On weekdays Moneymaker would crunch numbers, on weekends he worked at a local restaurant. One day, alone at home in his basement, Moneymaker entered a $39 online poker tournament. It was his first ever. In that moment, in that single, solitary, decision to retire to his basement and play an online multi-table tournament, Chris Moneymaker would change his life and revolutionize the game forever. Low and behold, he won the event and qualified for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. He soon found himself sitting across the table from the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, who between them have 30 gold bracelets. This wasn’t his basement, no; this was the big time; bright lights, television cameras, huge purse and the lustre of being crowned the best poker player on the planet. The year was 2003, 838 runners ponied up the $10,000 entry fee and three days later, Moneymaker found himself heads-up against the smooth-talking hustler Sammy Farha, who always played with an unlit cigarette dangling from his mouth. Although Farha was short on chips, those in the know still had him as a huge favorite to win. As fate would have it, Farha failed to call a massive bluff by Moneymaker, a hand that would have given Farha the chip lead, and a few hands later it was all over, Chris’s full house bettering Sammy’s pair of Jacks. Initial investment - $39. Total winnings - $2.5 million! How’s that for a parlay?  Poker stardom, television commercials, sponsors, books would follow. “If he can do it so can I,” others said to themselves. The following year there were more than 2500 players in the World Championship, at the WSOP, the main event attracted. The year after that 6000 people anted up and in 2006 an astounding 9600 entered. It’s become known as the “Moneymaker Effect.” The poker boom hit like a ton of bricks; television shows, big online site sponsorships, player signings, endorsement deals, a myriad of book releases. Companies like Poker Stars, Full Tilt and Ultimate Bet became part of mainstream vernacular. There were a litany of strategy articles, poker forums, blogs, and social media platforms like facebook and twitter have certainly swelled with a ton of poker content – all because an accountant from Knoxville was bored one Saturday afternoon.

Susie Isaacs

Back-to-Back WSOP Ladies Champ

Will a senior citizen ever win the main event? Susie Isaacs, ladies legend, says 'No!' Isaacs, who finished 10th in the 1998 main event, believes it's too much of a grind these days.

Max Pescatori

4-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner

This Italian poker ambassador and legend of the game talks about his preparation for the 2016 World Series of Poker. He is coming off a double-bracelet summer last year.

"I can dodge bullets baby!

WSOP History

The 1973 was the first modern World Series of Poker as we know it today. A series of new games was added to the schedule; 7 Card Stud, Razz, Ace to 5 lowball, Deuce to 7 lowball, 5 Card Stud and a few smaller No-Limit Hold’em events, all of which led up to the main event. Organizers were coming off the public relations bonanza that followed Amarillo Slim’s victory the year before, which provided some well-received national attention and spotlight on poker’s world championship.

The Incredible Story of Jamie Gold

Jamie Gold won $12 million for his impressive main event victory at the 2006 World Series of Poker, where he put on a spectacular performance as the overwhelming chip leader. His bluffs were well timed and he managed to secure folds when he wanted them by 'out talking' his opponents. When he had the goods he'd tell the truth and nobody would believe him. In 2006, Jamie Gold was the man!

Did you know?

Phil Hellmuth is the all-time bracelet leader with 14. The 'Poker Brat' has given each bracelet away, to a family member, except for the one he captured in 1989 when he won the World Series of Poker main event. He defeated Johnny Chan heads-up at the tender age of 24, preventing 'The Oriental Express' from winning his 3rd straight world title.

Tidbit: During the television broadcast of the 2002 World Series of Poker, Phil Hellmuth was quoted as saying, “If Robert Varkonyi wins I’ll shave my head.” Hellmuth was suggesting the amateur wasn’t very good.  Well, Varkonyi went on to win the championship and the $2 million first prize. So, during the bracelet presentation a pair of clippers was brought out and Varkonyi played barber on the ‘Poker Brat’s’ head, critics suggesting it was simply a marketing ployvto steal the spotlight.

Chris Moneymaker
Why the Game Exploded!
Christopher Brian Moneymaker grew up in Knoxville and earned his Masters’ Degree from the University of Tennessee. He became an accountant and settled into a ‘normal’ life with his wife Christina and daughter Ashley.  Just an ordinary guy, with an ordinary job and a regular life, but because of him the game of poker, and all online gaming for that matter, EXPLODED! 

WSOP Superstars

WSOP Media Director Nolan Dalla

Dalla talks about WSOP legends like Negreanu, Hellmuth, Brunson, Esfandiari & more.

Tom McEvoy

Champion, First Ever Binions Cup

The 1983 world champ talks about how good it felt to win the inaugural Binions Cup, a tournament featuring past champions at the World Series of Poker.

High Roller Radio

"If luck weren't involved, I'd win everyone!"

- Phil Hellmuth

 His victory celebration was short lived however, when a Nevada Judge ordered half of the $12 million be kept in the vault at Harrah’s. Why? Well, the ruling came after a dispute involving Gold and a friend of his in show business. Seems Gold, a talent agent by trade and a guy with a deep 'rolodex' of connections in Los Angeles, was approached by the online poker company Bodog to attract celebrities to wear its gear during the main event. Gold, set to receive a free entry into the world championship in return, accepted the proposal but decided to delegate the task to his friend, agreeing to split any winnings with him. Sure enough, Gold went on the run of a lifetime, chip leader for the last 3 or 4 days of the tournament, and won the whole damn thing. That’s when his problems began. His friend, excited by Gold’s massive chip stack, and anxious to get his hands on some of the prize purse, began calling Gold before and after each day’s play, reminding him of their deal. Trying to concentrate on just playing, Gold left a voicemail telling him ‘not to worry, that the deal was good' and just let him focus on playing in the meantime. It turned out to be the $6 million voicemail. The two settled out of court for an undisclosed amount, but industry insiders say Gold’s friend got half the money. It’s not clear if the two are friends anymore. By the way, Gold’s friend was only able to attract a few minor celebrities to wear Bodog gear, the biggest was Dax Sheppard, who played Shaggy in the movie Scooby Doo.

All-Time WSOP Bracelet Leader

Phil Hellmuth - 14!
(Here is a list of Phil Hellmuth’s WSOP gold bracelets)
•  1989, $10,000 World Championship, $755,000
•  1992, $5,000 Limit Hold'em, $168,000
•  1993, $1,500 No Limit Hold'em, $161,400
•  1993, $2,500 No Limit Hold'em, $173,000
•  1993, $5,000 Limit Hold'em, $138,000
•  1997, $3,000 Pot Limit Hold'em, $204,000
•  2001, $2,000 No Limit Hold'em, $316,550
•  2003, $2,500 Limit Hold'em, $171,400
•  2003, $3,000 No Limit Hold'em, $410,860
•  2006, $1,000 No Limit Hold'em with rebuys, $631,863
•  2007, $1,500 No Limit Hold'em, $637,254
•  2012, $2,500 Seven-Card Razz, $182,793
•  2012, E€10,450 WSOP-E Main Event, €1,022,376

​• 2015, $10,000 World Championship of RAZZ, $271,105

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