Chris Moneymaker professional poker playerIf there is anyone who can turn a meager amount of less than 40 dollars into millions, it is Chris Moneymaker. True to his surname, the poker professional has managed to turn an amount of just $39 (which is almost nothing in poker tournaments) to a whopping $2.5 million, when he won the WSOP championship event in 2003. From being just a comptroller to becoming one of the most popular poker players in the world, Moneymaker has come a long way in the world of professional poker. He is associated with PokerStars and is an active tournament player.

Ordinary Accountant to High-Roller Poker Pro: The Journey

A resident of Nashville, Tennessee, Moneymaker holds a Master’s degree in Accountancy. Life was pretty mundane when he worked as an accountant and in a restaurant to make ends meet. Moneymaker’s journey to the world of poker was a slow yet, calculated one. He enjoyed playing games like bridge and blackjack with his family, but was soon drawn to the excitement that a game like Texas Hold’em generates, after he watched the movie ‘Rounders’.

He began playing online poker at home and registered for a satellite that offered a seat at the 2003 WSOP main event. He spent just $39 as buy-in for the satellite event and went on to beat 18 players, to bag the $10,000 buy-in seat at the main event. His skill earned him a free seat, but he had to seek his father’s and his friend’s help to reach the WSOP venue in Las Vegas.

In the main event, Moneymaker competed with the likes of Johnny Chan, Paul Darden and Howard Lederer. He beat them and many other players to make it to the final table of the main event. The WSOP championship title, which changed his life overnight, was his first ever poker tournament win as a professional. Starting then, Moneymaker has been a regular at the high-roller tables in both the online and offline circuits.

He also participated in the WPT and EPT, where he had two money finishes each. As of October 2012, Moneymaker’s total earnings as a professional poker player stand at $3,391,667.

Foray into Online Poker

Moneymaker’s poker career began online, when he participated in an online satellite for the WSOP main event. He revolutionized the world of poker, according to some, as the first ever player to win the WSOP championship by qualifying online. After the win, Moneymaker quit his job as expected and became the face of PokerStars and Harrah’s Entertainment as well.

After the WSOP win, he has been able to travel extensively and play more of live poker. He did not, in any way, neglect online poker, which at first gave him a chance to play at the big event. Moneymaker continued to be a part of the PokerStars team and participated in a number of online tournaments and events hosted by the site. Besides that, the poker professional also participated in the popular World Championship of Online Poker that PokerStars hosts every year.

In 2008, Moneymaker won close to $175,000 in three separate events of the WCOOP. In 2010, he won over $55,000 in the Pot Limit Omaha event at SCOOP.

One-Hit Wonder?

Poker fans and experts wonder if Chris Moneymaker is a one-hit wonder, who just got lucky to win the WSOP championship. After his 2003 win, Moneymaker managed to win just $21,000 at the $5k pot limit Omaha event in 2004 WSOP, coming in at 10th place. He got close to winning the WPT title when he made it to the final table and almost beat Phil Gordon at the Shooting Stars event in Bay 101 casino in San Jose. In the end, he came second and took home a cash prize of $200,000. Moneymaker is yet to have a comeback win in the WSOP, which many of his admirers are hoping for.