For some people, a $10,000 poker tournament just isn’t enough to get the competitive juices flowing.

Mike McDonald used to be a professional poker player and every now and then the man behind Poker Shares and the most intense stare in the game pops up, and when he does, he loves raising the stakes.

Jokingly McDonald said, “Gambling addiction is probably what brings us all here and I’ve got that stronger than most.”

A Huge Main Event Cross-Book Bet

With a select group of high stakes players and gamblers, McDonald has taken bets where they were able to pick any player in the Main Event and McDonald would pay them 10% on top of what they would make. In return, McDonald receives 11% on top of what he makes from the people he bet against with a cap at the $2,500,000.

McDonald’s 1% edge in this bet comes from not being a regular poker player anymore and most of the best players in the field were taking against him in this big cross-book.

“If any of these few dozen players do well, I can be on the hook to lose quite a bit but if I do well I can win a lot.”

While he wouldn’t specify the total amount he’s set to win if he goes on to win the tournament, or finish fifth for that matter, McDonald said it would be “substantial” and added, “There’s a chance that when the tournament is heads-up, the biggest winner of the event already having been decided.”

Betting on Yourself

Because the Waterloo, Ontario native only plays poker every now and then, he wants cross-book action in every event he plays. Earlier this year he did the same thing in the Niagara Falls $5,000 Main Event as well as the partypoker Montreal event. McDonald finished 22nd in $10,000 Montreal event for $22,300, narrowly missing out on a massive payday with his cross books included.

“Sometimes when I play tournaments I feel as though there’s not enough pressure, and I think having a bit of pressure is good. Having the added pressure makes me pay attention more to every hand and it’s nice to play for meaningful stakes every single day and not just one Day 6, 7 and beyond.”

Through Poker Shares, McDonald always has a ton of sweats in every big event but for the Main Event, the biggest bets are on himself.

“It happens sometimes when I’m playing a €5,000 EPT Main Event that I’m not even focused on my own play because I’m anti-sweating someone because of Poker Shares in a €100,000 Super High Roller. If the gambling outside of your job is bigger than the gambling on your job, it’s going to hurt your game.”

The Pressure Keeps Building

While the pressure for most players in the Main Event might be an ongoing thing to deal with, we think that for McDonald that might really start heating up when the stakes for him become increasingly large on the later days of this event.

“I might feel a bit more pressure on the later days compared to the other players but that’s a great problem to have!” McDonald smiled as he’s still sitting on a big stack on Day 3 of the tournament and the money in sight.

Referring back to his initial statement about playing for fifth place, at which point his cross-books are capped out when it comes to his payment, McDonald said the following.

“Of course I’m going for the win! I only play poker a few times a year now and I just want to show these guys that I used to battle day in, day out, year in, year out that I’ve still got it a little bit!”

Watch the WSOP Main Event on ESPN and PokerGO

2019 WSOP Main Event, Mike McDonald, Timex, Timex poker