Prime poker investigator and Pot-Limit Omaha enthusiast Joey Ingram has been a busy bee in the last week and cranked out podcast interviews with several big names in the poker world. Among the more recent ones was his conversation with Mike “Timex” McDonald.
While now 30-year-old McDonald hasn’t been as active at the poker tables in the last few years and instead has facilitated lots of gambling via his PokerShares website, he jumped into the poker headlines on social media on Twitter when he was among the first to be vocal about betting on whether or not the 2020 World Series of Poker would take place as planned amid the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.
After putting up the first bets, the negative comments and backlash followed but bets on the total number of cases at the end of March kept coming in. McDonald confirmed he received action on his 12-1 bet for the cancellation of poker’s annual flagship event in Las Vegas and the sheer increase in cases worldwide has obviously changed the perspective since.
Quite confidently, the Canadian admitted “In hindsight, of course it’s gonna get canceled” without any hesitation but any official word on that by the WSOP itself about the summer plans is likely weeks away at this rate.
To get prepared for his interview with McDonald, Ingram tweeted about one specific hand from more than a decade ago that brought back memories to the Canadian and even resulted in a surprise response by Jamie Gold.
I watch this clip of @MikeMcDonald89 before every podcast we have done. Still one of the greatest clips in poker history.
— Joey Ingram #passion (@Joeingram1) March 19, 2020
Appreciate you reaching out! I was a jerk too in that moment and even though heated at the time- the memory of that is still one of the highlights of my poker career
— Mike McDonald (@MikeMcDonald89) March 19, 2020
“It was just a funny event but going back and watching it is great,” McDonald admitted and once both went down the rabbit hole of televised poker further, he also added “It’s basically Jamie Gold” when referring of his impressions picked up by watching the exploits of Stu Ungar.
His fairytale story that went from being a wizard at the online tables to becoming the youngest player to win an EPT Main Event was based on a slightly different motivation than most poker pros who made and continue to make a living these days.
“I picked up poker as a hobby and I never dreamed about winning a bracelet. I can make a bunch of money and not have to get a job,” the Canadian outlined his thoughts. Throughout his poker career so far, the young prodigy has cashed for more than $3.2 million on the virtual tables and $13.3 million on the live circuit.
While being regarded as one of the best by his peers back then, McDonald never compared himself to others, especially in the early years, while climbing the ladder further and participating in High Roller events that became very popular and caught the attention of the poker fans all over the world.
“A lot of people, when they remember the history of online poker, they think about the guys who were in the spotlight but a lot of our biggest winners in the industry were the guys away from the spotlight.”
New stories will be made in the weeks and months to come as the Galfond challenge continues to evolve and the online poker traffic has received a tremendous growth with record numbers for several networks. This trend will likely continue and “we gonna have a crazy poker boom online in the next 3 to 18 months” as per McDonald.
Several operators such as partypoker, WSOP.com, Grosvenor and Unibet Poker have already ramped up their marketing and quickly decided to move postponed live events to their online platform. In a nutshell, being stuck at home may suck but those that wish to play poker now have a ton of interesting tournaments to pick from.
Not all players are as fortunate to have legal options at their disposal with a large portion of the United States and Australia player pools looking for a new home and an opportunity to play as casinos and card rooms all over the world are being shut down to slow the spreading of the Coronavirus. Mostly below the radar, poker clubs on mobile apps have suddenly gathered more attention as many agents magically appear more frequently on social media platforms.
“To add to these clubs, it is important for people to realize that this stuff is very clearly illegal,” McDonald emphasized and also urged players to only keep a balance of what they can afford to lose for online gambling.
His spell with Full Tilt Poker and what lessons he learned from it after Black Friday, brief stories about cryptocurrency, an attempt to buy a phone charger at the WSOP, throwbacks to trash talk at the high stakes poker tables, the playing style adjustments McDonald did throughout his active years, or the perception of the legality of poker sites such as Americas Cardroom are just some of other topics covered, and the latest episode of Joey Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast “Quarantine Week” is one not to be missed.