Bracelet Winner Ron ‘MacDaddy15’ McMillen Refuses To Act His Age

Ron 'MacDaddy15' McMillen uses his youthful mindset to accomplish his goal of winning a WSOP Online bracelet.

The average age of the 2020 World Series of Poker online bracelet winner skewed a little bit higher last Friday when in the wee hours of the morning, 70-year-old businessman from Iowa and high-stakes cash game player Ron ‘MacDaddy15’ McMillen capped off an incredible victory in WSOP Event #9 ($1,000 NLHE Six Max) for $188,214 and his first-career gold bracelet.

“I fulfilled part of a dream (Friday) night,” said McMillen. “That was a long time coming, it’s pretty special for me.”

It’s safe to say not many expected an elder statesman of the poker community like McMillen to take down what some might argue is the toughest tournament on the summer bracelet schedule. But despite it “absolutely” being McMillen’s very first online tournament, the ‘MacDaddy’ is anything like your average septuagenarian.

“I’ve always lived by the philosophy, and the older I get, that I don’t let the old man in.”

While many his age (and, yes, younger) were sound asleep, McMillen was on the thrill ride that is a WSOP final table. As he was experiencing the highs of completing a decades-long goal, it was his youthful mindset that was key to keeping him in the game.

McMillen doesn’t think of himself as some ‘old guy’ and he certainly doesn’t give in to how some may think a man of his age should behave. He surrounds himself with a younger crowd, competing against players decades his junior, learning from them and also teaching them a lesson or two.

“People say I’m young for my age, but mentally I’m really young for my age, and I think [my age] just doesn’t come into play for me because I guess I just embrace it so much,” he said. “And I embrace life so much. I’m just not going to let age bother me or get in my way.”

“You’ve got to live every day, you know? And I don’t care if you’re in pain, just go for it. And I might’ve been a little tired last night, but it wasn’t going to get my way. It’s just fun. I’m just having too much fun.”

Despite what he called “extremely tough” competition against “real deal” players, McMillen never felt like he didn’t belong in the tournament. Prior to diving into the deep end of chasing online bracelets, McMillen has stayed sharp by competing in high stakes cash games over the past few years. While keeping the details of his private game close to the vest except that it’s “high enough stakes that most people wouldn’t want to be in the game”, he does acknowledge that it was a gateway for him when it came to exploring tournaments.

“I play against unbelievable competition for getting me where I’ve gotten,” he said. “Of course, we all know that cash and tournaments are two different animals, but at the same time there’s some cross over,” he said. “I’ve played a lot more cash, but I still love the tournament format. It’s taught me patience. It’s taught me a different aspect. I’m, I guess, what you’d call an alpha male, a ‘Type A’, and patience is not a virtue. In tournament poker, you have to be patient. And it’s kind of helped me in that respect.”

“I’ve absolutely embraced tournament poker because I have a great gift of gab. I’m great with numbers, but it’s a big learning curve to do it right, and I’ve gotten really good at it, I feel. And I feel like I’ve really come into my own.”

McMillen may have known the difference between cash games and tournaments, but he was about to also get a crash course in the difference between live and online tournaments. Not everything that has worked for him in his live games translated.

“Well, to tell you the truth, my specialty is that I’m a great bullshitter,” he said before telling a tale from playing in a live game the night before his bracelet win. “I talked the guy into a couple-thousand dollar call. I have the stone-cold nuts, and this guy is getting ready to lay it down. And I started talking, dying [for him] to make the call. And you can’t do that online.”

“It’s so different because you can’t adjust to the personalities. Now, when I play live, I don’t play with hats on, I don’t play with sunglasses. I don’t believe in them,” he said. “I think you should be able to go face up with somebody. I love to look at somebody nose to nose…that’s all out the window with online.”

McMillen’s first foray into online poker certainly will not be his last. He plans on trying to become the first WSOP Online two-time bracelet winner while embracing what he’s already accomplished so far this summer.

“It kind of defines you, you know? It does. Yeah. Now I have a bracelet, and we’ve celebrated twice with Dom Perignon, last night at three and today at lunch. And I don’t know, I just can’t explain it. It takes such pressure off of you in a way, but it’s such a feeling of accomplishment for a poker player. It’s just amazing.”

But even while his goal of racking up bracelets will always be there, he’s still focused on the one goal that’s served him well up to this point. It’s a reminder to everyone, both inside the game and out.

“Just remember, never let the old man in.”