23October2017

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Famous Moments in Poker – Chris Moneymaker wins the WSOP

When Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP the poker world completely changed. The online game had been around for a couple of years and while this had improved the number of people playing the game, it was not until Moneymaker won the WSOP that everybody wanted to give poker a shot. Here, we will look at Chris Moneymaker’s journey to his WSOP win in 2003.

Chris Moneymaker was just a normal guy from Atlanta Georgia, who played poker occasionally. After graduating and receiving his masters’ degree in accounting, he worked as a comptroller. Moneymaker has made it clear that he had no money, and that he entered the qualifier for $39 with just $40 left in his poker account.

Moneymaker won the $39 satellite of 18 players, and that led him to the $615 direct satellite to The Big One. This tournament was played the following weekend, a tournament that Moneymaker won. However, while his entrance fee was paid to the biggest tournament in the world, Moneymaker had no money to get there and no money to stay anywhere either.

He spoke to his father, and a friend who part brought his seat into the tournament, and this gave him enough to travel and stay in Vegas while the tournament was going on. It also gave him a chance to practice his game because Moneymaker had astonishingly never played a live tournament game until he showed up in Vegas. As 839 players sat down to the biggest WSOP of all time there were roughly 50 internet qualifiers, and this was the first time in history where players who had qualified on the internet played at the WSOP.

 

Moneymaker finished the first day on 60k, six times his starting stack and enough to put him in 11th. On the second-day Moneymaker kept the run going. He recalls that he did not have any amazing cards, but he kept playing a solid game and started to build a bit of a stack. However, this started to change when two players joined the table, the infamous Johnny Chan and the lesser known (even though he still had 4 WSOP bracelets) Phil Ivey. Ivey and Moneymaker went head to head in a series of hands, and that dropped his stack from $187k to $109k.

Moneymaker came out as an aggressive player without fear on day three. As he had a few big names at his table, this was made the ESPN table. He was involved in a hand against Chan eliminating him. He then found himself up against Humberto Brenes with 8s, up against Brenes aces. After re-raising Brenes all in on the flop he was called for 120k, which, will not Moneymaker’s entire stack still covered a large percentage. Moneymaker spiked one of the two remaining 8s on the turn to give him the win.

 

As the chip leader, Moneymaker eliminated his earlier rival Ivey into 10th to make the final table. Heads up it was Sammy Farha against Chris Moneymaker. Going into the heads-up game, Farha actually had the lead, but some aggressive play from Moneymaker brought him back into it. The last hand came with Moneymaker flopping two pairs against Farha’s top pair giving him the win. So there it was Moneymaker won the WSOP and a cool cheque of $2.5 million.

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