Poker pro Mike McDonald closing in on winning free-throw shooting prop bet

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 08/19/2020

Look out, Steph Curry, there’s a new free-throw shooting GOAT, and his name is Mike McDonald. Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. But the poker pro, who bet he could sink 90 out of 100 free-throws by the end of 2020, is closing in on that goal.

We don’t know the size of the bet or the opponent as McDonald is keeping that information hush-hush. But he’s been known to place some hefty prop bets and wouldn’t take a challenge such as this without having some significant financial gain at stake.

The rules are simple, but winning the bet isn’t easy. He must drain 90 shots from the charity stripe out of 100 at least once before the end of the year. The Canadian poker star can take as many attempts as he’d like, but he must record a live-stream of the session when, or if, he hits 90 in a 100-shot set. Other rules include he must shoot from the standard 15-foot free-throw distance and use an NBA regulation size ball and a traditional 10-foot hoop.

You can even bet on this, but only on him to lose, on PokerShares. His odds of losing are currently 2-1, meaning a $100 bet would net you a $200 profit. You can’t bet on him to win as McDonald has a financial stake in PokerShares.

My how far he’s come

Back in April when he accepted the bet, McDonald was an inept shooter. He even admitted he had only played basketball a few times in his life and didn’t follow the game much. And he wasn’t hustling to con someone into accepting the wager. Aaron Jones proved that in a recorded shooting session in April. His form at the time was, to be blunt, terrible.

But he’s drastically progressed over the past few months. McDonald live-streamed a free-throw shooting session on Twitch Tuesday afternoon. Viewers could see just how far he’s come.

He fell short of the required 90% clip but still made 85/100 free-throws (85%). McDonald made the first 12 shots but fell off pace quickly, finishing with 73 makes in his final 88 shots (82.9%).

The poker pro with over $13 million in live tournament winnings is heading to an organized gym on Wednesday to record a 100-shot session. His goal for the day is to make 90/100 shots and finish off the bet long before the end of the year. His current best, according to a recent tweet, is 87/100. So, he’s clearly on pace to win. In fact, he appears to be a near lock at this point given how quickly he’s improved and still has more than four months to pull it off.

Shooting 90% at the free-throw line certainly isn’t easy. To put things in perspective, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry holds the all-time NBA career record for free-throw shooting at 90.6%. Granted, McDonald doesn’t have to shoot in front of a packed crowd and is facing less pressure. But it just goes to show how daunting of a task he’s taken on.

McDonald, who is also a Bitcoin advocate, has made millions of dollars on the felt, and now he’s trying to win some more money on the hardwood. He famously won the EPT Dortmund Main Event in 2008 for $1,370,000 at the ripe age of 18. Since then, he’s earned three seven-figure scores in the Aussie Millions series and numerous six-figure cashes.