- Facebook: Chris Moneymaker
- Twitter: @CMONEYMAKER
- Birthdate: 21st November 1975
- Birthplace: Atlanta, Georgia
- Residence: Nashville, Tennessee
- WSOP Bracelets: 1
- Biggest Win: $2.5 million
- Total Winnings: $3,504,522
- Sponsored by: PokerStars
- Sponsor Site Username: Money800
In 2003 an unknown internet qualifier, playing in his first live tournament, won the World Series of Poker World Championship. His initial investment was only $39. His winnings were an amazing $2.5 million. His name was Moneymaker, Chris Brian Moneymaker. And yes, that is his real name, the one given him at birth. The surname name was created by his ancestors from the German Nurmacher.
Chris was a relatively late starter to poker and began playing with his friends when he was twenty-four. Inspired by the movie ‘Rounders’ but, discouraged by the four-hour drive to the nearest casino, Chris began playing online.
Moneymaker really wasn’t in the money before the WSOP tournament, despite holding a master’s degree in accounting. He was doing the books by day and waiting at tables in a restaurant by night while he was expecting his first child. His daughter, Ashley, was born in February, 2003, three months after Moneymaker had won a $39 Pokerstars.com satellite tournament going on to win a $10,000 buy-in to the WSOP main event in the next round.
As money was tight and the flight and hotel was more than Chris could afford, he nearly didn’t go but, help was at hand when his father and a friend lent him some money and in return Chris promised them a share of any winnings he might make. His friend’s name? David Gamble, we talk you through the end of the game below.
Despite coming second in the following year in a World Poker Tour tournament, Chris Moneymaker has never really won that big again although, we’d all be proud of his later big wins. In 2004 Moneymaker came second On the World Poker Tour Shooting Stars winning $200K. In 2008 he finished sixth in Event 5 of the World Championship of Online Poker, taking a massive $139K and during Event sixteen he also did well coming fifth winning $28K.
In the Deep Stack Pot Limit Omaha event of the World Poker Open tournament in July 2009 Moneymaker came first and walked away with nearly $16K. In 2011 Chris came eleventh in the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, winning $130K. It is reported that Chris Moneymaker has banked at least an amazing 3 million dollars, most of that from WSOP.
Chris Moneymaker is, according to him, more motivated by providing for his family than becoming the best poker player in the world. His story inspired millions of online poker players and his book, ‘How An Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 Into $2.5 Million At The World Series Of Poker’ was published in March 2005. A month later he got married to Christina Wren.
Currently he plays with PokerStars online, at the Latin American Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour and the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. Moneymaker remains down to earth despite his fame and claims, ‘If I can do it, anyone can’. He still regularly plays online at PokerStars under his original player name, ‘Money800.’
Chris admits to having had nerves on his first day at the WSOP and, with Johnny Chan on his right and Phil Ivey on his left, who can blame him? In the evening he felt he had been outplayed so he decided to forget the reputations and concentrate on his own game. In doing so, he knocked out Johnny Chan but was lucky too, beating Humberto Brennes with pocket eights against pocket aces when he hit an eight on the turn. His fortune also played a part later when he kept Phil Ivey from the final table by beating Ivey’s full house with a better full house, this time having to wait until the river card before he got the ace he needed.
Several eliminations later, it was just Moneymaker and Sammy Farha left and despite his chip lead, Chris offered to share the main event title and to split the first and second place prize money. Farha declined but, a couple of hands from the end, he may well have wished he’d taken up the proposal. Farha was holding 9♥ Q♠ and had the highest pair after the flop of 9♠ 2♦ 6♠. Moneymaker had 7♥ K♠ and the turn of 8♠ gave him the chance of two outs, a flush or straight and so aggressively he raised the bet. It was a 3♥ on the river and Moneymaker quickly called ‘All in’.
Farha was faced with a tough decision, winning the hand would make him chip leader for the first time but, losing would mean he was out. ‘Must have missed your flush, huh?’ he asked Moneymaker. Farha had guessed right but, behind his mirrored-shades, Moneymaker sat motionless with his hand covering his mouth, giving nothing away. After a further minute of staring at his own reflection in Chris’s glasses, Farha folded and Moneymaker let out a huge of sigh of relief.
Perhaps that hand influenced Farha two hands later. Holding just a 5♦ 4♠, Moneymaker decided to stick around for the flop. Farha had J♥ 10♦ and looked confident with the first flop card being a jack. However, the flop was J♠ 5♠ 4♣ and Moneymaker was in pole-position. Not wanting to give up his high pair for a second time.
Farha went ‘All in’. Slapping the table, Moneymaker called, stood up, threw his shades down and took off his cap. He was frowning through gritted teeth and began pacing at the far end of the table. The turn was an 8♦ and Farha, sitting calmly, though looking like a condemned man, put a cigarette into his mouth. Moneymaker’s cap was back on his head, backwards this time and his hands were squeezing his temples. It was a 5♥ on the river and with a yell Moneymaker ran to his father and hugged him. The Moneymakers and Gamble all had a share of a $2.5 million prize.
Last updated May 2013