Chris Moneymaker: Player Profile

The grand story of Chris Moneymaker’s rise to poker stardom is one that has been told many times in the poker world, but still deserves repeating. It was in 2003 when Chris won at an $86 satellite on PokerStars. That win gave him a seat at a larger satellite, where he won the World Series Main Event package. Before he knew it, Chris was on a plane to Las Vegas to play his very first live poker tournament.

Against all odds, Chris made it to the final table of the Main Event and claimed a WSOP bracelet. Chris Moneymaker, a true amateur, won a staggering US$2,500,000 against a table of professional poker veterans. After his Cinderella-story win, poker could never be the same again.

Who is Chris Moneymaker?

Chris Moneymaker was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1976. Chris went to high school in Farragut, Tennessee and later earned an Accounting degree at the University of Tennessee. In university, he was a member of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. Today, Chris owns a house in his hometown, but can often be seen in Las Vegas where he plays at big cash games and tournaments.

The Legendary Win of Chris Moneymaker

When Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 World Series of Poker, it served as the catalyst behind the online poker boom. Chris’ legendary win was legendary for two reasons at the time:

  • One, he was an amateur.
  • Two, he qualified for the WSOP main event online.

Back in 2003, online poker sites were fairly new. Not a lot of people realised that poker could be played through desktop computers from the comfort of their own homes. Back then, poker was mostly associated with brick-and-mortar casinos or seedy underground games.

Chris Moneymaker was not a professional poker player. In fact, he was the furthest from it. He was an accountant by trade. At the time of his big win in 2003, Chris was a comptroller, as well as a part-time employee of a local restaurant. Chris was not the type of guy who was spending 15 hours a day grinding at online poker tables. Instead, he was juggling two jobs and other responsibilities. To the eyes of the poker community – and the world – he was a true poker amateur.

Chris’ lack of professional poker experience showed during his first tables at the 2003 World Series of Poker tournament. He often made mistakes, such as betting and checking out of turn.

In the final heads-up battle, “amateur vs professional” was the prevalent theme of the year’s main event. In one corner was Sam Farha, a professional gambler by trade who had slicked-back hair and an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. In the other corner was Chris Moneymaker, a pudgy accountant with barely any poker experience who sported a cap and sunglasses.

After the best poker hands had been played and the finale came, Chris won the tournament when his 5-4 beat Farha’s J-10 on a board of J-5-4-8-5. The final turn of the card gave Chris a full house (5-5-5-4-4) versus Farha’s two pairs (J-J-5-5).

Chris instantly became a celebrity after the Main Event, as his story of turning US$39 to a whopping US$2,500,000 was heard all around the globe.

After the Legendary Win

After the Main Event win, Chris Moneymaker did a number of television interviews, including an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

PokerStars decided to hammer out a sponsorship deal with Chris after his win. Remember that this was a time where Team Full Tilt and Team Pokerstars Pro didn’t exist. Chris’ PokerStars sponsorship was one of the first of its kind. In addition to his deal with PokerStars, Chris also signed a deal to serve as a celebrity spokesman for Harrah's Entertainment.

Chris began travelling to play in more large poker tournaments. He eventually started his own company, Moneymaker Gaming.

He has yet to capture another gold bracelet at the WSOP, but Chris has cashed in other events. About seven months after the 2003 WSOP Main Event, Chris has his second big score when he finished in second place at the 2004 Bay 101 Shooting Stars event for US$200,000.

Aside from live tournaments, Chris also makes his presence known at top online poker sites. In the 2008 World Championship of Online Poker, Chris finished in 6th place in the $10,300 No-Limit Hold'em event. He earned a total of US$139,000. He also finished in 5th place in the $215 Pot Limit Omaha with ReBuys, which earned him around US$28,000.

To date, Chris Moneymaker was 2 World Poker Tour cashes, 3 European Poker Tour cashes, and 8 WSOP cashes. He now splits his time between his home in Tennessee and Las Vegas, where he does poker commentary and continues play cash games.

Chris Moneymaker Trivia

Here are some curious details about Chris Moneymaker that you may not know about:

  • Chris lost a great deal of weight following his 2003 World Series of Poker win.
  • Chris likes playing a range of sports, especially golf, football, and basketball.
  • Chris wrote an autobiography titled “Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker” which was published in 2005.
  • Chris’ success in 2003 sparked a tidal wave of interest in poker – especially poker at online sites – a phenomenon that has been nicknamed the “Moneymaker Effect”. Chris’ inspiring tale of how an amateur managed to beat hundreds of world-class players to win a huge cash prize enticed millions of people to begin playing online and in card rooms all over the world.

Chris Moneymaker Winnings and Net Worth

The exact numbers for Chris Moneymaker net worth have never officially disclosed his net worth to the public. The Hendon Mob Poker Database puts Chris Moneymaker worth and total live earnings at US$3,609,863.

Chris is currently in first place for the Tennessee USA All Time Money List. His best rank for the All Time Money List was 17th place. He is now in 246th place.

Chris Moneymaker's Notable Career Highlights

Here are Chris Moneymaker’s notable career highlights, starting from his most iconic US$2,500,00 win.

DateEventBuy-in (in USD)PlaceWinnings (in USD)
May 23, '03
World Championship Event 34th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2003
Mar 06, '11
2011 NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship
Mar 05, '04
WPT No-Limit Hold'em Championship 2004 Bay 101 Shooting Star
Sep 07, '08
PokerStars WCOOP 2008 Event No. 5 
Jan 15, '11
Caribbean Adventure Main Event 2011 EPT Caribbean Adventure - Season VII
Aug 11, '09
No-Limit Hold'em Championship - Event 32 2009 World Poker Open
May 03, '10
PokerStars SCOOP 2010 Event No. 5 High
Nov 25, '09
PokerStars Wednesday Quarter Million$300
Mar 16, '14
$1,800 No-Limit Hold'em 2014 Hollywood Poker Open - St. Louis
Apr 30, '10
EPT Grand Final Main Event 2010 EPT Grand Final - Season VI
Sep 12, '08
PokerStars WCOOP 2008 Event No. 16$200
Dec 01, '09
PokerStars Super Tuesday$1,000
Nov 09, '07
PokerStars Nightly Hundred Grand$150
Sep 16, '05
PokerStars WCOOP 2005 Event No. 12$500
Mar 07, '10
2010 NBC National Heads-Up Championship Event

The information above was taken from