Chris Moneymaker's Win at 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event Sparked Massive Poker Boom

Q: What was the "Moneymaker Effect"?

A: In 2003, a relatively shy accountant from Tennessee won a $86 satellite on Pokerstars.

This accountant, who had the perfect poker name of Chris Moneymaker, was lucky enough to win a package to play in the 2003 World Series of Poker main event in Las Vegas. Moneymaker took some time off from his multiple jobs to jet down to Las Vegas to play in the main event. Sure, he'd probably get destroyed, but at least he'd have some fun.

The 2003 WSOP main event was the first live poker tournament that Chris Moneymaker ever played. Despite the fact that the tournament was loaded with sharks, Chris Moneymaker navigated his way through the field to take down the event and a payday of $2.5 million. The heads-up match was something out of a movie and just added to Moneymaker's image, as he managed to best the stereotypical professional gambler (Sam Farha), complete with an unlit cigarette hanging out of his mouth.


Moneymaker's victory started the "Moneymaker effect". Moneymaker would appear all over the media, even making it to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

The "Moneymaker effect" was millions of people across the world deciding that they wanted to follow in Moneymaker's footsteps and become millionaires via online poker. partypoker would be the biggest beneficiary of the "online poker boom", only to be overtaken by Pokerstars after partypoker was forced to pull out of the US market (Pokerstars would run into many issues after they decided to keep serving the US market, though that is a story for another day).

Millions of people across the world, including countless college students, decided that they wanted to try to follow in Chris Moneymaker's footsteps. This resulted in the "Moneymaker effect", which was millions of people flocking to online poker sites as a result of Moneymaker's win.


Chris Moneymaker changed the game of poker forever with his win, bringing millions of new players into the game.

This is the "Moneymaker effect".

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