Born in Atlanta, USA, in 1975, Chris Moneymaker spent his formative years in Tennessee. He graduated from the state university with a master’s degree in accounting and began working in the industry, playing online poker in his spare time. At that stage in his life, he could never have predicted he would go on to become one of the biggest names in the world of professional poker.
Moneymaker’s rise to stardom began in 2003, when he entered a US$39 satellite on PokerStars and won. This gave him a seat in a larger satellite, one that had a World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event package up for grabs. Moneymaker won that too, and was soon heading off to Las Vegas to play in what was to be his first live tournament. Against all odds, he made it to the final table and went on to claim the gold bracelet, winning US$2.5 million in prize money. The rest is history.
Moneymaker’s inspirational story sparked a tidal wave of interest in poker, a phenomenon that’s been nicknamed the ‘Moneymaker Effect’. Inspired by the tale of how an amateur managed to beat hundreds of world-class players and earn a huge cash prize, millions of people began playing online and in card rooms across the globe. For Moneymaker himself, being the man responsible for kick-starting the poker revolution is a title he’s more than lived up to since.
Less than a year after the Main Event, Moneymaker finished second at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Bay 101 Shooting Stars tournament, cashing for US$200,000. In the same year, he also came close to making his second World Series final table when he finished tenth in the US$5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event.
Moneymaker is also a regular face at PokerStars.com European Poker Tour events and has found success there too, earning US$24,480 for a seventeenth place finish at the European Poker Tour (EPT) London in 2007.
In September 2008, Moneymaker made the final table of the US$10,300 No Limit Hold’em event in the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker, taking home US$139,635.
When he’s not busy travelling the world on the poker circuit, Moneymaker spends most of his free time with his family. He also has various business interests and published his autobiography in 2005. When he gets the chance, Moneymaker enjoys playing a range of sports, especially golf, football and basketball.
Regardless of what Moneymaker achieves in the future, he’ll always be remembered for his epic 2003 WSOP victory. It is a legacy he is clearly proud of and one that has given him the kind of life all poker players dream of.