Poker legend

Chris Moneymaker Net Worth

General Overview of Chris Moneymaker

Chris Moneymaker is one of the well-known poker players in the world. As a matter of fact, he is one of the poker players that have made the most remarkable impact in poker industry. Prior to his fame in the world of poker, he worked as an accountant and never played any live poker before then. His grand entrance into poker and his rise to stardom is something that has left many poker enthusiasts in great awe. The story has been repeatedly told but no one has ever gotten tired of the awe-inspiring story of Chris Moneymaker and his debut into the world of poker. In the year 2003, Chris made a grand entrance into poker at the $40 sub-satellite tournament on PokerStars where he won. This event would later land him on a seat at a bigger event where he became the unimagined winner of the World Series of Poker Main Event of 2003. After his sub-satellite win, he boarded the plane to Las Vegas to participate in his first live poker tournament ever. Prior to his participation in WSOP, Chris Moneymaker net worth has not even begun to take shape.


Sitting with veterans and professionals at table and against all odds, Moneymaker made it to the final table at the Main Event and won a huge $2.5 million USD at his first outing at the World Series of Poker. He didn’t just win the grand prize; he also claimed a World Series of Poker bracelet at the same time. Chris Moneymaker, who was an amateur poker player at that time, won a mind blowing $2.5 million USD at a table made up of professional veterans in the poker industry. This winning at the poker tournament propelled Chris Moneymaker net worth and over the year, he has continued to build on the victory, although, little by little. Additionally, this win kicked off a huge boom in the poker industry that is usually referred to as the “Moneymaker Effect”. His Cinderella-kind-of-story victory at the 2003 poker tournament opened a new dimension to the world of poker.



Highlights of Chris Moneymaker Poker Career

  • On the 19th of May, 2003, Moneymaker made his debut into the world of live poker tournament at the World Series of Poker Main Event. He didn’t attend the event to just mark his participation; he walked away with the first prize of $2.5 million USD and a WSOP bracelet to show for it.
  • On the 3rd of March, 2004, he played at the $5,000 World Poker Tour Bay 101 and finished in the 2nd He made a winning of $200,000 USD at the event.
  • 6th of December, 2008 brought in another winning for Chris Moneymaker. He became the winner of the $1,000 APPT No-Limit Hold’em event, where he won the cash prize of $35,841 USD.
  • On 3rd of March, 2011, he finished 2nd at the $25,000 NBC Heads-Up Championship for the prize of $300,000.
  • On the 15th of March, 2014, he participated at the $1,800 No Limit Hold’em Event in St. Louis and won the first place prize of $36,259.


These earnings, as well as others, have all contributed to Chris Moneymaker net worth to a remarkable extent.



Early Life of Chris Moneymaker

Born as Christopher Bryan Moneymaker, this famous professional poker player was born on the 21st of November, 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia. His origin could be traced to the German ancestry. It was reported that his ancestors used to be involved in minting of silver and gold coins long into history. These coins were used as the major currency at that point in time. Suffice to mention that this was the origin of the name, Moneymaker. The family’s surname then was Nurmacher, which, when translated into English means Moneymaker. For his professional poker career, Chris uses the English version of the name. He attended the Farragut High School in Knoxville and proceeded to the University of Tennessee for his higher education. Chris Moneymaker had his post-graduate studies in Accounting at the University of Tennessee. He was a well known member of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity while at the school. After graduating from the school, he began to work as an accountant at a local restaurant.


While growing up, Chris dad, who enjoyed gambling, taught him how to play the game of Blackjack. Chris had repeatedly talked about his love for the game of Blackjack and referred to it as “the gambling gene”. When he began to play at the game, he discovered that it was turning into a sports betting addiction for him as he was very much involved in the game while at the University of Tennessee. At some point, he decided to pull out of the game and concentrate on his studies so he could finish his degree. After he had his degree, Chris got married and got a baby on the way.


He had to cater for his new family, so he had to take up a job as an accountant. He became a travelling accountant. While working as an accountant, Chris Moneymaker still found time to play at poker tables whenever possible. In 2011, Chris lost his job due to the 9/11 tragedy. After the loss of his job, he began to dedicate more time to playing at poker tables. Not long after, he got another job but he still kept playing at the poker tables. With time, he became very skilled at the game and went ahead to win his first WSOP bracelet and a whopping $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker event in 2003. Chris and his family currently live in his house in his hometown. However, he often travels to Las Vegas to play at tournaments and big cash games.



