133 Seconds With...Mike McDonald

133 Seconds With...Mike McDonald

Monday, 21 April 2014

'Timex' on role models, extravagant purchases and treasured possessions.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen at the poker table?

The armed robbery in Berlin has to be up there. I was out of the Main Event, and I was at one of the high roller tables. It was probably the scariest moment of my life. My heart was racing. People told me they heard shots fired, and others were saying they had assault weapons and bombs planted in the building. In my head, the whole building could’ve just been blown up at any moment. Even after I had escaped the building, I still felt like I was fearing for my life. My adrenaline was going the highest it’s ever been, and then they made us re-start the tournament! There was a couple hours break to make sure the building was secure, then everyone was told to play it out. Once some time had passed, I was sitting at the table, and I could barely keep my eyes open. My adrenaline had just spiked and then crashed, and it was the worst feeling to have to play on in a $100k tournament. I think everyone was terrified, but I feel like I was especially terrified! I was running for my life.

What’s your most treasured possession?

I’m not sure if this is actually my most treasured possession, but I like to guilt one of my friends that it is – so I’ll say my EPT trophy. The new EPT trophies look awesome, but for some reason when I won one, they looked like weird crystal vases. They looked pretty cheap and crappy. It was like a giant vase, so what my friends and I used to do at parties was just fill it up with a bottle of alcohol, and pass it around. It became a ritual of ours that we’d drink out of my EPT vase whenever we had a party. When I won the Epic Poker event I had the most out of hand party I’ve ever thrown. We were playing beer pong, and someone accidentally knocked over the trophy and broke it. I didn’t really care – I knew it was probably going to get broken at some point – but I always try and guilt the friend who broke it, telling her that we can no longer be friends since she broke my most prized possession.

What’s the most extravagant purchase you’ve made with your poker winnings?

Definitely my Lamborghini. Other than that I don’t really make too many extravagant purchases. I don’t really spend money nearly as much as most poker player seem to do... except for the Lambo. I guess!

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

This sounds pretty spoilt, but probably being a pro poker player, since it’s the only job I’ve ever had.

Poker hero?

I don’t really have one, I don’t think – although my role model and mentor getting into poker was Steve Paul Ambrose. The way I got to know him was because he won the PCA in 2006, and he’s from my home town. It was at that point I thought ‘hmm – maybe poker could become a serious thing!’ So I got in touch with him, and learned from him.

Non-poker hero?

My dad. I’ve always admired and looked up to him. I’m not really someone who admires celebrities, or even knows who they are. Whenever I’m at PCA, people are always pointing out famous actors or basketball players, but I’m more concerned about what my friends and I are doing. I don’t really pay too much attention to the world much outside that.

Do you believe in God?


What’s the biggest life lesson that poker has taught you?

Be humble, don’t ever expect good things to happen, and don’t feel overly-entitled. Be smart about your money, and travel when you can. There’s a bunch of things that poker’s given me the opportunity to realise. I can’t really pick out just one.

Tags: Mike McDonald