Four Unexpected Outcomes from Chris Moneymaker's Historic WSOP Win in 2003
This summer we're celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Chris Moneymaker's 2003 WSOP Main Event victory over Sammy Farha.
Moneymaker's victory is primarily credited for bringing about the poker Bbom and is the reason that most poker tours -- and most websites like this one -- currently exist.
Moneymaker's win brought about some unexpected changes, however, that some fail to link to his historic win. Below are a few of those changes.
1. The Revival of Mixed Games
Some might have viewed the rise of Moneymaker as the death knell to Seven Card Stud as the dominant form of poker in the US but it may have ultimately resulted in the revival of mixed-game poker worldwide.
After Moneymaker's win just about every player that took to the felt wanted to play Texas Hold'em and quickly the numbers of competent players in the game rose. After the initial rush of dead money into Hold'em, the game became much more difficult.
Starting in 2006 pros wanted a high-stakes event that would force the champion to be a great overall player. Thus, the $50,000 HORSE Event was born. As fate would have it, Chip Reese would win the inaugural event.
The $50,000 HORSE Event would spark interest in other pro players and casual players in mixed games. Soon, all the major online poker sites were offering the games of HORSE and that would ultimately evolve into 8-Game and beyond.
Now, the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship is considered the true test of poker ability in the game and is the most prestigious title outside of the Main Event.
2. The Rise of Kevmath
If not for the aftershocks of the poker boom, Kevin Mathers, aka "Kevmath" may never have come into existence.
Yes, Kevin Mathers the human being would still be alive and well and a virtual sponge of knowledge, but who is to say that his knowledge would have been about poker?
How poker would have evolved without Moneymaker's win will never be known nor do we know whether poker would have remained cool enough to keep Kevmath's interest. Even if it had, there is no guarantee that it would have been mainstream enough to garner him the following it has up until now.
Kevmath is now known for his time with TwoPlusTwo, Pokerati and his current role at Bluff Magazine. Had Moneymaker never won, he might still be that guy that lives in his mom's house in Syracuse.
3. Black Friday
You just winced didn't you? As much as it would pain us to admit it, Black Friday is a direct result of Moneymaker's win.
If Sam Farha or Phil Ivey had won the 2003 WSOP Main Event the impact on the mainstream world would likely not have been anywhere as dramatic.
Would poker have exploded like it did? Probably not.
The story of Moneymaker is what inspired players to go out and try their fortunes with online poker and helped to bring about the poker boom.
Argue what you will about the World Poker Tour and pocket cams having more influence, but when you ask someone why they took up the game in 2003 and beyond, Moneymaker will be a name you hear most often.
As such, online poker became a multi-billion dollar industry and so lucrative that PokerStars, Full Tilt, UB and others decided to stay in the US market despite the UIGEA. The money was too good to pass up and it would ultimately backfire on the companies.
4. Poker Becomes Accessible to All
Moneymaker's victory inspired poker players from all walks of life and, with a little prodding, the poker community began to take steps to open up the game to everyone.
Back in 2003, what are the odds that a blind man would have cashed or even played in the Main Event? How about a quadriplegic? How accepted were women in poker rooms in 2003? Also, how common was smoking in poker rooms in 2003?
All of these things began to change when Moneymaker won because the casual poker fan bought into the motto that "anyone can win" at the World Series of Poker and at the game in general.
Major strides have been made in the game to accommodate all players regardless of gender or physical handicap. In addition, smoking rooms are all but extinct in the United States, leading to a healthier environment for the game.
Moneymaker's win did more than bring new players to the game. It changed the industry and the aftershocks of the "Boom" are still being felt today and in ways we never expected.
Moneymaker's win may not have been the biggest win by dollar value in poker history, but as time passes it becomes evident that it may have been the greatest win in poker history.