guess.
You picked up aces right after that and busted Christian Harder with big slick. That must have righted the ship a little?
The whole ball of wax!
He's a friend of mine and I coolered him the next hand. I almost felt kind of guilty because those are the type of hands that can happen to anybody. He also final-tabled at the PCA and got really unlucky there. So I felt bad; he's a close friend of mine and he got beat bad in two EPTs consecutively and got coolered out of both of them.
Then moving on in the day there were a few inexplicable calls and/or raises from your opponents when you had some big hands...
They're not necessarily inexplicable; they happened to look like bad shoves because I happened to have big hands. Oftentimes I will have mediocre hands and I will fold. In fact, most of the time I will be folding; I just happened to have hands at the top of my range.
So, if you were to assess the level of play of your opponents today you would say it was pretty good?
I'd say pretty good relative to this field. Because I think the guys at the final table were some of the top players here, although only a couple of them are players I would fear playing against.
Blow it up, baby!
Were you surprised at the way Johannes Strassmann busted, shoving against your kings? Coming into the day you must have thought of him as your toughest competition?
Especially considering how many chips he had. When both of us have 80 big blinds at the start of the day he's the player I'm most afraid of.
He and I both play at a pretty high caliber and we're both playing for first place. He wasn't playing to try to make it into the top four or top three. He came to my room at like 3 a.m. last night and was saying he wanted to win this tournament on his home turf so he wasn't playing for second place.
But did you think he got a little nervous because there were times where he made a few missteps out of turn?
I've played with him before and I think that is just characteristic of a lot of online players, myself as well. We haven't played that many hands live so we can make mistakes. I've made mistakes at final tables as well and you feel stupid, but that's going to happen. You learn with experience.
When it came to heads-up you seemed to be headed in the wrong direction. It must have felt good to pick up A-K, turn trips and have that same player who sucked out on you early betting into you?
That was pretty good. It seemed like the crowd was swinging in his favor and he'd won a bunch of pots in a row. It was just nice to end it there. If it had continued the way it was going he could have caught up in chips and had a good chance of winning.
So what are you going to do with the money?
Honestly, I have no plans for the money at the moment. I'm going to invest like all of it, I guess.
So what's next for you?
Rocking the EPT!
EPT Copenhagen, but I'll go home for a week or two first.
Congratulations again Mike; well done!
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Mike McDonald played solid poker in taking home his first EPT title. And since he's just 18, I don't think there's anyone here in Germany or across the globe who thinks it will be his last. This young man has a huge future ahead of him in the world of poker and the future starts right now.