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Chris Moneymaker

Chris Moneymaker Biography
by Damian M. Moorman, Staff

Chris Moneymaker is one of the most famous names in all of poker. He is the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event Champion. Also, he is credited for the poker boom, which is often referred to as the “Moneymaker Effect”

Moneymaker was born November 21, 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Tennessee. He has since quit his job as an accountant to pursue a career as a poker player and ambassador of the game. He lives with his wife and daughter Ashley, who was born just a few months before the 2003 WSOP.

Moneymaker won his first and only WSOP bracelet at the 2003 WSOP Championship Event. This was at the same time ESPN began utilizing poker cams for viewing pleasure. He won a $10,000 seat for the Main Event after winning a satellite tournament which cost $40 at The 2003 WSOP Main Event, Moneymaker’s first live tournament ever, is the tournament credited for the start of poker boom.

During the 2003 WSOP Main Event, Moneymaker pulled off the infamous all-in bluff with “King high” against Sammy Farha, the eventual runner up. This particular hand is known as the highlight of the tournament and referred to by many as one of the greatest bluffs in poker history. Norman Chad, an ESPN commentator, called Moneymaker’s all-in move “the bluff of the century.”

“Moneymaker”, a name perfect for poker, is Chris’ real last name. He is not shy to use his name to his advantage, as he is now a celebrity spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment and Poker Stars. Moneymaker has found consistent financial success off the table, with projects such as his autobiography, Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker, which was released in March of 2005. Moneymaker’s book, which has sold over 40,000 copies, has been received favorably from the poker community.

The downfall to all of his success is the public criticism that Moneymaker receives almost daily for his poker ability, or lack thereof. Many online bloggers and critics believe Moneymaker is the most overrated player of all-time. Chris has yet to cash in the Main Event since his win in 2003, and has not won another bracelet at the WSOP. However, Moneymaker has not disappeared completely in the poker world, as he finished 2nd at a World Poker Tour event, which earned him $200,000. Moneymaker still must prove himself to skeptics over and over again at the poker table. Moneymaker’s latest cash at the $10,000 buy-in European Poker Tour Main Event, where he finished 17th place out of 392 of the world’s best players, is a strong argument that he really can play the game.

Whether Chris is a quality poker player or a fluke, he has done more for the game than almost anyone else of his era. His inspirational victory at the 2003 WSOP has catapulted himself to legendary status. Doyle Brunson took poker from the underground games in Texas to the casinos of Las Vegas, but Moneymaker took the game from casinos right into our family rooms.

The “Moneymaker Effect” has lifted the game of poker to incredible new heights producing never-before-seen prize pools and huge fields of players. The poker world has changed forever with the invention of “pocket cams” and the Cinderella story of Chris Moneymaker. With his dark shades, fearless all-in bluff, priceless last name, and boy next door charm, Moneymaker has made a place for himself in poker history.


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