Moneymaker-esque Story Emerges from Inaugural Moneymaker Poker Tour Stop

Mike Rossi

From May 10-24, the Moneymaker Poker Tour made its inaugural stop at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in West Palm Beach, Florida. Over the course of 21 events, the stop catered to 2,677 entrants and awarded $1,416,840 in prize money.

The first stop for the new poker tour created by Chris Moneymaker and Moneymaker Poker Tour Executive Manager Tony Burns also provided plenty of satellite opportunities, including several with an $86 buy-in – the same satellite buy-in amount Moneymaker parlayed into a 2003 WSOP Main Event entry en route to the victory that revolutionized the game.

Among those to claim titles during the series were Raminder Singh, who won Event #16: $186 Moneymaker Mega Stack NLH, and David Shmuel, who won back-to-back tournaments by winning the first-ever Moneymaker Tour trophy in Event #2: $300 H.O.R.S.E, before he claimed another piece of hardware the very next day as he emerged victorious in Event #3: $300 Omaha 8/B.

Is Chris Moneymaker's Win STILL the Biggest WSOP Upset Ever?

Mike Rossi Wins Moneymaker Main Event in Familiar Fashion

The marquee event of the series was the $2,500 Moneymaker Main Event – a five-day tournament with a $500,000 guarantee and a live-streamed final table.

Mike Rossi
Mike Rossi

The Main Event amassed 262 entrants over three starting flights to generate a $589,500 prize pool and was ultimately won by Mike Rossi of Tampa, Florida. Rossi navigated a final table that included reigning GPI Player of the Year Stephen Song and overcame a three-to-one deficit to defeat two-time WPT champion James Carroll in heads-up play.

Rossi multiplied his previous biggest live win by a factor of nearly 20, according to The Hendon Mob. In a story similar to the tour’s namesake, Rossi earned his entry through a $90 online satellite offered on America’s Cardroom, evoking memories of an amateur accountant turning a small investment into a big score.

Another aspect to add to Rossi’s magical win was the fact that it came exactly 20 years to the day since Moneymaker’s Main Event triumph. Inspired by Rossi’s relatable run, Moneymaker and ACR CEO Phil Nagy decided to sweeten Rossi’s experience even further by gifting him a $10,000 WSOP Main Event ticket and a $100,000 Triton London package to extend his extraordinary journey.

Moneymaker Main Event Final Table Results

1Mike Rossi$134,265
2James Carroll$94,456
3Sam Ronalds$60,424
4Stephen Song$36,755
5Albert Rodriguez$28,384
6Joseph Crowley$23,521
7Maksim Lebedev$19,748
8Oliver Berens$16,506
9Dyanna Lopez$13,249

100-Year-Old Eugene Calden Claims a Trophy

Eugene Calden
Eugene Calden

On May 14, Event #5: $500 Moneymaker Mulligan NLH saw 25 players battle it out on the felt for a $10,750 prize pool paid out to the top three finishers.

The event was won by 100-year-old World War II veteran Eugene Calden. The centenarian has numerous live poker results on The Hendon Mob dating back to 2010 when he was but a young 87-year-old player.

The Moneymaker Tour will also be sponsoring Calden into the WSOP Main Event where he is set to become the oldest-ever participant in the World Series of Poker. Calden would surpass Jack Ury who last played in 2010 at the age of 97, and who poker fans may remember for a good-natured slowroll caught on camera during the 2009 WSOP Main Event.

Event #5 Final Table Results

1Eugene Calden$5,160
2Joseph Bartholdi$3,096
3Claude Elharrah$2,064

Zhen Cai Takes Down Moneymaker Kickoff Event

Zhen Cai
Zhen Cai

The series began with the $500 buy-in Moneymaker Kickoff with six starting flights and a $250,000 guaranteed prize pool along with some live-streamed action.

The opening event was won by Zhen Cai, who claimed the trophy and $55,158 following a three-way deal with Marc Levy and Roberto Bendeck. Cai added the five-figure score to his poker résumé which includes a sixth-place finish in the 2019 WSOP Main Event for $1,850,000.

Moneymaker Kickoff Final Table Results

1Zhen Cai$55,158*
2Marc Levy$40,000*
3Roberto Bendeck$40,000*
4Willie Wiggins$21,021
5Skip Mcdonough$15,996
6Roni Zelichonok$12,719
7Thomas Mcdonald$10,528
8Brandon Duvdivani$8,373
9Marco Rodriguez$6,274

Partying Like it's 2003: Chris Moneymaker Deep in WSOP Main Event Again

Moneymaker Poker Tour Winners

DateTournamentEntriesPrize PoolWinnerPrize
13-MayEvent #1: $500 Moneymaker NLH Kickoff Event823$353,890Zhen Cai$55,158
10-MayEvent #2: $300 H.O.R.S.E46$11,500David Shmuel$4,312
11-MayEvent #3: $300 Omaha 8/B53$13,250David Shmuel$4,902
13-MayEvent #4: $500 Moneymaker Second Chance $100 Bounty NLH89$38,270Matthew Wolfson$9,318
14-MayEvent #5: $500 Moneymaker Mulligan NLH25$10,750Eugene Calden$5,160
14-MayEvent #6: $186 Moneymaker Ladies' NLH76$11,400Ruth Comeau$3,376
14-MayEvent #7: $186 Moneymaker Mega Stack NLH68$10,200Kenneth Goff$10,200
15-MayEvent #8: $300 Older Than Moneymaker NLH (47+ Years Old)106$26,500Christopher Brown$7,000
15-MayEvent #9: $300 Younger Than Moneymaker NLH (46 Years Old or Less)26$6,500Justin Matecki$2,925
15-MayEvent #10: $300 Big O79$19,750Donald Maloney$5,252
15-MayEvent #11: $186 Moneymaker Mega Stack NLH68$10,200Craig Pollak$3,112
16-MayEvent #12: $300 Moneymaker Tag Team NLH33$16,500Marcu & Levy$6,765
16-MayEvent #13: $300 Pot Limit Omaha74$18,500Chris Lewis$6,291
16-MayEvent #14: $186 Moneymaker Mega Stack NLH61$9,150Sam Sternfield$3,296
17-MayEvent #15: $1,000 Moneymaker $1k Done in One Day94$81,780Andrew Blake$81,780
17-MayEvent #16: $186 Moneymaker Mega Stack NLH53$7,950Raminder Singh$2,942
24-MayEvent #17: $2,500 Moneymaker Main Event262$589,500Mike Rossi$134,265
18-MayEvent #18: $186 Moneymaker Mega Stack NLH75$11,250Roberto Bendeck$3,827
22-MayEvent #19: $1,500 Moneymaker $500 Bounty NLH25$50,000Albert Klager$11,125
24-MayEvent #20: $286 Moneymaker Multi Flight432$100,000Art Peacock$18,000
24-MayEvent #21: $186 Moneymaker Final Day Madness109$20,000Nathan Hinz$5,082

Next Stop

The next Moneymaker Tour poker stop will be August 17-28 at Florida’s Daytona Beach Racing & Card Clubs. There will be eight trophy events featuring over $500,000 in guaranteed prize pools complete with live streaming.

*Images courtesy of the Moneymaker Tour.

  • From May 10-24 the Moneymaker Poker Tour made its inaugural stop at the Palm Beach Kennel Club in FL.

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