Poker returned to network television this past weekend with the second broadcast of the Epic Poker League. On Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011, CBS aired the final table of the EPL’s 8-Max Main Event, which drew a field of 97 players. The broadcast picked up with four-handed action. At that final table but not featured on the broadcast: Dutch Boyd (8th - $57,530), Sean Getzwiller (7th - $69,040), Isaac Baron (6th - $92,050), and Nam Le (5th - $126,570).
Chips Counts at the Top of the Broadcast
And They’re Off: In the first hand, with blinds at 10,000/20,000, Erik Seidel raised to 50,000 under the gun holding and was called by David Steicke in the big blind holding . The flop gave Steicke a pair of sixes, but he checked to Seidel who bet 60,000 with the best hand. Steicke called, the spiked on the turn, and both players checked. The river saw Steicke lead out for 100,000 with his full house, which Seidel paid off. First blood to Steicke.
Button Pressure: David Steicke looked down at on the button and raised to 60,000, which Erik Seidel three-bet to 150,000 from the small blind with . Steicke eyed up the Poker Hall of Famer’s stack before announcing that he was all-in, a huge over-raise to 1,042,000. To call would cost Seidel all of his chips, and he decided against it.
Sick Soul Read: The EPL aired a segment that harkened back to its first broadcast and took a look at a notable hand where Erik Seidel called off his stack with on a board. Seidel, who made the right decision as he bested Chino Rheem’s , explained his thought process in the hand, giving viewers a brief glimpse into the mind of a poker great.
“Erik made a great call. He made like a sick soul read, that’s why he’s who he is,” Rheem admitted in the feature.
Four in the Window: Fabrice Soulier raised to 51,000 from the button, only to have Michael “Timex” McDonald move all-in from the small blind for 560,000. The big blind got out of the way and Soulier made the call.
It was a race situation, but not so much after the flop. McDonald had flopped a set and left Soulier drawing to runner-runner. The turn was of no consequence, aside from leaving Soulier drawing dead, and McDonald was guaranteed the double to 1,152,000.
“He’s too good,” Soulier said as he counted his remaining chips.
“Too lucky,” McDonald said with a smile.
Seidel Eliminated in Fourth Place: A short-stacked Erik Seidel moved all-in from the button with only to have Soulier move all-in over the top from the small blind with . McDonald folded from the big blind and the man known as “Seiborg” was a 4-1 dog for his tournament life. With 812,000 in the pot, the flop fell , bringing Seidel one step closer to the door. The left him looking for a five, while the river sent him home in fourth place, worth $184,100.
Soulier Shoves: With the blinds now at 12,000/24,000, Soulier opened from the button for 48,000 with , and watched as McDonald made it 144,000 to go from the small blind with the far superior . Steicke folded the big blind and Soulier stared at his opponent before moving all-in for 1,066,000. McDonald asked for a count before admitting, “This is one of those hands where whatever I do I’m gonna look dumb on the broadcast.” The four-bet shove proved too much for McDonald, who slide his cards to the muck.
Soulier Eliminated in Third Place: A little while later, with the blinds at 20,000/40,000, Soulier moved all-in from the small blind for his last 665,000. McDonald snap-called, and the cards were on their backs.
McDonald was a 70 percent favorite to win the hand and had the Frenchman on the ropes. The flop gave Soulier some chop outs to a nine, and the turn increased those outs to an ace, king, nine, or three on the river, not to mention a ten for the win. Unfortunately for Soulier, the blanked and he was eliminated in third place ($299,160).
Heads-Up Play: Steicke began heads-up play as the chip leader with 2,835,000 to McDonald’s 2,015,000. It was the Australian versus the Canadian, old versus young, for the latest EPL title. In the first hand between the pair, Steicke looked down at and raised to 90,000, which McDonald called with . The flop hit McDonald hard, but he checked to Steicke, who bet 150,000. McDonald made the call and then checked the turn.
Steicke checked behind and took a free card on the river, which was the . McDonald played coy with a third check, but Steicke refused to bite. McDonald, who shook his head at the missed opportunity, rolled over his full house to collect to the 490,000 pot. “I did have an out at the end,” Steicke smiled as his opponent pulled even in chips.
Off to the Races for an EPL Title: McDonald raised to 90,000 with and Steicke three-bet to 300,000 with . Both players held quality hands, and you just knew it was going to be a big pot. Sure enough, McDonald moved all-in for 1,965,000 and Steicke made the call. Just like that, there was 4.54 million in the pot. “This is pretty much it,” Steicke deadpanned.
Sure enough, if Steicke won he would be an EPL champion, but if he lost he’d be left with hardly anything. The flop made McDonald a 68 percent favorite, but the turn doubled Steicke’s outs. Either a ten, queen, king, or ace on the river would give Steicke the tournament, but it was not meant to be as the appeared. Suddenly it was the 21-year-old Canadian on the verge of an EPL title.
Timex’s Time: In the next broadcasted hand, Steicke moved all-in for 1,395,000 and was quickly called by McDonald.
McDonald was a 65 percent favorite and only five cards separate him from an EPL title. The flop brought him even closer, while the turn left Steicke in need of a king or deuce on the river. Unfortunately for the Aussie, the blanked and he finished in second place for $506,260. Meanwhile, McDonald became the EPL 8-Max Champion and earned himself a hefty $782,410 payday.
“It was a tough day. A lot of tough players at the table. Things just worked out really well for me today,” McDonald said on the eve of his 22nd birthday in his post-victory interview.
*Photo courtesy of Epic Poker League.