Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker

Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker

by Chris Moneymaker


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In 2003, a young accountant from Tennessee came out of nowhere to win the coveted World Series of Poker tournament. He borrowed money to get to Vegas, entered a live tournament for the first time ever, and spent the next four days battling to the top and making poker history in the process.

From his early gambling forays to a play-by-play of his major hands at the World Series of Poker, Moneymaker proves to newcomers and poker pros alike that anything is possible with a chip and a chair.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060746759
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/28/2006
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 781,453
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.58(d)

About the Author

Chris Moneymaker is the winner of the 2003 World Series of Poker.

Read an Excerpt

How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker

Chapter One

Easy Money

At the gambling table, there are no fathers and sons.
-- Chinese proverb

First card game I ever played was bridge. Took to it pretty quick, to hear my grandmother tell the story. Said I had a real knack for it, and I guess I did, although, to tell the truth, I had a good feeling for any kind of card game. Whatever I was playing, I saw the cards better than most, read my opponents better than most, and knew what was coming better than most. I'll say this: me and cards, we got along.

Bridge was my grandmother's game, and she passed it on to me and my younger brother, Jeff, as soon as we could count and fan out our own cards. We were six or seven years old and struggling to hold and play our hands, but otherwise doing a good job of it with her seventy-year-old friends. Every weekend we'd drive to my grandparents' house on the other side of Knoxville, and before long my grandmother or my grandfather would bring out a deck of cards. I was usually my grandmother's partner, which I took as a high compliment, because in cards, as in most everything else, we Moneymakers liked to win. Hearts, spades, gin, cribbage -- my grandmother taught me a whole bunch of card games, but we kept coming back to bridge. Everything else was what you played until you could get a good game going -- and the good game was only as good as your partner.

My father's games were craps and blackjack, and I took to the latter soon enough, almost by osmosis. Craps was mostly a mystery to me as a kid, but blackjack made a kind of perfect sense; it seemed winnable, doable, even with the edge given the dealer. Dad played blackjack whenever he could -- and talked about it sometimes when he couldn't -- and I learned by watching and listening and later on by playing head-to-head with him in low-stakes or fun-stakes tutorial sessions. I learned the game in theory, and I learned it in practice, and here again it came easy. The nuances of betting would come over time, along with the ability to count and track cards without really counting and tracking cards, and the humility to realize that all this theory wouldn't mean squat at a real table, but I understood the odds and basic betting principles right out of the gate. That's how it was with most card games. Teach me a game and there was a good chance I'd get it in just a couple hands, and it was better than even money that I'd beat you at it before long. I don't set this out to brag -- but hey, like I said, me and cards, we got along just fine.

Dad didn't have a regular neighborhood blackjack game or anything like that, but he found a whole bunch of ways to get himself out to Vegas or Atlantic City or some other casino—most times on someone else's dime. He ran the motor fleet at the University of Tennessee, but back as far as I can remember, he also ran a small travel agency as a sideline, and one of the great benefits to the travel business is the windfall of complimentary or agent-rate trips from cruise lines, resorts, and hotels looking to promote various packages. My father did a lot of cruise-line business, and I recall going on a lot of cruises during our school vacations. Every school break, or just about, we were off on another adventure. We went to Panama City often, and to Orlando, but the cruises stand out. We lived fairly modestly -- my mother was a homemaker for most of my growing up, and we kids wore each other's hand-me-downs, and our house wasn't the biggest or fanciest by any stretch -- but we took full advantage of these vacation deals, and some of my earliest memories were of my father, off in the ship's casino while my brother and I and soon enough our younger sister, Brandy, were skulking around the entrance, scheming our way inside. Security was usually tight on those cruise lines, and I don't think any of us ever made it onto the casino floor except to breeze by a slot machine and pull the handle on the fly, but that seemed to us the ultimate rite of passage. To be welcomed into those casinos, to drink and smoke and gamble—man, that was just the ultimate, and we held it out there as some far-off goal.

As vices go, my family had things pretty much covered, and in such a way that everything seemed to go hand in hand. My mother's family ran a liquor store -- they still do, as a matter of fact, and we've all taken turns helping out at the store over the years -- so I guess you don't have to look too hard to find the source of my lifelong hobbies and extracurricular activities. Kids are drawn to what they know, and, growing up in my household, I knew about cards and gambling and drinking. Taken together, these hobbies can be a dangerous mix, and there were times when I was stupidly determined to take them together and prove it, but each one on its own was mostly manageable, and I mostly managed to keep out of trouble.

For a good, long while anyway.

Outside of those weekend trips to my grandparents' house in Knoxville, and those frequent vacation perks courtesy of my dad's travel agency, our basement was the center of my universe. It was a real magnet for me and my brother and our ever-changing group of friends. It's where I learned to shoot pool and roll dice and play foosball, and to pit my skills against the other neighborhood kids'. I quickly realized that it wasn't enough to merely outshoot, outthink, outroll, or otherwise outplay my opponents ...

How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker
. Copyright © by Chris Moneymaker. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Table of Contents

Day 1: Morning1
1Easy Money9
Day 1: Early Afternoon25
2Not-So-Easy Money33
Day 1: Late Afternoon49
3Poker Star55
Day 1: Evening77
4Do Tell83
Day 1: Late Night97
Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day One105
5Day Two107
Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day Two123
6Day Three125
Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day Three145
7Day Four147
Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day Four-Final Table179
8Day Five181
Chip Leaders: Tournament Results201
9The Morning Friggin' After205
Appendix ACrib Sheet 1: The Relative Values of Poker Hands227
Appendix BCrib Sheet 2: A Short course on Texas Hold 'Em229
Appendix CCrib Sheet 3: The Relative Values of Texas Hold 'Em Hands233
Appendix DCrib Sheet 4: The Probability of Key Opening Hands235
Appendix ECrib Sheet 5: A Glossary of Poker Terms237

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4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book if u undestand poker his story is almost unbelievable
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wheter you like poker or not, this is a great book to read. From going to his time at the WSOP to telling you about his gambling adventures as a pre-teen, he keeps you interested cover to cover. If you do not know Texas Hold'em at all, there is a short guide at the back of the book to help you understand the book and game more.