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Who is Mike McDonald? How “Timex” Became a Poker Legend

Mike McDonald, at 29 years old, has already just about done it all in poker. The man known as “Timex” started racking up an online poker bankroll before he could even legally play, starting on Partypoker in 2005 at age 16.

Fast forward to 2019, and McDonald’s resume includes more than $13 million in live poker tournament earnings. He’s the youngest player to ever win an event on the European Poker Tour, and he’s amassed an even bigger fortune through staking other poker players.

McDonald’s penchant for staking led him to start the company PokerShares, which allows for betting on any poker player in the world.

Let’s take a deeper look at the poker success and business acumen of Mike “Timex” McDonald.

(Featured Photo Credit: Danny Maxwell)

Mike McDonald Reaches Six-Figures at 16

Mike McDonald starting playing online poker at age 16 in his hometown of Waterloo, Ontario. Obsessed with poker, McDonald put considerable time into the game while still in high school, on poker sites like Partypoker and Paradise Poker.

McDonald put in enough hours to earn an entry into a power sit n go on Paradise Poker, with $1,000,000 going to the winner. He finished the tournament with a three-way chop for the top prize, earning him $330,000.

That six-figure score was just the beginning of a long career of poker success for McDonald. By 18, McDonald was showing his talent as a poker prodigy on the live tournament scene.

mike mcdonald ept dortmund win

Mike McDonald’s EPT Dortmund winner’s photo.

In 2008, at the EPT German Open in Dortmund, McDonald became the youngest player ever to win an EPT event. McDonald took down the EPT Main Event for his first seven-figure score, cashing in for $1,370,161.

That finish was the pinnacle of McDonald’s first year as a poker player on the live tournament scene. McDonald made the final table in three other events in 2008, including a win in the PokerPro No-Limit Hold’em event at the Aussie Millions, which netted $29,843.

 

Staking

In addition to his own success at the poker table, McDonald also reaped major financial rewards with staking endeavors.

A pair of big staking scores in late 2007 and early 2008 ran up McDonald’s bankroll even further. The first came in December 2007, when McDonald took a 50 percent share of a player who ended up winning the PokerStars Sunday Million.

Weeks later, McDonald cashed in again. With a 15 percent share of Jimmy Fricke in the Aussie Millions Main Event, Fricke went on to a first-place finish and a $795,279 payday.

By the end of 2008, McDonald had earned well into the seven figures in poker, both on his own and on other players.

Poker Player Extraordinaire

The big cashes kept coming for McDonald in the latter part of the 2000s, and in 2011 Timex was finally old enough to take a shot at tournament poker in the United States. McDonald played at the World Series of Poker for the first time in 2011, cashing twice and making his first WSOP final table appearance with a sixth-place finish in the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event.

His biggest cash of 2011 came with a win in the Epic Poker League No-Limit Hold’em Main Event in Las Vegas, which added $782,410 to his career poker tournament earnings.

The success continued throughout the first half of the decade for McDonald, who became a fixture on the Global Poker Index rankings list. McDonald peaked at #5 in the GPI rankings in 2014, a year which began with a second-place finish in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event for $1.064,865.

Timex added two more seven-figure cashes weeks later at the 2014 Aussie Millions, including a career-best $1,701,808 for a third-place showing in the$250,000 No-Limit Hold’em Challenge.

By this time, McDonald was regularly appearing, and cashing, in events on the super high roller scene. As of 2019, McDonald’s career tournament earnings sit at more than $13 million.

Bank of Timex and PokerShares

Mike McDonald was already enjoying success as a high school age poker player, but in his decade-plus career he’s continued to evolve as a player and as an investor in other poker players.

In 2013, McDonald founded the short-lived Bank of Timex, a business which acted as a sort of stock market exchange for poker player. The Bank of Timex gave investors the option of betting on players, with a lower markup than what the player was offering for a straightforward staking deal.

Based in the United States, the Bank of Timex was forced to shut down quickly after launch, due to laws preventing a US-based business from facilitating bets across state lines.

In 2017, McDonald relaunched the business as PokerShares, with the same idea. Investors can bet on players and get action from McDonald himself, as an alternative to a straight backing deal with the player and with less markup.

McDonald’s poker tournament exploits have slowed down a bit in recent years, but whether it’s online or live, he’s still a force to be reckoned with.

You can follow Mike “Timex” McDonald on Twitter @MikeMcDonald89.

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About the Author

Geoffrey Fisk

Freelance writer and poker player based in San Diego, California.

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