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Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2. 5 Million at the World Series of Poker

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Overview

In 2004 the number of entrants — and the winning pool — at the World Series of Poker tripled, thanks in large part to Chris Moneymaker, an amateur player who came out of nowhere to win the 2003 Series, and prove to newcomers and poker pros alike that anything is possible with a chip and a chair.

Moneymaker was a young accountant from Tennessee who loved to gamble but only took up cards after college. Three years later he was playing a $40 game of online Texas Hold 'Em and won a ...

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Moneymaker

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Overview

In 2004 the number of entrants — and the winning pool — at the World Series of Poker tripled, thanks in large part to Chris Moneymaker, an amateur player who came out of nowhere to win the 2003 Series, and prove to newcomers and poker pros alike that anything is possible with a chip and a chair.

Moneymaker was a young accountant from Tennessee who loved to gamble but only took up cards after college. Three years later he was playing a $40 game of online Texas Hold 'Em and won a coveted seat at the 2003 World Series of Poker. Borrowing money to get to Las Vegas, he entered his first real-time tournament and spent the next four days battling for a top spot at the final table.

Filled with everything from his early gambling ventures to a play-by-play of his major hands at the World Series of Poker, Moneymaker is a gripping, fast-paced story for anyone who has ever dreamed of winning it big.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Moneymaker's improbable 2003 victory at the World Series of Poker (where he was an untested amateur player) has been seen on ESPN's WSOP series as many times as a Seinfeld rerun. Here, with veteran coauthor Paisner, Moneymaker (the publisher insists this is his real name) presents a blow-by-blow, hand-by-hand account of the experience. Unlike James McManus in Positively Fifth Street, Moneymaker eschews analyzing the psychology and milieu of the poker world in favor of his real interest: gambling. The result is a sophisticated deconstruction of the important hands Moneymaker played as the tournament progressed, many already famous among fans of the WSOP. For connoisseurs, this offers an entertaining and insightful insider analysis that will allow them to decide for themselves whether Moneymaker was fabulously lucky or played a skillful game and thus deserved his success. For the uninitiated, the excitement of Moneymaker's progression toward the big prize will be enough to thoroughly engage. Readers also get some surprisingly candid glimpses into a gambler's consciousness-one that reflects the myth of American exceptionalism, the idea that each of us is entitled to make and to break our own rules, and to make our own luck. Agent, Tim Staples. (On sale Mar. 15) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An inexperienced Internet poker fish tangles with the best at Binion's World Series of Poker-and wins big. Our tyro on the hot seat is surnamed Moneymaker, so you might say it was in the cards. Though an amateur by Binion's standards, the author has been drinking and gambling since an early age. He nearly tanked at the University of Tennessee, where his eyes were mainly glued to multiple televisions as he followed his sports betting and amassed a tidy little bundle of debt. He then became involved in online betting and managed to secure himself a seat at Binion's. Moneymaker and coauthor Paisner can get lost in the detail of hands, which tends to throw water on the gathering fire. But their razor-quick prose does a good job of getting us inside Moneymaker's head to explain why he did what he did. Mind you, as this pleasingly feckless character is quick to admit, "there were so many holes and shifts in my tournament strategy that it's probably a stretch to even call it a strategy." It's great fun to watch Moneymaker mature, gathering his cool at the table where the game is Texas Hold 'Em, no fools are suffered, and "over time, the player with the most smarts and guile and intuition and experience, and the biggest balls, is always going to win." (The vernacular is shorthand for courage, as there are dozens of crack women playing.) He learns to read certain tics of the great players, though not enough to avoid some big, blunt hits that teach him about patience, perhaps a player's greatest asset. And he plays well enough to be graced with touches of luck just when they count most. "There is no justice in poker," says Moneymaker, and it's true. But bring some smarts, guile, intuition,experience-and luck-to the table, and it can be as much fun as this firsthand account.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060746759
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

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

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Table of Contents

Day one : morning 1
1 Easy money 9
Day one : early afternoon 25
2 Not-so-easy money 33
Day one : late afternoon 49
3 Poker star 55
Day one : evening 77
4 Do tell 83
Day one : late night 97
Chip leaders : close of play, day one 105
5 Day two 107
Chip leaders : close of play, day two 123
6 Day three 125
Chip leaders : close of play, day three 145
7 Day four 147
Chip leaders : close of play, day four - final table 179
8 Day five 181
Chip leaders : tournament results 201
9 The morning friggin' after 205
App. A CRIB sheet 1 : the relative values of poker hands 227
App. B CRIB sheet 2 : a short course on Texas hold 'em 229
App. C CRIB sheet 3 : the relative values of Texas hold 'em hands 233
App. D CRIB sheet 4 : the probability of key opening hands 235
App. E CRIB sheet 5 : a glossary of poker terms 237
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First Chapter

Moneymaker
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 ...

Moneymaker
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.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Wow

    Great book if u undestand poker his story is almost unbelievable

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    A fantastically interesting read!

    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.

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    Posted December 30, 2011

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    Posted August 4, 2013

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    Posted November 12, 2009

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