After coming to the final table with the second lowest chip stack, Waterloo’s Mike “Timex” McDonald emerged as the champion of the second event of the Epic Poker League’s Season One schedule.
The tournament, which began on Tuesday with 97 players, was an Eight Handed No Limit Hold’em contest featuring some of the best players in the game. Leading the way as the final table began was Australia’s David Steicke, but in pursuit was the runner up from the inaugural EPL Main Event, Erik Seidel. There were only 28,000 chips separating the duo, while the remainder of the field was quite a distance behind them.
The eight men in contention for the championship wasted little time getting down to business. Within the first hour of play, Dutch Boyd, Sean Getzwiller and Isaac Baron were bounced out in eighth through sixth places, respectively. Mike, in the meantime, maintained a low profile as he slowly built his chip stack from his 357K starting stack.
After that hectic first hour, the pace slacked off with McDonald staying out of any potential danger spots. In particular, French poker legend Fabrice Soulier was a player he stayed away from – for the moment – as he proceeded to take out the next two players. In a battle with Nam Le’s A-K, Soulier was ahead with his pocket Jacks; when a Jack fell on the flop, essentially all the drama was over.
Soulier’s next victim was the runner up from the inaugural EPL Main Event, Seidel. With his chip stack slipping down the rankings, the eight time World Series of Poker bracelet winner found pocket fives to his liking and moved his stack to the center. Unfortunately, Soulier held a dominator against him, pocket nines, and bounced Seidel from the tournament. Although he would come up short in his effort at an EPL championship, Erik Seidel will most likely take over the lead on the Global Poker Index tournament ratings board (over Jason Mercier) with this strong finish.
Mike would begin to come out of his shell once play reached three handed. Soulier attempted to drop the hammer on him on several occasions, but each time “Timex” kept on ticking, taking down the hands. The final confrontation would come in a blind versus blind battle between the duo, with Soulier pushing all in with his A-10 against Mike’s A-Q. Once there were no surprises on the board, Soulier was out in third place and Mike was heads up against the chip leader Steicke.
After several hands of parrying, a penultimate hand would switch the twosome’s position on the leaderboard. After Steicke pushed his stack to the center with an A-Q to put him to the test, Mike decided to make his stand with pocket sixes. The chip stacks were virtually even at this point, although Mike was the player at risk. The board brought no Ace or Queen and the result catapulted Mike into a dominant 20:1 chip lead.
Although he would valiantly try to regain the lost ground, the sizeable lead was too much for Steicke to overcome. He did double up twice before, holding a K-2, he tried to make it three times in a row. This time, however, Mike held an A-4, which held up over the five cards to crown Mike McDonald the champion of the second EPL Main Event.
1. Mike McDonald $782,410
2. David Steicke $506,260
3. Fabrice Soulier $299,160
4. Erik Seidel $184,100
5. Nam Le $126,570
6. Isaac Baron $92,050
7. Sean Getzville $69,040
8. Dutch Boyd $57,530
The victory was especially sweet for Mike. His first major title since he won the European Poker Tour stop in Dortmund, Germany in 2008, the EPL victory also proved to be a bit of a birthday present, as tomorrow is his birthday. Something else that is sweet is the payday, which pushes his career earnings over the $3 million mark ($3.668 million, to be exact).
With the completion of the second leg of their Season One schedule, the Epic Poker League will be taking a little time off from the tournament circuit. The next series of tournaments, which encompass a Pro/Am event (where the final table earns a seat into the Main Event), a Charity tournament benefitting the Prevent Cancer Foundation and the Main Event (which will be a Heads Up No Limit Hold’em tournament), will begin on December 9 and conclude on December 18. For now, however, CanadaPoker congratulates Mike McDonald on a job well done!