Chris Moneymaker is often referred to as the man that ignited the poker boom.
As ‘Money800’ on PokerStars, he entered, and won, a $39 satellite to the 2003 World Series of Poker. As Chris Moneymaker, he turned that seat in a World Series of Poker Championship and $2.5 million, capturing the world’s attention and highlighting the fact that it’s not just pro players that can win poker’s most prestigious title.
Born in Tennessee, Chris had a childhood of playing bridge with his grandmother followed by a later love of playing blackjack with his father. He attended the University of Tennessee and earned a Masters Degree in accounting, then worked for big 5 accounting firms.
Watching the film “Rounders” shot Chris and his friends into the world of Texas Hold’em. With the nearest legal card room four hours drive away Chris turned to online poker rooms.
He was still working as an accountant in Tennessee when he won the $39 PokerStars satellite tournament that was to propel him to poker superstardom at the 2003 World Series.
Wearing the cap and sunglasses that have become the uniform of poker’s next generation, Moneymaker finished day one of the WSOP with over 60,000 in chips and realised that although he was an amateur amongst pros, he had as good a shot as anyone at winning the tournament.
And win he did, eventually defeating legendary pro Sammy Farha heads up in what became the most watched poker final table telecast in television history.
Since that fateful day, poker’s popularity exploded, both online at sites like PokerStars and in live poker rooms all over the world. In a tribute to Moneynaker’s accomplishment PokerStars even ran an entire promotion named the ‘Moneymaker Millionaire’ giving one lucky player the chance to emulate his success and win a million dollars playing poker.
Chris MoneyMaker’s winning WSOP hand
Facing down Sam Farha’s JT Chris flopped 2 pair with the board showing J54. An 8 came on the turn, a blank for both players, but the river delivered Chris a full house 4’s over 5’s, beating Sam’s 2 pair of Jacks and 4’s.
Chris Moneymaker’s Poker Career Highlights
- 2003 WSOP $10,000 Main Event winner – $2,500,000
- 2004 WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star – 2nd – $200,000
- 2004 WPT Aruba Poker Classic – 18th – $13,000
- 2006 WSOP Event 36 $1500 Limit Holdem – 28th – $7,153
- Started the poker boom by turning a $39 online satellite win into $2.5 million
Chris Moneymaker Quotes
“I started playing poker about four years ago when my friends and I saw the movie ‘Rounders’ starring Matt Damon.”
“I got lucky along the way, I bluffed a lot during this tournament, but somehow I got away with it.”
“I was a little underestimated because no one knew who I was, if I can win it, anybody can.”
“With a $39 satellite tournament entry on PokerStars, I went on to win $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker.”