Where were you five years ago today? I would love to tell you that I was in Benny's Bullpen, soaking up what would become a watershed moment in the history of poker's development. But, alas, I was sick. So, I was sleeping it off in my room in the Four Queens, blissfully unaware that the guy from Tennessee who had all eight of his opponents covered almost 2-to-1 when play began was about to become the poster child for the poker "boom" here in the US.
May 23, 2003 – five years ago today – the poker world changed. Chris Moneymaker turned an online satellite and a dream into $2,500,000 and an industry was born.
What a ride the last five years have been. We've gone from online satellites into the Main Event being the exception, to them being the rule, to them being a difficult, if sometimes impossible, process. It's all part of the evolution of a business and the accompanying "complications" that face any industry when it grows this quickly.
A lot has changed in five years. Online poker rooms that were market leaders at the time, are now out of business, or nothing more than a name 'imprint' that is part of a bigger network of poker sites. Other online poker sites, not even conceived when that 5 fell on the river, making Moneymaker a full house, have since launched and are now market leaders.
It was a strange forty-eight hour window for me back in 2003. Little did I know how much two days would change my life. Two days prior to the final table, my friends and I left early so we could have dinner and watch our new favorite TV show, the World Poker Tour. That night, we watched a tournament from Paris, an episode which included a guy who finished fifth - a guy named Tony G. Later that year, Tony would call me on my cell phone, completely out of the blue, and begin a four year relationship as colleagues at PokerNews that lasts to this day. Editor's Note: Tony is the Chairman of PokerNews
So, what can we look forward to for the tenth anniversary of Moneymaker's win? Will the merry-go-round ride of the last five years speed up, slow down, or stop completely? Take a moment today to think about how much your life has changed over the last five years. I'm sure Chris Moneymaker is out there somewhere thinking about how much his life has changed.