Chris Moneymaker Legendary Win at the 2003 World Series of Poker

While working as an accountant, Moneymaker won a seat to the Main Event of the 2003 World Series of Poker. He won the seat through the $86 satellite tournament at the popular online poker card room, PokerStars. His winning at the WSOP served as the catalyst for the online poker boom. It is important to mention that Chris Moneymaker win was dubbed legendary for two major reasons: First, at the time of his appearance at the World Series of Poker, Chris was a mere amateur at the game. As a matter of fact, the 2003 event was his first ever participation at the WSOP. Secondly, he qualified for the World Series of Poker main event through his participation at the online card room of PokerStars.


In the year 2003, online poker websites were still quite new and not many people have adopted the online poker gaming idea. In fact, not a lot of players know that poker games could be played online through the desktop computer systems and from the comfort of their homes. Poker as it was back then was mainly played at brick and mortar casinos or some squalid underground games.


At the time of his appearance at the online casino platform, Chris was not a professional poker player. In actual fact, he just started out in the game and was still learning the ropes. At this time, he was working as an accountant. When he won the World Series of Poker in 2003, Chris Moneymaker was a comptroller and also worked as a part-time accountant at a local restaurant. He wasn’t one of the poker players that spend 15 long hours toiling at the online poker sites. Moneymaker was busy trying to manage between two jobs and his other responsibilities. He only spent his spare time at the tables. As far as the poker community and the entire world are concerned, Chris Moneymaker was indeed an amateur poker player. And at this time, Chris Moneymaker net worth or bankroll has not begun to accumulate.


His lack of professionalism and experience was very evident at his first ever tables during the World Series of Poker tournament in 2003. He frequently made mistakes at the table and this was at the full glare of participants as well as the camera. Some of his mistakes include checking out and betting out of turn while at the table.


His journey to fame started in April of 2003 when he joined the $86 online tournament at PokerStars website. According to him, he though the online tournament was for cash. He went ahead to reveal that he would not have played at the tournament if he had realized beforehand that the game was a sub-satellite. At this time, he was not familiar with live pokers and didn’t know how to play at the game. While talking about the experience, he said he wasn’t looking forward to win a seat at the World Series of Poker at the next $86 satellite. His goal was to win the $8,000 for the 4th place instead of winning one of the three seats at the Main Event of the World Series of Poker.


Contrary to his expectation and fortunately for him, he won the tournament and got the $10,000 seat at the Main Event. He decided to sell 50% and kept the $5,000. He obviously didn’t believe he would win anything from the event and decided to keep the $5,000 as something to compensate him for when he would be leaving the tournament with no winning. Chris went back to work to put in a notice for one week leave. He took off and travelled to Las Vegas to participate at the tournament. In his mind, he believed he was going to get trodden at the table with no tiny chance of making anything out of the event.


His aim was to make it to Day 2 of the event and maybe, if lady luck smiled at him, he would get to win mini cash of $17,000 down the lane. For him, winning $17,000 would make a world of difference to his financial circumstances at that time. He went through the game and not only made it to Day 2 but went ahead and made it to Day 3. On Day 3, Chris Moneymaker created a big wave when he eliminated Johnny Chan, the famous professional poker player, from the tournament. He continued to apply the appropriate level of aggression at the table and with luck; he consistently knocked out some more seasoned professionals from the table until he got to the final day.


Suffice to reiterate again that Chris Moneymaker was not known prior to this tournament and he had never sat at tables with the big shots he met at the World Series of Poker of 2003. However, right from the first day of the event, his skills were noticed by the professional sports handicapper, Lou Diamond, who referred to Chris as his Dark Horse to win the total tournament.


One of the most memorable hands of Moneymaker was the Heads-up against Sam Farha. At the final heads-up battle of amateur vs. professional, the game got to the climax. On one hand was Sam Farha, a popular professional gambler who had dabbled his way through various tricky gaming situations, with his slicked back hair and unlit cigarette dangling from his lips. On the other was Moneymaker, a plump accountant with little to no experience in poker, featuring his sunglasses and a cap at the table.


