Alyssa MacDonald’s Leap Lands Her in $10K Heads-Up Final Four

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Canadian poker pro Alyssa MacDonald is in the final four of the WSOP $10K Heads-up Championship.

One of the most prestigious gold bracelets of the year will be awarded this weekend when the final four players in the 2020 World Series of Poker $10K Heads-up No Limit Hold’em Championship battle down to a winner.

The field of 128 players featured some of the biggest stars and brightest minds in the game, a fact not lost on Canadian poker player Alyssa MacDonald. Having won her way into the final four, the relatively unknown pro finds herself surviving and thriving in a sea of sharks, ready to take her shot at poker history.

“It would mean so much to me to win first and the bracelet,” MacDonald said. “It still feels like a dream and honestly I have just been trying not to think too much about it until Day 2 comes so I can stay calm, cool, and collected and not a nervous wreck.”

MacDonald may be new to a stage as big as the $10K Heads-up semi-finals, but she is by no means new to poker. A poker pro since 2007, MacDonald came up initially grinding online on Full Tilt Poker and currently specializes in No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournaments. Among her accomplishments, she estimates she has earned “well over a million USD in online cashes.”

Now she adds to her poker resume with a spot in the $10K Heads-up final four with which she has locked up a minimum score of $124,160.

To get to this point, MacDonald had to face down some extremely tough competition including Brazilian grinders Brunno Albuquerque and Belarmino De Souza, World Poker Tour High Roller winner Ajay Chabra, and WSOP bracelet winner Mark Radoja.

“At some points, it did not feel like I was going to make it to the next round. This is why it’s very important, not online in poker but in all things, to never give up. [David Peters] also never gave up when he was down to his final five big blinds and he made a big comeback to make it to the final four.”

In fact, when play resumes on August 15 on GGPoker, David Peters will be MacDonald’s next hurdle and perhaps her toughest test yet. Peters, by many, is considered one of the very best No Limit Hold’em players on the planet. He also currently sits seventh on the All-Time Money List and will be gunning for his second WSOP bracelet. Should MacDonald get past Peters, Australian high-stakes crusher Michael Addamo or UK phenom Michael Chi Zhang will be waiting for her in the finals.

While all of that competition may be intimidating to some, MacDonald feels like her years of experience has her ready to compete.

“I am just playing my game with the skills I have learned over my career along with a lot of training and preparation for this huge moment,” she said.

Peters has a history with the WSOP dating back to 2010, but this is the first World Series of Poker that MacDonald has had the opportunity to participate in and she plans on making the most of it. She’s been firing (and cashing) in multiple events and when the door opened for her to sell a little action and play in the $10K Heads-up she stepped up and happily accepted the challenge.

“Since this is my first WSOP and I am in a great position to do so, I am trying to take as many risks and leaps in these big buy-in events as possible to make up for lost time,” she said. “I’ve been doing well at the high stakes level lately and decided to push myself even further, all while learning and experiencing something truly unique and rare.”

A part-time poker streamer on Twitch, MacDonald was a former ambassador for PPI Poker (which, coincidentally, merged with GGPoker) where she shared part of her journey rising up through the ranks with an online audience. Streaming is also a tool for MacDonald as a student. She credits watching fellow streamers as a part of her studies, religiously tuning in and learning as a part of her continued pursuit to evolve.

Now 13 years of hard work is paying off for MacDonald and she is in line to play for the biggest payday of her career, one that she hopes will take her game to the next level. Having started playing live poker in 2017, she plans on traveling to play even more when the live circuit returns to form. Specifically, she has her eye on making her first appearance at the WSOP in Las Vegas next year.

“I feel I am a very strong poker player with a lot of my own accomplishments that may not match some of my opponents but will certainly be a force to be reckoned with once I start hitting the live arena.”

“It’s crazy, it’s all life-changing stuff for me and I am really just super humble and excited to even be in the position I am in right now.  It’s certainly the start of something hopefully big and will further my career in poker and any success that may come from it.”