For even the most casual poker fans, Chris Moneymaker is a household name. He is widely credited with being at the forefront of the poker boom. He has been open about his ups and downs in the business over the past decade, and he is one of the most liked players in the game.
So when Moneymaker began talking to Alex Dreyfus about his Global Poker League ideas, the guy with the famous last name was all too excited to be at the forefront of its launch. The Las Vegas Moneymakers was the first team to be announced for the GPL at the beginning of 2016.
Of course, Moneymaker does not live in Las Vegas, but he chose that city as the team he wanted to represent in the GPL because of its special place in his heart. It is where his life changed forever at the WSOP final table, and it is the center of the live poker world – his live poker world. In essence, the Las Vegas Moneymakers are representative of the entirety of poker, from its most basic level where Moneymaker began to the world of professionals and sponsored pros that is his life today.
He was excited to participate in the inaugural GPL Draft Day, and he picked a team that boasts of players that also represent a wide range of the poker world. Anthony Zinno is tied with only two other players for the most World Poker Tour wins at three, among other accomplishments and accolades. Jonathan Duhamel is a WSOP Main Event champion, Jake Cody is an accomplished pro and family man, and Jonathan Little is an esteemed poker coach, author, and player.
With two wild card picks left to go, Moneymaker plans to make his team one that is not only incredibly competitive and skilled, but one that is fun, friendly, and knows how to have a good time on and off the felt. It feels like the Moneymakers team will be the ones hosting the party and shutting it down when the sun comes up.
PokerUpdate asked Moneymaker himself a few questions about what has transpired thus far and where his team and the GPL are going.
PokerUpdate: What was your plan going into GPL Draft Day?
Moneymaker: I had planned on drafting Zinno first and Little in either the third or fourth round. From there, I was going one of two ways, depending on how my teammates felt – either an underdog approach or a media approach. During the break in the first round, we decided to go media (well-known through the media) and had a plan to select Duhamel or Vanessa Selbst in the second round.
PokerUpdate: Did your selection process go smoothly or did you hit a stumbling block along the way?
Moneymaker: It went rather smoothly. There were so many great players, and I got the two guys I was targeting before the draft, so it was set up nicely the rest of the way.
PokerUpdate: What are your team’s greatest strengths?
Moneymaker: Media and personality. My whole team is filled with GREAT players who are also well-spoken and very nice guys. I have an easy team to root for.
PokerUpdate: Have you already chosen your wild cards? Or are you still considering options? (Any hints about your choices are welcome. Ha.)
Moneymaker: I have chosen my wild cards. My only hint is that they are in the media category I mentioned before.
PokerUpdate: How do you feel about being a team manager?
Moneymaker: I was very excited at the prospect in the beginning, and as the draft got closer, the job got more difficult as there were so many great players all vying to be involved. I really was torn on which way to go, as I think my story plays well for the underdog and wanted to draft a few unknowns. However, I believe that in the first year or two, media is more important to grow the Global Poker League, and after that, I can circle back to my underdog plan.
PokerUpdate: What are your goals as the team’s manager?
Moneymaker: My main goal is to grow the GPL and put my players in the best position to be successful on and off the felt. My team is great and will make my job very easy.
PokerUpdate: Do you feel prepared for the GPL to begin? What are you looking forward to the most?
Moneymaker: For sure, we are ready to go and look most forward to getting into the Cube and playing in front of an audience.
PokerUpdate: What are your hopes for the GPL?
Moneymaker: My biggest hope is that it gains a following and becomes a legitimate sports organization that has a great following.