There can be no doubt that over the last 17 years, one player’s name has been uttered more than any other. From the initial miraculous heralding of a champion to a constant energy at live festivals and a permanent influence on the game of poker itself, the legend that is Chris Moneymaker has personally defined poker more than any other player in recent times.Other than that butterfly that Ashton Kutcher couldn’t stop going on about, who else can lay claim to having spawned an ‘effect’?Since his epoch-making victory in the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event Chris Moneymaker has been patched up as part of the PokerStars Team Pros.In the years since his ambassadorial reign began, of course, many things have changed in poker. The way the game is played is very different, as is the coverage that surrounds it, the money involved and sponsorships have been hugely influenced by the ‘Moneymaker Effect’. After 17 years of partnership, however, PokerStars and Chris Moneymaker have ended their relationship.It would be easy for some to say that we shouldn’t grieve for what’s been lost, that we should remember the good times and not blame either party but focus on the good that came out of the relationship. But then, maybe they haven’t watched this video and got a speck of dirt in their eyes.  https://twitter.com/PokerStars/status/1344704842569277440It clearly got to Moneymaker as much as his many millions of fans, as he said: “Damn, hit me in the feels.” Earlier, Moneymaker had put out a video that showed his gratitude for the years of partnership.This weekend, Moneymaker put out a jovial post about writing a new CV, saying: “This resume thing is harder than I thought. Employment history — mmmmmm yea. Best skill — lying to people. Off to a solid start.”While Moneymaker’s 2003 Main Event win is easily his most memorable moment, it was always going to be, and yet it hasn’t defined his time at the felt in the last 17 years. While PokerStars let go of other champions from that period of recruitment, Moneymaker always survived the cull and indeed wasn’t dropped, choosing to leave instead, having enjoyed time off from poker employment with his family during the pandemic.Moneymaker’s record at the felt is a phenomenal one. Through hard graft in the build-up to the 2003 WSOP Main Event and a fearless ‘force of nature’ performance in the tournament itself, Moneymaker made himself a million dollars from the price of an expensive takeaway meal or two. It would seem from a conversation with Cards Chat that Moneymaker’s “great opportunity” will come in the poker industry, so bets are probably off for someone such as GGPoker to patch up the former ‘Stars man in no time at all. Moneymaker’s effect on poker was a phenomenon, but it seems unlikely that anything near that level of poker boom could every happen again.What Moneymaker did in 2003 was not just to win the biggest poker tournament in the world from the position of a satellite-playing amateur, it was to kick open what had seemed to recreational players like a locked door. In the years since, the former accountant has made the numbers add up not just for himself but his employers too.Moneymaker has become the perfect ambassador and has forever given players with little experience the genuine hopes that they can win big at poker. It genuinely happens regularly nowadays, to the extent that when this reporter interviewed recreational hopeful Jacob Mulhern taking on established pro Maria Lampropoulos in the MILLIONS Main Event in Nottingham a couple of years ago for a million dollars rather than £650,000 When I asked him if he was going to consider doing a deal that had been offered to him, Mulhern was stoic in turning it down. That was the Moneymaker Effect right there – the glint in his eye, the naïve hope but the dream of the amateur that exists today. It can’t be recreated and won’t be in a week or a month’s time. But it doesn’t need to be.The future of poker is in new players’ hands now, rather than Chris Moneymaker’s, and wherever he hangs his hat next, it won’t be the same as the last 17 years. He’s comfortable with that, and poker needs to be too. The next era could be even more exciting for players who dream of doing what Chris Moneymaker did all those years ago, but his real achievement can be bookended as the 17 years he spent as a PokerStars Team Pro.A surprising start to the year it may be, but it could be a very meaningful one too if Moneymaker does end up wearing a new patch a little like Daniel Negreanu did in 2020.

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Becoming A Poker Pro

In this column we deliver you the latest and most interesting news and gossip from our favourite poker people.
Chris Moneymaker joins ACR

Just a few weeks ago Chris Moneymaker announced his departure from his 17-year long ambassadorship with PokerStars. Moneymaker stated that he left because he wanted to spend more time with his family.
How much family was a reason for his break-up, if it was because he could simply not bring as much value to Stars anymore, or if he found a new partner, was not known at the time.
What we know now is that America’s Card Room just announced that they have signed the man responsible for the “Moneymaker Effect” and the subsequent poker boom all around the world – but mainly in America.
The “Moneymaker Effect” was Chris Moneymaker’s win of the 2003 WSOP Main Event through a satellite qualification which nudged millions of poker players into hitting the tables and as Moneymaker had qualified through PokerStars, also the rise of this platform.
Despite ACR having the occasional drama attached to them and serving the U.S. through an offshore license, this partnership does make a lot of sense.
Chris Moneymaker stands for the American poker dream and in times of regulatory shifting in the States, here is the chance for ACR to really stand out and keep selling that dream.

Joey Ingram spreads rumour of a possible Galfond Challenge with DNegs
While Doug Polk was finalizing his win over Daniel Negreanu in the High Stakes Grudge Match, Joey Ingram tweeted that he heard there might be a Galfond Challenge against DNegs coming up.

