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Gaming Guru

 

Moneymaker -- Turning $40 into $2.5 million

24 February 2005

Americans, gamblers in particular, love to invest (or bet) a little to win a lot. The lottery is one example of how they approach this, slot machines might be another. But when it comes to poker, only since the beginning of major poker tournaments have players fantasized about peeling off a couple of twenties and winding up with millions and the adoration of the world.

It's a lofty goal but Chris Moneymaker lived the dream, winning the 2003 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, and inadvertently changing the perception of the game for millions more--nationally and internationally.

With his win and prompted by the success of the World Poker Tour, virtually overnight, television "discovered" that high-stakes tournament play could capture the steady attention (and ratings) of millions more.

Now, two years later comes a well-crafted, colorful, entertaining work about the player, the game and the event, titled Moneymaker (How An Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 Into $2.5 Million At The World Series of Poker), co-authored by Chris Moneymaker and Daniel Paisner (240 pages, hardbound, $23.95).

Moneymaker's book has an honest tone to it. He wasn't some straight guy from the Tennessee sticks suddenly discovering gambling, poker in particular and getting lucky at it like in some Hollywood movie. He'd bet sports, 21, delved into online poker but liked the live games more. He liked the action.

His observations, fears, how he built confidence, was awed by poker's biggest names and legends and how he got to the biggest game of them all make for a good portion of this book. Interestingly, what Moneymaker experienced may help future hopefuls in the World Series of Poker or any other major tournament. Like skydiving, -the first time is tougher than any other.

Perhaps it's the trait of all high stakes poker players--phenomenal memory‹as Moneymaker, with the assistance of his co-author, recreates a monumental number of hands including how much was bet, by whom, in what position, with analysis of whether the hand was played properly and who won.

You can almost hear Moneymaker's guts churning, day by day, as he fights to survive, to catch the leaders and pursue a dream. He was 26th on Day 2, sixth on Day 3 and by the end of Day 4, he was the chip leader. The total prize pool was nearly $8 million.

Moneymaker's grown up a lot more in the past two years. His values have changed and his outlook on life is a bit different.

This book is biographical, but instructional and historical in its own way. A difficult balance to be sure, but the co-authors carry it off well.

It's an interesting read--especially for those who aspire to reach that final table and wonder what life will be like if they do win it all one day.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com