When on the river, Chris bluffed ‘all in’ with his King High and Farha folded a pair of 9s, which immediately changed the energy of the game. Moneymaker went ahead to win the World Series of Poker Main Event when his 5 4♠ won against Sam’s J 10♦ on the board of J 5♠ 4♣ 8♦ 5♥. This gave Moneymaker the full house of 5 5♠ 5♥ 4♣ 4♠ compared to Farha’s two pairs of J J♠ 5♠ 5♥ 10♦.


According to Moneymaker, when he was confronted with Sam Farha, all he wanted was to get the game over with and at some point requested to chop the money. Fortunately for him, Farha refused the deal and Chris went ahead to pull his epic bluff. He opined that Farha’s decline was a kind of disrespect to his person, which was what pushed him on into the game. With the best poker hands played and gone under, Chris Moneymaker won the tournament and earned $2.5 million USD and the prestigious WSOP bracelet. This victory instantly shot him to the status of poker superstar in the industry. Suffice to mention again that the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event was the first live poker tournament that he would attend. Christ became a celebrity and the story of how he turned his $40 USD to a huge winning of $2.5 million USD was propagated all across the world.


After his winning, Moneymaker left his job and took up an assignment as a celebrity spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment, the Series owner. He also went ahead to take up the job of celebrity spokesperson for PokerStars. With the sponsorship deal from PokerStars, Moneymaker began to travel to promote the website and its game. He also launched his own organization, Moneymaker Gaming, and started travelling to play at numerous and bigger buy-in tournaments.


He continued to travel across the world, relating his story of how he turned $40 to $2.5 million USD. With this story, the number at the online poker sites and the World Series of Poker significantly grew and it was at this period that poker experienced its biggest boom ever. This boom season was referred to as the “Moneymaker Effect”. With his fame and wealth came a new lifestyle. Unfortunately, his wife was not in agreement with the change in his lifestyle and she filed for a divorce. The couple divorced and Moneymaker gave her the remaining $800,000 from his winning of 2003 as her payoff. The $800K was all that was left of the $2.5 million prize money, leaving nothing for Chris.


In his autobiography titled, “Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player turned $40 into $2.5 million at the World Series of Poker” was published in the year 2005. The autobiography was put together by Eric Raskin, the editor of All in Magazine. Raskin gathered the oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, which detailed input from about 36 top poker professionals who were involved at the event. In the autobiography, Moneymaker didn’t quite remember his buy-in to the sub-satellite event that he won at PokerStars. This led to the error featured in the title of the autobiography, which mentioned that Chris won a $40 satellite instead of the real figure of $86 USD.



The Next Phase after Chris Moneymaker Legendary Win

After the World Series of Poker Main Event of 2003 win, Moneymaker granted a number of interviews on the TV. This included an appearance at the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Known for a platform not to let go of an advantageous situation, PokerStars took advantage of the win and gave Chris a sponsorship deal. Suffice to mention that at this period, Team PokerStars Pro and Team Full Tilt were not in existence. Therefore, Moneymaker’s PokerStars sponsorship deal was unique in its own way. In addition to this, he also signed a deal with Harrah’s Entertainment as their celebrity spokesman.


By this time, Chris was very much involved in travelling across the world to participate in bigger poker tournaments. Since his 2003 win, he is yet to win another World Series of Poker gold bracelet. However, it is essential to mention that he has cashed at other events after the WSOP Main Event. Seven months after his WSOP win, he got his second big win at the 2004 Bay 101 Shooting Stars event where he placed second and won $200,000 USD.


In addition to live tournaments, he has also made appearances at some top online poker sites, which have contributed to Chris Moneymaker net worth. In the year 2008, he participated in the World Championship of Online Poker and finished in the 6th place at the $10,300 No Limit Hold’em event. He made a winning of $139,000 at the event. Moneymaker also went ahead to finish in the 5th place at the $215 Pot Limit Omaha with re-buys. He earned the sum of $28,000 at this event.


