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Dominik Panka Denies Mike McDonald Second EPT Title, Wins The 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

22-Year-Old Becomes First Polish Player To Win EPT Main Event


Sometime after 5 a.m. on Jan. 14, 2014 22-year-old Dominik Panka made European Poker Tour history by topping the field of 1,031 players in the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure $10,000,000 guaranteed main event to become the first ever Polish player to win an EPT main event.

“There a lot of very good poker players from Poland and I was expecting somebody else to be the first,” said Panka after his win. “But I was able to bring the glory to Poland and I am very, very proud to do it.”

In addition to the title he also earned $1,423,096 in prize money, the trophy and a Swiss watch from official EPT watch sponsor Slyde.

In addition to forever etching his name in the poker history books he also prevented Mike “Timex” McDonald from making history of his own by becoming the first player to ever win two EPT’s, a feat that has been elusive for over nine and a half seasons so far.

Mike McDonaldAs an 18-year-old, McDonald won the 2008 EPT Dortmund main event for more than $1.3 million. Panka defeated McDonald heads-up to cap off 16 hours of final table action and prevent him from achieving that record-setting win.

The final table began with Estonian Madis Muur in the chip lead but with McDonald not far behind. McDonald was able to wrest the chip lead away after winning a number of big pots, including eliminating Argentina’s Fabian Ortiz in eighth place with QHeart SuitQDiamond Suit versus Ortiz’s ASpade SuitKHeart Suit.

2007 Card Player Online Player of the Year Isaac Baron took out seventh-place finisher Pascal LeFrancois. Panka busted Shyam Srinivasan in sixth place. Daniel Gamez went out in fifth place and Madis Muur in fourth. At that point Panka, Baron and McDonald took a break to talk deal, eventually agreeing to set $100,000 from the prize pool set aside to play for, while agreeing that each would at least earn the following payouts (based on ICM):

Dominik Panka - $1,323,096
Isaac Baron – $1,207,599
Mike McDonald – $1,064,000

Isaac BaronDuring three-handed play Baron’s stack dwindled down to just 3.8 million in chips before his final hand arose. Panka raised to 325,000 on the button and Baron moved all-in. Panka made the call with the ASpade Suit9Spade Suit and was ahead of Baron’s KDiamond SuitQHeart Suit. All of the tension of the sweating the run-out was diffused after a flop of 10Spade Suit7Spade Suit3Spade Suit left Baron drawing dead, with Panka’s flopped nut-flush securing him the giant pot and sending Baron to the rail in third place ($1,207,599).

With that heads-up play began with Panka holding a slight lead over McDonald. That lead was quickly erased, and then McDonald was able to build a lead of his before the next key hand arose. Panka raised to 400,000 on the button and McDonald three-bet to 1.2 million. Panka moved all-in for roughly 13.1 million and after a moments thought McDonald called with the KClub SuitJSpade Suit. Panka was ahead with the 9Heart Suit9Diamond Suit, and McDonald was not able to make a better hand after the board ran out 10Heart Suit8Club Suit2Diamond Suit8Spade Suit2Club Suit.

As a result of that hand Panka took the lead and from there was able to steadily increase his chip advantage until he had a lead of roughly 5-to-1 before the final hand arose. Panka raised to 500,000 from the button and McDonald went all-in for 5.4 million. Panka made the call with the ADiamond Suit2Club Suit, which was ahead of McDonald’s 7Club Suit4Club Suit. The flop didn’t really change much as it brought the JHeart Suit5Spade Suit2Spade Suit, but the 7Heart Suit on the turn put McDonald in the lead and made him a big favorite to double up and keep his dream of making EPT history alive. The AClub Suit on the river dashed those hopes however, sending McDonald to the rail in second place ($1,064,865) and securing the title for Panka.

“When the hands were turned up, I was like, ‘If I win this pot, I win the tournament. If not, then we are going to battle once more.’ I was happy when the hand was over, but I didn’t feel particularly strong emotions during the hand,” said Panka of the final hand. “It is a little bit overwhelming. The amount of money and how large of a success this is, in a tournament like this, it has not hit me as of right now. But in a few days or few hours I will probably be like (screeches).”

Here is a look at the payouts awarded at this final table:

Place Player Earnings (USD)
1 Dominik Panka $1,423,096*
2 Mike McDonald $1,064,865*
3 Isaac Baron $1,207,599*
4 Madis Muur $581,040
5 Daniel Gamez $447,040
6 Shyam Srinivasan $328,020
7 Pascal LeFrancois $242,020
8 Fabian Ortiz $173,220
  • Denotes payouts according to three handed deal.