With a name like Moneymaker (and a best friend named Gamble), how could Chris Moneymaker not have the poker gods on his side when he got to the 2003 World Series of Poker? But, of course – he did. Through a lot of luck, Moneymaker won an online poker tournament, which gave him a ticket to Vegas and a seat at the World Series of Poker where he won the top prize of 2.5 million dollars. It seemed like it was all in the cards for Moneymaker (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun). But that wasn’t necessarily the case.
The first couple of chapters bounce back and forth between the first day of the tournament and a biography of Moneymaker’s life. As with any gambling story, there were the prerequisite boneheaded gambling maneuvers, which cost him dearly. He blew big chunks of money in the backwards thinking of doubling the next bet in hopes of winning back what was lost previously. Couple this with living a nice lifestyle, impending marriage and baby and the loss of his job due to the event of September 11th, and you have a recipe for the “Rocky” of professional poker.
It is a triumphant story as Moneymaker really needed the money and was more than happy to settle for the eight thousand dollar prize from the online tournament. Instead, he conquered longtime professionals on his way to a miraculous win.
Overall, this is a fairly good read. Clocking in at a little over two hundred pages, it’s a short and slightly banal read. There is only so much drama you can build with the detailed breakdown of the hands (and there are many) Moneymaker and his opponents had. It gets a little repetitive towards the end. But if you are poker fanatic or just one who happens to catch the ESPN coverage on a lazy Saturday afternoon, this is a good read.