I’ve been told that @PhilGalfond would like to play @RealKidPoker in a HU challenge and he is willing to play NL TEXAS HOLD’em instead of PLO….
I think the fans would be all for that 🔥🔥🔥
— Joey Ingram #passion (@Joeingram1) February 3, 2021

Phil Galfond’s wife Farah replied to the tweet, not denying the rumour, and just sarcastically pointing out that her husband seems to feel bored.

Clearly Phil is desperate for action & I can see his line of thinking here as not many ppl are also currently in NV & rolled for these stakes. But I can’t see Daniel reciprocating this interest. Unless his current challenge ends and he feels as bored as Phil apparently does.
— Farah Galfond (@Farah_Galfond) February 3, 2021

Joey writes in the original tweet that this challenge would not be played in PLO, but that Phil would actually switch to Hold’em.
At the time of writing we could not find a reply by either Daniel Negreanu or Phil Galfond confirming or denying this rumour.
Full Tilt Poker gossip by former employee
If you are still thrilled to find out more details about Black Friday and specifically the glory days and demise of Full Tilt Poker, there is a bit of a delicacy for you on the 2+2 Forum.

A former Full Tilt employee has created an “Ask Me Anything” thread, offering to answer any questions people might have about the time Full Tilt Poker was on top of the world and ultimately crashing down.
The member called AnyQuestions21 states in the forum thread that he worked in a senior role for 5 years from 2007 to 2012 and that he is looking forward to answering questions and sharing stories.
AnyQuestions21 shared that Bitar had been in over his head, running the company.“…Bitar incompetent for sure, there was always a feeling he wasnt capable of running anything without his support network around him.”
He also talks about the wasteful ways how Bitar managed money. Weekend parties at mansions, a Michelin cook in the canteen, money was spent everywhere. So when Black Friday hit it should have been no surprise that more money was spent where it should not have been.
If you are interested in stories like this, check out the 2+2 Forum thread.
Muskan Sethi leaves Stars
Another former PokerStars Team Pro has announced their departure from the ambassador team, Indian player Muskan Sethi. The glamorous Sethi tweeted that it was time to turn a page and start a new chapter.

It’s time to turn the page and start the next chapter in my life. Thank you for an exhilarating experience,It was a pleasure working with Team @PokerStars & @PokerStarsIN ❤️ All the best ⭐️ #newbeginnings
— Muskan Sethi (@muskaansethi) January 27, 2021

What that chapter will look like was not mentioned, but the guesses and bets are probably in which poker operator she will pop up next on. It is unlikely to think that she will stop playing poker despite the partially difficult situation in her home country.
Muskan has been making incredible progress in India, improving the image of this game we all love and leaving poker behind does not seem like an option.

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February 4, 2021
Gossip, Rumors & Buzz

Chris Moneymaker was an unemployed poker pro for all of four weeks. The ex-PokerStars ambassador has just announced a new sponsorship deal with Americas Cardroom (ACR).
Chris Money has partnered with Americas Cardroom just a few weeks after ending his contract with PokerStars. (Image: Twitter/ACR)
CardsChat spoke to Moneymaker after his split from PokerStars. He told us that a “great new opportunity” had come his way, but he couldn’t say what it was.
Now we know that opportunity was a partnership with Americas Cardroom. Fueling his decision to represent the US-facing poker site is a desire to stay home and play online.
COVID and Time at Home Lead to Americas Cardroom Deal
COVID-19 restrictions forced Moneymaker to spend more time at home and re-evaluate his position with PokerStars at the end of 2020. International travel was off the menu, which meant online poker became his only real way to play.

However, with prohibitive journey times from his home in Mississippi to states where PokerStars is active (e.g. New Jersey), something had to give. When contract renegotiations came up, Moneymaker felt that it was time to move on.

This change in dynamics coincided with Moneymaker meeting Winning Poker Network (WPN) CEO Phil Nagy. Talks developed and a deal was agreed.

Moneymaker left PokerStars on positive terms. He sees his new deal as the next chapter in his career. As an US-facing poker site, Americas Cardroom gives him the chance to play online without having to travel.
As well as representing ACR in live and online tournaments, Moneymaker will help shape some of the site’s promotions. Having a more hands-on role is something he’s looking forward to.
Chris Moneymaker Starting New Chapters
From the poker community’s perspective, ACR has pulled off an unexpected but welcome coup. Moneymaker has been an ambassador for poker ever since he won the Main Event and remains a bastion of integrity to this day.

I approve of this addition to the team!
— Mark LaPiana (@HeyItsMark275) February 4, 2021

His first order of business was to commentate on the final table of Venom. That event was won by PORKNOMAR who clinched the title and $1,113,330 on February 3.
The 2003 WSOP champion’s latest announcement was a two-parter. In addition to representing Americas Cardroom, Moneymaker’s has a side hustle.
Guaranteed Breaks is a new company offering instant liquidity options within the sports trading card industry. Moneymaker is an investor and the company has just added a new affiliate to its ever-growing network.
With two ventures starting this month, the former PokerStars pro will be busier than ever in 2021.

Written by

Daniel Smyth

Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.

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