Chris Moneymaker is the name most synonymous with the poker book. In 2003, the accountant from Tennessee opened everyone’s eyes when he turned a $40 online tournament satellite into millions after winning the WSOP Main Event.
Unknown to the poker world prior to his big win, Moneymaker entered the Main Event in 2003 as another dead-money entrant from the pros’ eyes. The first few days of the event saw Chris locking horns with some of the best players in the world. Along the way, Moneymaker battled with such heavyweights as Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, and Sam Farha. Farha actually placed second that year and was at the hands of a huge bluff run by Moneymaker when the two were in heads-up action. After making Farha lay down the winning hand, Moneymaker seemed to gain all the confidence and momentum he needed to win the event.
After his big win, Chris quit his day job as an accountant and began playing tournaments around the world. While doing so, he also started his own company and became a member of Team PokerStars.
A year after his WSOP victory, Moneymaker placed second at the 2004 Shooting Star WPT event for $200,000. He would cash in a few other events here and there over the years that followed, but nothing seemed of much significance to the poker community and many deemed Chris as a one-hit wonder. What many people don’t know though is that Chris actually placed sixth in the 2008 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event held by PokerStars. The event was a whopping $10,300 buy-in and boasted some of the best players around. He would take home over $139,000 for his finish.
Oftentimes questioned about the truthfulness of his last name, Moneymaker is widely considered to be the biggest catalyst to the poker boom. After he won the Main Event in 2003, tournament field sizes grew exponentially over the next few years as more and more amateur players began taking to the felt at the World Series. It was with this occurrence that long-time poker profession Mike Matusow coined the phrase, “Thank God for Chris Moneymaker.”