So far, Chris Moneymaker has made eight World Series of Poker cashes, three European Poker Tour cashes, and two World Poker Tour cashes. Now, he shuttles between Las Vegas and his home in Tennessee. He plays cash games in Las Vegas and also does poker commentary.


Highlights of Chris Moneymaker Tournament Events and Winnings

The first winning of Chris was his famous WSOP Main Event of 2013. However, he has made some other winnings, albeit, not close to the huge first prize of the WSOP event. Below are some of the notable winnings that have contributed to Chris Moneymaker net worth.


$10,000 Championship Event 34th 2003 World Series of Poker World2003$2,500,000
$25,000 NBC National Heads Up Poker Championship World Poker Tour $5,000 No Limit Hold’Em2011$300,000
Championship 2004 Bay 101 Shooting Star2004$200,000
$10,000 PokerStars WCOOP 2008 Event No. 5 $10,000 Caribbean Adventure Main Event2008$139,635
2011 PokerStar EPT Caribbean Adventure Season VII $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Championship2011$130,000
Event 32 2009 World Poker Open2009$60,110
$1,000 PokerStars SCOOP 2010 Event No. 5 High2010$55,257
$300 PokerStars Wednesday Quarter Million $1,800 No Limit Hold’Em Hollywood Poker Open2009$46,875
St. Louis $14,876 European Poker Tour Grand Final Main Event2014$36,259
2010 PokerStars EPT Grand Final Season VI2010$33,494
No Limit Hold’em PokerStars Championship Main Event2017$32,169
$200 PokerStars WCOOP 2008 Event No. 162008$28,665
$1,000 PokerStars Super Tuesday $2,200 No Limit Hold’Em PokerStars2009$28,462
National Championship Event No. 122017$28,200
$150 PokerStars Nightly Hundred Grand2007$26,584
$500 PokerStars WCOOP 2005 Event No.122005$25,497
$20,000 NBC National Heads-Up Championship Event2010$25,000


The above winnings have all added to the growth of Chris Moneymaker net worth.



Chris Moneymaker Net Worth

The big win of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event contributed immensely to Chris Moneymaker net worth. As a matter of fact, without that winning coming into account, Chris Moneymaker net worth might only be a paltry sum. Chris is an American poker player with origin traceable to German ancestry. He was born in Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. He currently lives in Nashville Tennessee, United States and shuttles between his home and Las Vegas to play poker.


According to, Chris Moneymaker net worth from his total live earnings is $3,764,090. His best live cash so far is $2,500,000 and he occupies the 352nd place in the All Time Money List. He ranks 17th on the All Time Money List Best Rank and 64th on Popularity Ranking. He takes the 2nd position on the Tennessee, USA All Time Money List.


Personal Life of Chris Moneymaker

After the crash of his first marriage, Chris remarried and he lives in Tennessee with his wife. He has continued to play poker and remains an ambassador for the online poker site, PokerStars. Although he has played at many tables, including World Series of Poker, World Poker Tour, and European Poker Tour, Moneymaker has yet to make a big win or anything close to his first WSOP winning. He is still in the game, which means he still has the potential to land another huge win at the tables.



Overview of Chris Moneymaker Poker Career up till Date

In the course of his quick shot to the limelight, Chris has made some significant and notable attempt at the table. In 2003, he made his first appearance at the World Series of Poker Main Event and even though he was an amateur at that time, he made it to the final table. Not only did he make it to the final table, he won the first prize at the event and walked away with the cash prize of $2.5 million USD and a golden bracelet.


The year 2003 was a bitter-sweet year for Chris because that same year, he recorded great losses at tables, which significantly impacted on Chris Moneymaker net worth. In addition to playing poker, Chris also loves playing a wide range of sports, including basketball football, and golf. In the year 2005, he wrote an autobiography, which he titled, Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker. This book was published in the same year.


Moneymaker’s poker success in the year 2003 ignited a big wave in the industry in that year and a lot people began to show more interest in the game. This interest was huge at the online poker websites and this season was nicknamed “Moneymaker Effect”. His awe-inspiring story of how he, as an amateur poker player, managed to win against hundreds of top professional poker players and moved ahead to win the big prize of $2.5 million greatly drew millions of people to the online platform. It was at this period that the online poker sites experienced a big boom that made many poker sites fat.

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