“World Class players can lay down the toughest hands and play any two cards at any time without fear. Their reads are impeccable,” said Chris Moneymaker. The year 2003 turned out to be a revolutionary one for poker in America and some other parts of the world after Moneymaker became the first person to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event after qualifying at an online poker site!
The little boy who loved to play bridge with Grandma grew up admiring Blackjack with his father. After watching ‘Rounders’, he was hooked on to Texas Hold’em. Living a mundane life, Moneymaker received his master’s degree in accountancy and spent each day between numbers as an accountant, while also serving part-time at a local restaurant.
But as they say, you are always just one click away from becoming a Millionaire. The 27-year-old accountant from Tennessee turned a $39 investment on PokerStars into $2.5 million, inking the most significant win in the poker history that transformed the game over the past decade. “I’ve got so many good things in my life to be thankful for. If I didn’t win the WSOP, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now. I wouldn’t have the family that I have now. There are so many good things that I have in my life, and I’m very thankful for that.”
In April 2003, a couple of weeks after his daughter Ashley was born, Moneymaker entered the $39 satellite on PokerStars, comprising of 18 individuals. He won the event to advance to a $600 satellite which attracted 68 runners and awarded the WSOP Main Event tickets to the top three spots and $8,000 to the 4th place. Moneymaker explained, “I thought $8,000 would go a helluva long way toward digging us out of our financial hole, while a seat at the World Series of Poker would likely get me nowhere past the first day of play. No sense coveting a souvenir-type memory when there was a good chunk of cash at stake.”
At the Main Event, the amateur Moneymaker caught a full house on the river with his 4s 5d, eliminating the eventual runner-up Sammy Farha, who was vying for his second WSOP bracelet at the time. He was ultimately denied the 2003 title after shoving all-in on the flop with top pair while holding Jh Td on a board of J-5-4 against Moneymaker.
“I was a little underestimated because no one knew who I was,” he said, after winning. “If I can win it, anybody can.” And yes, for the millionth time, this is his real name! The legend sits 2nd in Tennessee’s all time money list with over $3.9 million in total live winnings. Moneymaker also grabbed the RUNGOOD Poker Series Big Bounty title in March 2020.
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