Twenty years ago, Chris Moneymaker turned his $86 PokerStars online satellite ticket to $2.5 Million after winning the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. This resulted in a massive poker boom which is known worldwide as the “Moneymaker Effect”.
Shortly after Moneymaker’s welcome speech at the 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event, Somuchpoker was able to grab a quick interview with the champ.
SMP: How has your life changed since winning in 2003?
Moneymaker: Wow, everything about it changed. I said I was gonna go back to work and nothing was gonna change but that just wasn’t the case. I couldn’t help it. It was an immovable force that I was gonna be playing poker, traveling around the world playing poker instead of being an accountant. Everything about my life is completely different pre-2003. I tried to keep it the same for 8 months but I was making more doing appearances on two weekends than I was in a year at my job. It didn’t make sense to continue. Eight months after winning, I stopped working. That was 2004.
SMP: Do you continue to play more online or have since transitioned to being a live game player?
Moneymaker: It’s always been a mix for me. During Black Friday and covid, I played more online but traditionally it has always been a mix. I like keeping the balance even though both are different so I can remain fresh in both.
SMP: Since the boom which is largely due to your 2003 victory, it also change the landscape of the online world. How did you adjust?
Moneymaker: Ya it’s crazy coz I remember when I won, the biggest game online was $5-$10 Limit. We also had $1-$2 No Limit. The biggest tournament was a $200K guarantee. There just weren’t that many people online. Online players were considered “not poker players”. We were considered second class citizens. Like live players are playing chess and online players are playing checkers. Everybody thought that online players were just terrible because poker is a game of sitting and staring at your opponent, engaging with your opponent. So we were very disrespected.
Obviously over the years that has changed drastically. Online players are probably considered better players. But there is definitely a different skill set for live and online.
SMP: You are well known around the world, do you plan to visit Asia, participate in an event or even produce one?
Moneymaker: I’ve actually been to Asia several times, to Macau and Sanya. I plan on coming to the Philippines, I plan on expanding my tour – the Moneymaker Poker Tour. I have some meetings coming up in Manila. That’s pretty soon. We are excited about the opportunities and potentially expand to Asia. There’s a lot of poker happening out there and there’s also a lot of room for growth. I love how Asians approach the game. It’s really considered a mind sport.
SMP: That’s great to hear! Thank you for the time. We look forward to seeing you in Asia!