Who is Chris Moneymaker? 

Since poker hit the internet, there have been countless big winners – but the really big names come from the big poker tournaments. It is one of the world’s most popular games because it is a combination of skill and luck – often in equal measure. 

All of the players at the table are playing their best poker game in order to take the prize pot at the end. You’ve got to put the time into understanding the game, learning body language, and taking tips from some of the greatest players of all time, like Jamie Gold, Elton Tsang, and Antonio Esfandiari. 

But there is one name in poker that changed how people saw poker, how people played – and how likely they were to have the hope that they could make it too. 

Chris Moneymaker. There is even a phenomenon called the Moneymaker effect, and while the first question might be, what is Moneymaker’s net worth? You might be interested to know just how he got there in the first place. 

Always On The Money

Before Chris Moneymaker became the poster boy for hope when it came to getting a seat at the final table in a tournament, he was an accountant. In an interview, he discusses that Moneymaker wasn’t just a name, that his lineage has men in the family who used to make gold coins

Although, if his last name hadn’t been translated when his family moved to England, it would’ve been Chris Nurmacher. 

Chris Loves Cards

It is important to know that why Chris played wasn’t always about the money. He genuinely just loved to play poker – so much, in fact, that it was part of his routine and took up much of his free time. 

But, because he played for the love of it rather than the cash – it was unlikely (he thought at the time) that it would ever grow into a full-time occupation. 

Even during the tournament and the lead-up, he didn’t consider it possible for his love of poker to be anything more. 

But what makes Chris particularly interesting is that he wanted to lose the second tournament on purpose because a 4th place spot would mean a cash prize. 

During this game, he thought he had entered to win cash, even though he was the chip leader. He wanted to actively take fourth place, as that $8,000 was just too enticing. 

Considering himself not good enough to take a seat at the WSOP tournament because he didn’t want to face all of the world’s best players and lose. At the time, the $8000 would help to pay off debts and bills. 

One of his friends stepped in and convinced him to take the seat and focus on that instead. Little did he know what was in store for him at that time. 


What happens next is something that you would be more likely to see on the big screen or in a TV movie. At the time of Chris Moneymaker’s biggest wins and triumphs, poker rooms were being shut down, and the game was being hit hard. 

As people began to watch and hear about Chris, the Moneymaker effect became apparent. A resurgence of players started to take up poker again, and millions of new players signed up for their favorite casinos. 

Moneymaker had won a seat at the hottest poker table around from an $86 satellite. 

TV coverage changed here too; they began to show the hole cards and let the viewers in on something exciting. Watching the game wasn’t such a mystery, and this meant more people turned in to watch. 

Over the space of a week, Chris had left behind the online players he had played against for so long and found himself facing off with some of the most seasoned professionals in poker. 

Even more unbelievably was that Moneymaker 5 of diamonds and 4 of spades didn’t put him in the best position. But Lady Luck was already smiling down on him.

It was a big bluff, a lot of luck, and some skill that saw Chris Moneymaker take a phenomenal prize of $2.5 million, beating the legendary poker player Sam Farha. 

What is Chris Moneymaker doing now?

All of the years ago, when Chris believed that his love of cards wouldn’t even be anything more than a hobby – boy, was he wrong. After his big win, which was also his first live poker event, Chris had a lot of public attention. He was even on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno! 

The Moneymaker effect will forever be his legacy, as will his stunning win. 

Chris tried to head back to his normal life, and in the end, the poker life was calling his name. He signed a deal with Pokerstars and has remained on the poker circuit for the last decade. Not only has he continued to play and compete, but he is an Ambassador for the Hollywood Poker Open. 

Although 2003 was his biggest win, it is estimated that Moneymaker has accumulated almost $4 million in live poker tournaments.  

What makes Chris Moneymaker different from other top-tier poker players is that he will often be found playing small games and daily events – he plays for the love of the game. He is quoted as saying that the games are more relaxed and the atmosphere is more enjoyable. 

So the answer to ‘who is Chris Moneymaker?’ Is that he was the man who changed the game forever, and the Moneymaker effect will go down in history as one of Poker’s biggest revivals.