Chris MoneymakerChris Moneymaker, the real name of the twenty-seven year old that won the 2003 World Series of Poker No Limit Hold'em Championship. His story is fit for a Hollywood movie, beginning with winning his entry into the Series via the PokerStars online card room. His total investment was $40, to win a place in the WSOP and to win the $2,500,000 jackpot. He has now given the world a chance to read his life story in Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker.
After he won his way into the event, he realized it would be difficult to scrape together airfare and hotel costs. So his father, Mike and a friend, David Gamble (also his real name) put up some money to cover the cost for the trip in exchange for a portion of his winnings. Also when he won the jackpot he donated $25,000 of the prize to cancer research.
Christopher Brian Moneymaker took the World Series of Poker 2003 by storm. There are many people who insist that it was the luck of the cards that earned Chris his victory (then again who could win without it?). He showed that he has the skill to play with the big boys. He had only been playing for three years before he won the Series, but he had never played a live tournament. The first day of the tournament he had two of the poker world’s big boys on the table, he had Johnny Chan sitting on his right and Phil Ivey on his left. He got outplayed that day, so that night he decided to not be afraid anymore. If he got beat, he got beat, but he was going to play his game. That is what he did. He mixed it up beautifully and made some great plays along the way. The hand that sticks in a lot of people's minds is when he went all in with his pocket 8s against Humberto Brenes's pocket A's. He caught the 8 giving him a set and sent Humberto to the rail. Yes, he got extremely lucky, but I don't consider what he did to be a bad play. If he had known that Humberto was holding the pocket aces, then yes that would have been a terrible mistake, but who would know? He certainly didn’t.
Chris is a great sportsman when he is at the table. He would shake hands with everybody that leaves the table. He is not only a sportsman at the table, but a gentleman away from it. He also seems down to earth and congenial. He is first and foremost a family man and he says’ that his daughter is the best thing that ever happened to him. He also mentioned that he does not want to be the best poker player ever, he just wants to provide for his family.
He still uses his screen name of Money800 when he plays at PokerStars and tries to answer questions when people direct them at him. He said once in awhile, he has to turn his chat off, but that is rare. It seemed people went after him in the tournament that night so they could say they beat the World Champion. It also works both ways. Sometimes it works in his favour and sometimes it doesn't. An example of how he is taking the celebrity status in stride is when we began to play the tournament staff got on the microphone to announce his presence. He waved his hand in the air to acknowledge what was being said. He expected it and it did not bother him. He is a fine example of a World Champion. No matter how great they play poker, it will be hard for any future Champion to be able to fill Chris' gentleman shoes.
Chris won the final hand with a full house, fives full of fours, defeating veteran ring game player Sam Farha's top pair. Sammy Farha got 1.3 million for his second place finish. Chris was an accountant at the time of his win. He now travels the world as a spokesman for various poker related products and plays tournaments when he can. The one thing Chris will never be able to do is use what he did to help him achieve his victory in 2003... being an unknown. 7 3