Regardless of whether or not you believe the Epic Poker League is beneficial to the game of poker, fans and critics can’t argue with its excitement and success. In the latest EPL Main Event, 22-year-old Mike “Timex” McDonald defeated a field of 97 players to take home his first live tournament title in the United States.
McDonald, who captured $782,410 for his outstanding play, needed to surmount an amazing comeback against another unbelievable EPL final table. It seems trivial to mention the names of the finalists, considering that most of the participants have become well acquainted with final table appearances in 2011. With multiple cashes under their belts, poker veterans Nam Le, Fabrice Soulier, and Erik Seidel were in attendance to prevent the accomplished poker pro from grabbing his biggest tournament prize to date, but were unsuccessful in doing so.
Even with the long hiatus from poker; in which McDonald took time away to focus on his business degree and career; the rust factor didn’t stop the Cardrunners pro from etching his place in the short span of EPL history.
“It was a tough day, against tough players at the table,” commented McDonald, after his incredible comeback. “The Epic Poker League is extremely competitive and it’s rare I’m at a table where I feel that many of the players are better than myself. I couldn’t have a better birthday gift than this.”
McDonald made a big statement by winning this victory, not only to the competitors of the EPL, but also to his fans that he once again deeply appreciates the intricacies and competitiveness of poker. In his latest blog post, he details the chronicles of his EPL Main Event title, and it certainly sheds light on the concentration he’s re-devoted in securing such a prestigious win.
This $20,000 buy-in Main Event was the second stop on Season 1 of the EPL circuit, and the event took place at the Palms Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas, NV. All of the tournaments will display unique No-Limit Hold’em formats, with this event representing 8-handed play. Despite the expensive entry fee, 97 of the world’s best players assembled to create an immense $2.3 million prize pool, with 12 players being paid.
There were a bunch of interesting subplots throughout the duration of the final table.
Fabrice Soulier, coming fresh off of a huge win at the World Series of Poker’s $10K H.O.R.S.E. championship, entered an EPL Main Event for the first time and made a final table as a result. The Las Vegas native spent a great deal of time battling with the eventual winner McDonald, and his encounters with him ended up as the primary reason for his exit in 3rd place.
Adam Levy, a familar professional player and cash game savant, spent time relishing the fact that his departure in 9th place marked the second time in a row that he’s finished just out of reach of the final table at an EPL event. With a good sense of humor, Levy joked that his “back-to-back bubbles were more of a feat than a beat” on his Twitter account, and that results with that level of irony will be hard to duplicate.
The aforementioned Seidel, who earned his ninth cash of at least six-figures this year, continued to roll throughout the Epic Poker League’s second Main Event, and was once the chip leader at the final table. Surprisingly never seeing a showdown during the first few hours, Seidel entered four-handed play as the short stack and failed to recover. Despite his 4th place finish, Seidel will envision his tournament as a bright spot, amongst a year that has accrued a massive $6.4 million in tournament earnings.
But despite these great players, it would be an insult to exclude runner-up David Steicke from this conversation.
Steicke, who went into one-on-one play versus McDonald with a modest chip advantage, couldn’t summon the luck necessary to win such a major tournament title. In a crucial hand, Steicke’s [Ac Qh] didn’t convert against the pocket sixes of McDonald, and ended up being the key determination in who would win the contest. Now possessing a 20-to-1 chip lead, McDonald sealed the victory after eliminating Steicke with A-4 offsuit against his K-2 offsuit.
It was a proud moment for McDonald, who was pleased to return to the world of poker with such success, and he will remember this as one of the most thrilling moments of his career.
“This was probably my happiest I’ve ever been after a poker tournament,” said McDonald in his blog. “This win feels amazing and I couldn’t have asked for a better early birthday present.”
Here are the final table payouts:
Event: $20,000 No-Limit Hold’em Eight-Handed
Venue: Palms Hotel Casino and Resort – Las Vegas, NV
Entries: 97, Prize Pool: $2,301,200
- Mike McDonald: $782,410
- David Steicke: $506,260
- Fabrice Soulier: $299,160
- Erik Seidel: $184,100
- Nam Le: $126,570
- Issac Baron: $92,050
- Sean Getzwiller: $69,040
- Dutch Boyd: $57,530