Online Poker Spotlight: Mike "Timex" McDonald
Pokernews: Hey, Mike! What’s been going on with you and poker these days? Catch us up, sir!
McDonald: This summer I've been playing almost all Sundays and often 1-2 other MTT sessions during the week. This is more than I normally play online. I also just got back from London where I played the FTP Poker Million. I am also making videos for Card Runners right now too.
Pokernews: How did the FTP Poker Million go for you?
McDonald: It was a close call. In my initial heat I finished 2nd place to Annette_15 after blinds got really high and she limped KQ. I checked K4, and the flop came K53r and the money went in. That qualified me to the turbo heat where the winner would go on, and I finished 3rd there.
Pokernews: Still, pretty solid. Besides playing poker, did you do anything interesting when you were in London? See any good attractions?
McDonald: It was my fourth time in London in two years. I played one other tournament there which I ended up making day 2 in. That meant four days of playing poker. I ended up hanging out with Andrew "Tufat23" Teng a fair bit. Sadly, one of the highlights was going to this random restaurant called "Hare and Tortoise" which could be my favorite restaurant in any city despite being only a step up from fast food.
Pokernews: What was on their menu that makes them so good that you had?
McDonald: Tori Katsu Curry!
Pokernews: Good deal! Alright, back to poker. What is your next big live tourney?
McDonald: Full Tilt is sending out invitations to Late Night Poker this week. If I get one I'll play Late Night Poker in Wales Aug 26-29, Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes Aug 31, EPT Sept 6, and Barcelona Sept 5-9. If I don't get the invite I’ll play just the last two. Then I’ll go back to Canada for WCOOP, then back to Europe for the last three events of WSOPE, and EPT London(schedule was just announced today).
Pokernews: Damn, you live the dream, my friend. All of those places sound good. What do you feel are the key ingredients to your live success as we know you won the German EPT for 1.2 million.
McDonald: That really varies. I guess I've been spoiled with the amount I've gotten to travel. To the point where I don't want to do too much travelling. After five to six weeks of playing, I'm really going to look forward to a few months of hanging out at home. Mostly playing some online. Maybe I’ll do one or two random small trips before the end of 2009. Living out of a suitcase too much kind of gets to me after a while since I like the conveniences I have at home. I think I have a wider set of skills than a lot of tourney players since I have a fair bit of cash experience. This translates nicely to live tournaments. I have talked a ton with other successful live players. Being able to go over hands when taking everything into account is so much more beneficial than going over hands in an online setting where you have so much less information about your opponents.
Pokernews: What other successful live players do you discuss hands with?
McDonald: A bunch of guys from my home town, Mike Watson, Steve Paul-Ambrose, Will Ma, Matt Kay, and Aaron Coulthard. As well as whomever I respect and whom I happen to run into at a tournament I am at.
Pokernews: Is there any specific rituals you have before a certain live event or even a regular Sunday grind?
McDonald: Before a live event I like to usually eat or sleep well. Optimally I'd like to lift or run the morning of. That only happens about as often as not. For a regular Sunday it does not happen much. I just set my alarm, eat a big breakfast and then hope to run good.
Pokernews: Sounds good! Time for the "H2H" questions. What would be an ideal day for you if you are not playing poker?
McDonald: That’s a tough question. I'd say sleeping in, breakfast in bed, going for a pretty long run when it’s cool outside, and then I just hanging out with people I like. It’s pretty simple, I guess. I am lucky to have the resources and freedom to do whatever I want within reason.
Pokernews: What is the most expensive thing you have bought in the past year?
McDonald: I just bought a car. I also bought into the 25k euro buyin in Monte Carlo.
Pokernews: What kind of car did you get?
McDonald: I bought a black 2008 Lexus IS 250. I am pretty frugal with my money most of the time.
Pokernews: I never really ask this question, but I feel like these past couple of months there have been some sick movies. What’s the best movie or movies that you would recommend to the readers?
McDonald: I would have to say in this order: Up, Hangover, Harry Potter, and Transformers.
Pokernews: Hangover definitely could be movie of the year. What online poker player do you look up to the most and why?
McDonald: I never really liked this type of question since there are tons of people I respect. No one really separates from the pack. I guess Steve Paul-Ambrose since he taught me to play and was the first good poker player I met.
Pokernews: Lastly, where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
McDonald: I would say I'm doing something else. I'll probably have a degree by then (not sure if I'll finish my math degree at Waterloo or go elsewhere) but perhaps not be using it. I'll still play most of the WSOP and a couple other majors a year. While I'll still try to play poker well, I doubt I'll be anywhere near as good (relative to the other top players of the time) as I am now or will be in two to three years. I have no idea what that something else is, but if I never find that something else maybe I'll still be playing poker professionally. I have no idea.
Pokernews: Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us, Mike! We wish you the best of luck in the future!
McDonald: Thanks a ton, Ryan, it was fun!