Poker Pro Marc MacDonnell Spins and Wins $413,197

  • MacDonnell secured the big win playing ‘The Deal’ - a progressive jackpot game
  • Its jackpot starts at $25,000 and grows over time as players wager their Stars Coins
  • Speaking with VSO News, he said it was “a much different feeling“ to a poker win
Marc MacDonnell
Irish poker pro Marc MacDonnell has won a $413,197 jackpot away from the felt.

Ended with a bang

Irish poker professional Marc MacDonnell has been plying his trade for almost twenty years. His career has seen its fair share of ups and downs. He has made a plethora of big final tables and has a million-dollar score on his resume. He is also no stranger to downswings, make-up, and that gut-wrenching feeling best expressed by the phrase ‘when will it end.’ 

the Dubliner’s massive win actually came from the unlikeliest of places

Well, last night it ended with a bang for MacDonnell who was battling away on the cyber-felt. Did he win a Pokerstars WCOOP?  Did he take down a bracelet event on GGPoker? Both are very plausible but the Dubliner’s massive win actually came from the unlikeliest of places. 

Off to the side as he was multi-tabling on Pokerstars, MacDonnell was playing ‘The Deal’ – a progressive jackpot game in which you can gamble your ‘Stars Coins’ in the hope of a massive but statistically unlikely payday. The game dealt him a Royal Flush which qualified him for the Jackpot round – a wheel spin that guaranteed him at least a $1,000 score. A moment later, he was $413,196.83 richer. 

The Deal Jackpot Challenge

The Deal’s jackpot starts at $25,000 and grows over time as players wager their Stars Coins. Earlier this month, Pokerstars introduced a new promotion called ‘The Deal Jackpot Challenge’ which offered players additional incentive to compete for a prize that had grown to a staggering $800,000. 

The promotion had the desired effect with players recognizing the improved EV of using their Stars Coins to play ‘The Deal.’ In fact, more than 10,000 players had played the Deal in the 24 hours prior to MacDonnell’s bink. As per the terms of the promotion, the winner received half the $826,393.67 prize pool with those participating players chopping the other half for $37 each:

Talking to the man himself

Poker can make you feel invincible. There is nothing quite like that feeling when you are in ‘god-mode,’ taking opponent after opponent out by the roots as the deck hits you in the face over and over again. But how does a result like this make a player feel? Within minutes of his victorious wheel spin, VegasSlotsOnline News spoke to MacDonnell to get his reaction to this extraordinary windfall.

DL: Congratulations Marc. What does it feel like to be the most hated man in poker? 

MM: Haha… yeah I bet. Surprisingly it feels fantastic! I got plenty of love from people too so I guess it must be different from poker envy. 

DL: Seriously though… there’s a saying ‘money won is sweeter than money earned.’ I’ve heard that a lot over my career from people who don’t understand how much work goes into poker and how a big result is often the product of a huge amount of blood, sweat, and tears. This windfall is money won though. Is it sweeter? 

MM: Yeah, I can’t believe it. It’s a much different feeling, more like hitting the jackpot on a scratch card.

I’ve never known anyone to hit one but I still give it a spin every now and then. 

DL: Of course, this isn’t the biggest result of your career – you came third in the Caribbean Poker Party back in November 2018. Tournaments are a journey though so winning big comes gradually in them. For example, in that one, you made it to the top 10 for six figures. That was pretty nice. Then you laddered to the top 6 for $400,000. Nicer still. When you bust in third you had locked up a million dollars even. This $413,197 win was instant. It happened in the blink of an eye. In what way did this feel different? Describe the moment when it landed on ‘jackpot.’ 

MM: When it landed there I quickly triple-checked that the money was in the cashier. It was and then I was just in a daze. It would have been a great ‘punked’ moment if there was a camera because I absolutely lost it. 

DL: You’ve been a professional poker player for almost twenty years so you’ve paid a lot of rake, probably hundreds of thousands, to poker sites and live operators. In that sense, you deserve this more than most but obviously nobody ‘deserves’ a windfall like this. Do you think that will make you think of this money differently? Maybe not think of it as part of your bankroll and spend it on life stuff? 

MM: Hmmm… my mother and girlfriend would hope so. The last time that I got a big score I was living out of a suitcase, travelling around with the poker circus. These days, I’m happy at home and just doing a few stops a year so I’m sure I’ll keep some of it away from the tables… maybe. 

Boats that are not steered

Poker is a fickle business, smiling upon you one day, smiting you for the rest of the week, or month, or year. Players embrace the variance, accepting it as part of poker’s appeal. They try to make the best decisions that they can but they cannot escape the fact that fortune will bring in some boats that are not steered.

the luck factor will always be present, manifesting itself in different ways

Control what you can but the luck factor will always be present, manifesting itself in different ways, especially in tournament poker. Getting a good table draw, getting good card distribution, flopping well, winning your flips, winning a sequence of flips in a row, dogging your opponents – these are all in the realm of the poker gods. 

Last night, MacDonnell found himself on the right side of poker’s deities in a bizarre, unexpected, and utterly serendipitous way. I guess sometimes life drops blessings out of the sky and onto your lap. 

“Luck affects everything; let your hook always be cast; in the stream where you least expect it, there will be a fish.“

~ Ovid 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *