Chris Moneymaker: The’man who changed the poker
Some people have built up a history over the years, gradually becoming a legend in their field, like Bill Gates in computing or Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer. But others have had a very different destiny and have become, overnight, a leading figure in their field. And no one better represents these one-time heroes who have gone on to prosperity forever than Chris Moneymaker, the man who revolutionized poker and made it one of the most played games on the Internet and in the world.
Chris Moneymaker’s story is the one of David against Goliath or of the Little Thumb in the French Cup eliminating a League 1 club in soccer. In other words, the story of a complete stranger who overcame the odds and beat the best in his sport to win the biggest prize in the sport. But the little extra in Moneymaker’s story, which made him a very important man, is that his story changed a lot of codes and triggered what was then called the “Moneymaker effect” or the “poker boom” which is still felt today.
A name for Chris Moneymaker, but a normal life
Unbelievable as it may sound, Chris Moneymaker is his real name, since this one translates as “money maker. Indeed, Chris’ ancestors were gold and silver coin makers and thus chose to modify their name, of Germanic descent, to replace it with this English version and much more descriptive. As if it was written in his destiny that Chris Moneymaker would one day break the counters and win the jackpot under the nose of all the professionals.
Before his great success, Moneymaker was a humble bookkeeper in a Tennessee town, also working part-time at a restaurant in Spring Hill. Between these two jobs, he dedicates much of his free time to playing poker on the Internet. One day, thanks to a few good moves, he managed to win a satellite tournament on the PokerStars website, where the entry fee was $86 and the grand prize was a seat at the World Series of Poker, simply the biggest poker tournament on the planet.
The tournament that changed everything
This tournament took place in 2003, and will have forever marked the spirits since Chris Moneymaker the amateur, qualified for a handful of dollars on the Internet, will succeed in a perfect tournament, accompanied by some daring and superb shots, He eventually made it to the final table and won the tournament and the $2.5 million prize promised to the winner. He was the first online qualifier to win a real tournament of this magnitude, and his unexpected success launched the explosion of Internet poker that led to the popularity of the game as we know it today.
Another dimension for the poker
For Chris, this victory will of course change his life and he will quit his two jobs to devote himself solely to his passion for poker. His success also attracted a lot of sponsors, and he became one of the headliners of the PokerStars Pro Team, which includes the best players in the world. He will also take the opportunity to release a book explaining how he achieved this impossible feat.
The title of this book however, How one amateur turned $40 into $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker, There is an error in the report, as it seems Chris Moneymaker forgot that he paid $86 for his online tournament, not just $40.
Once his career took off, Moneymaker never made as much money as his initial win, but he still managed to make a living from his passion for poker. But if his name will remain in the posterity, it is for the Poker Mania that its incredible story has triggered, and no one knows what poker would be like today if it weren’t for that illustrious stranger, the aptly named Chris Moneymaker.