PokerStars was built in part on his legend, so it's only fitting that Chris Moneymaker has been on fire since coming to New Jersey for the stateside return of the red spade.
As soon as the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champ arrived in Atlantic City, he got to work. PokerStars Festival New Jersey at Resorts Casino Hotel was on the horizon, but Moneymaker had more pressing matters to attend to on the virtual felt. The New Jersey Championship of Online Poker was underway and Moneymaker hopped into the action.
He navigated his way to the final table of the $350 Sunday Special $75,000 Guaranteed event, where he found himself heads up with Jesse "ROU$EY" Elliot. The two came to an agreement to chop the remaining prize money. Moneymaker walked away with $15,942, about $2,000 less than Elliot got.
Moneymaker was far from done, though. His next deep run came in the $100 Heads-Up Pot-Limit Omaha, where he finished third for $550. His PLO success would continue the very next day in the $50 Six-Max PLO Rebuy, where he got third once again for just over $1,900.
Fresh off of almost $20,000 in cashes, one could say Moneymaker was coming in hot when the festival started on Sunday morning with the $340 PokerStars Cup. The heater continued. He entered the morning flight and promptly bagged a stack. Not done for the day, he transitioned right back into PLO, this time of the hi-low $560 turbo variety. Moneymaker chopped the small event for just under $2,000 and the trophy.
Hopping from event to event has barely left Moneymaker a moment away from the felt, either virtual or real. After busting the PokerStars Cup in 11th place for $720, Moneymaker quickly entered a $1,000 turbo, but busted out after a few hours. Before heading off for dinner and a much-needed break, the 2003 world champ took a breath and shared his initial impressions of the event.
"This is the most unique poker event I've been to," he observed. "It's a really cool venue."
Indeed, the expansive tournament room features a variety of state-of-the-art tables, with color-coded rails that can be changed via remote to help separate different tournaments and direct players. A corner of the room has small casino games set up where players can enter small day-long tournaments for $25. There's a lounge where players can get refreshments and relax and a multimedia station set up where players can stream via Twitch, as Moneymaker did just before playing Day 2 of the PokerStars Cup.
"They also have the StarsFun room," Moneymaker said, referencing a room down the hall where guests can play basketball, golf, darts and other mini-games, some featuring daily contests. "It makes it a lot more enjoyable experience for most players."
Moneymaker sees wrinkles that need to be ironed out, some of which have already been addressed. Already, he said, they adjusted the drink-serving policy to make sure tournament entrants got service free of charge. He also hopes to see stronger tournament turnouts in the future, with bigger marketing efforts to take advantage of what he sees as an event with tons of potential.
"Next spring, we could really, really have something here," he stressed.
As for the rest of the series, Moneymaker is most excited for the $1,100 Main Event, which kicks off with the first of two starting flights Tuesday morning at 11 a.m. local time. But the noted mixed-game enthusiast is also eagerly anticipating the arrival of fellow PokerStars Team Pro Jason Somerville later in the week.
Somerville and the Run It Up crew will be hosting a few events, including an eight-game tournament, over the weekend. Moneymaker is confident his heater will continue when those get going.
"I expect to win one or two of those," he said.
Be sure to complete your PokerNews experience by checking out an overview of our mobile and tablet apps here. Stay on top of the poker world from your phone with our mobile iOS and Android app, or fire up our iPad app on your tablet. You can also update your own chip counts from poker tournaments around the world with MyStack on both Android and iOS.