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Chris Moneymaker on PokerStars, the Hollywood Poker Open, and November Nine

In 2003, the name of Chris Moneymaker was sewn into the fabric of poker.

It was the impossible dream.

A fairytale good enough to give Disney a run for his money.

The nobody from Nashville, Tennessee took the Tony Montana of poker to the cleaners, and at the same time created $2.5m reasons why everyone in the world should try and play online poker.

Ah, the past.

The glorious past.

For the past 13 years, Moneymaker has made a living that stemmed from that magnificent night in Vegas. But is there more to come? What’s next for the game changer?

On the Hollywood Poker Open

“I am trying to keep busy in the U.S. and do things that make sense to me. The Hollywood Poker Open is in its third season {my second season}. I was working with them in Columbus and I really liked their operation. They came up to me and said they were thinking about starting a tour. Bill Bruce, the Tournament Director, showed me the fees they were going to be charging and the structure, and they gave it a run last year. We grew on every stop, which is a good sign.

“The third season starts next week. I like being partners with people who are easy to work with and they are definitely easy to work with. I will play every single stop. I usually come in a few days before the Main Event and play some cash games and some side events.”

On PokerStars

“It’s a new company now. They have been bought out and when I met with them recently, they told me in so many words that they are moving way from their pro-centric model and more towards a different concept, I guess. That’s the business philosophy they are going with. I am fortunate enough to still be part of the company, and still proud to be a part of the company. I hope they will return to the U.S. and continue to grow.

“I recently got back from the Isle of Man and everyone who was in the office before the sale are there after the sale. The same people as before the sale run it and it’s business as usual. People are blaming the new company for the new changes, but most of these things were probably in the pipeline long before the acquisition.

“The rake changes obviously suck. I can’t sit here and say that I am a Supernova Elite (SNE) grinder. I was Supernova up until Black Friday every single year. I respect the grinders, and it’s a full time job and difficult to do. I have friends who do it and they are devastated right now.

“A few years ago they were kicked out of their country to continue to earn a living and with the new rake rules that’s got tougher now. I have spoken to a lot of friends who are not happy, and the forums have blown up saying they should ban Stars and fire Negreanu, but if you think about it, the rake is still lower than the competition.

“I have been telling people for the past 10 years that poker is a great hobby, a great sport, but if anyone asks me if they should go pro, I always tell them to have a back up plan. It’s cool when you are 23-24 and want to see the world, but as you get older and want to start a family your priorities change.

“It’s not a secure industry if you are a player. You don’t have a voice and poker players will never unite to do something that will make a difference. We can’t even successfully unite in order to lobby our country to change the laws. Poker is an individual sport. By nature we are not going to be organized and have enough support to make a change. The PPA has tried but there is only so much a few can do to help the many.”

On the November Nine

“I said it was hogwash when they first came out with it. Honestly, to me the only person who ever benefited from the concept was Dennis Phillips. A lot of poker players think Dennis Phillips won the Main Event because he did such a good job of marketing himself in that gap. He is the only one who took that six-month break and ran with it.

“I understand the whole point behind it, but I think 1-2 days off to give them a break is enough. To send them off and allow them to get more coaching and change their strategy…if I ever make it again I would be furious that they have the November Nine concept. I have never liked it.”

On the Future

“I am working on a Team Moneymaker concept, but I am not ready to talk about that in depth yet. It’s not going to be anything like IveyPoker or the IveyLeague. It’s going to be more about inter-connecting with me and playing home games with me; winning prizes, and stuff…we haven’t got everything ironed out yet…we have an app we are working on and a website. So with that, the kids, and Fantasy Sports, I don’t have much time for anything else.”



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Lee Davy

Life can be viewed as the sum of the parts or the parts themselves. I believe in the holistic view of life, or the sum. When dealing with individual parts you develop whack-a-mole syndrome; each time you clobber one problem with your hammer another one just pops up.