Mike McDonald talks to Full Tilt Blog

stacks of chips

The prospect of winning big prizes in top tournaments is both an incentive and a constant source of pressure for poker players and professionals make no exception. That’s why, in the latter stages of the tournament, deal-making is a common practice and Mike McDonald’s recent interview with Full Tilt Blog is enlightening on this subject, among other things.

2014 has been a phenomenal year so far for Mike “Timex” McDonald who finished second in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and made the final table at the Super High Roller. He finished on the podium at the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge and $250,000 Challenge to collect a combined amount of $3 million. More recently, he played in the FTOPS XXV Main Event and once again made a deep run, finding himself in an excellent position of winning the tournament.

When three handed play began, the remaining players decided to chop the pot, in order to mitigate the risk of bad luck alone ruining their day. The interesting thing about this deal is that the remaining players agreed to receive an identical share of $200k each, despite the fact that they didn’t have identical stacks. Mike had the shortest stack at the moment but the differences were negligible and they decided not to push their luck and split the money evenly.

McDonald strongly believes that deals are the correct thing to do at this stage if you analyse things strictly from a financial perspective. There is no point in putting everything on the line, because the difference between the 1st prize and the 3rd can be significant. What frequently happens is that players end up going all-in with marginal hands, because the blinds are high and they would lose more by folding.

This is what happened in the FTOPS XXV Main Event as well, with the last three players committing their entire stacks with strong, but not amazing hands. This tournament was particularly challenging for all poker players involved, but the finalists were particularly tired after spending so many hours at the tables. The fact that they played from the comfort of their homes helped but didn’t change much and took its toll with McDonald, who sat out exhausted.

Much to his credit, he stayed focused and motivated throughout the entire session and he was lavishly rewarded for his effort. He finished third but got just as much money as the winner, as a result of an inspired deal, so he can be happy with the way the FTOPS XXV Main Event ended.