Poker Life

[Interview] Mike “Timex” McDonald on Chopping the FTOPS XXV Main Event

By Gareth Chantler Posted at 6:00 am on 23 April 2014

Mike “Timex” McDonald is having a banner year.

It began at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January, where he cashed eighth in the Super High Roller for $217,320, and came second in the PCA Main Event for just over a million dollars — $1,064,865.


Mike “Timex” McDonald, locked in at the 2014 PCA

He followed that pairing with back to back million dollar scores in February. Another second place, this time at the Aussie Millions’ $100,000 Challenge, grossed him a million and a half Australian dollars, or $1,343,436 USD. Two days later, he placed third in the $250,000 Challenge for $1,701,808 USD.

” ’14 has been ludicrous,” he tweeted last week. We would have to agree.

Starting the year with three seven-figure scores might demotivate, or at least alter motivations, for some. But Timex can be spotted grinding online every Sunday like clockwork.

On April 13th, McDonald made a deal deep in the FTOPS XXV Main Event during three-handed play, guaranteeing him $200,000.

He was gracious enough to answer some questions about this latest run for the Full Tilt Poker Blog.

You mentioned on Twitter, @MikeMcDonald89, that this was your biggest online cash?

Yeah, I won this weird SNG a long time ago for more on Paradise Poker, but this is my biggest online MTT score.

Can you tell us about the deal?

You three agreed to $200,000 apiece, but obviously you did not have identical stacks at the time.

Yes, I had the shortest of the three stacks, but we were all within about 15-20%.

Are you friends with [eventual winner] Niall “Firaldo87” Farrell?

I am not close friends with Niall, but definitely friends, and he’s very good friends with my roommate.

Even with all your success are you happy to talk numbers in a spot like that?

Yes, despite my success if I saw Firaldo and Chuck sitting in a SNG with a $50,000 buy-in, where they start with more chips, I wouldn’t be too excited to hop into it.

Which is basically what I would be doing by not chopping.

I think many players are too biased by deep runs; when you start with 2,500 players and are in the final three, it is hard not to be deluded and feel that you’re playing the best poker anyone has ever played.

Similarly so do the other two guys, so often deals can’t be reached, even if financially people “should” deal.

Three-handed you guys had made the deal, so it was winner take all at this point. Niall three-bet K-Q suited and called your four-bet all-in for twenty-four big blinds or so, in blind versus blind.

Was it just a cooler for him?

Yeah. [Mike had pocket queens, see 2:37 of the video below.]

Is there any argument for him to just call preflop? Is he dominating much of your four-bet range?

Both calling and three-bet-calling are fine, I think. He definitely has the best hand preflop sometimes and just getting me to fold J-8 offsuit has plenty of value.

After three-betting, he’s probably about a flip with my four-betting range, maybe a tad behind.


Focused and talented

You said this was maybe your longest online session ever, was it just the structure of the tournament or did you start early for some reason that Sunday?

Yeah I started early and then it just went really late.

I never had a sick finish before they made WCOOPs two days long, so I just haven’t had many other 17 hour sessions or anything like that.

Were you just playing the one table at the end?

Yeah, I was one-tabling for 4-5 hours probably.

Were you worried about losing focus or wearing down at all?

I was extremely tired around 7 to 8pm. My day was going very mediocre, so I was getting pumped to just sleep.

But I hit a second wind around 11pm or so. Then each hour afterwards just felt like 20 minutes and I was very much in the zone.

Photos courtesy of The PokerStars Blog.

Gareth Chantler,

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