Chris Moneymaker returns! You didn't think Moneymaker would be without an endorsement deal for very long did you? Chris Moneymaker is sole reason I've even writing this right now and he indirectly influenced Club Poker because nearly every aspect of the online poker boom, both domestically and internationally, has some ink back to Moneymaker -- either direct or indirect. That's why Moneymaker will always be a pitchman for the online gambling industry in one way or another. He got to live out the dream that we all wanted to do when we first caught the poker bug... which was to go out to Vegas, go swimming with sharks, and take down a WSOP championship to win a mountain of cash and become famous when ESPN airs the WSOP Main Event.
Moneymaker definitely earned his keep since he first became an official pitchman for the red spade after winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event, which he qualified online at PokerStars thru a $39 satellite. The rest they say, is history.
I've seen him in more countries than I can count trying to help promote PokerStars.... Asia, South America, Europe... like a good company man, Moneymaker went where PokerStars needed him to go. European Poker Tour. Asia Pacific Poker Tour. Latin America Poker Tour. North America Poker Tour. We used to joke that if PokerStars ever pulled off an Antarctica Poker Tour that Moneymaker would be one of the first sponsored players off the plane.
The international travel on the global poker circuit sounds glorious and exotic until you actually have to do it and zip back and forth all over the planet to promote the red spade in all its glory while dealing with ubiquitous delayed flights, horrible service in overpriced casino eateries in countries that hate gringos and Americans with a passion of a thousand suns.
The worst part about Moneymaker's life on the road as a sponsored pro was that he always had some nimrod wanting to bust him just to say that they took down the champ, and finish off what Sammy Farha could not that fateful night at Benny's Bullpen inside Binion's Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas in May 2003. When you have a mark on your back the size of the Luxor, that can totally suck the fun out of tournament poker because every hand you enter could be the hand where a jagoff plays like an idiot just so they have bragging rights or a good story to tell. Then again, that's one of the many aspects you have to deal with if you ever become a famous poker pro that everyone saw play on television. Everyone's gunning for you, so you gotta roll with the punches like Moneymaker has done for almost two decades. It takes a strong constitution, a breezy personality, but a lot of discipline to be a true pitchman in the gambling world without going completely crazy.
It's a bummer that PokerStars could not figure out a way to keep Moneymaker on the payroll forever, similar to the old Jerry Buss deal when he wanted to pay Magic Johnson $1 million a year (it was a lot at the time back in the late 1980s) to remain with the Lakers in some sort of formal capacity as a brand ambassador. Moneymaker and PokerStars feel like they are a long-lasting combination that people will associate the two for all of eternity like peanut butter and jelly, or Captain and Tennille.
PokerStars is in the past, but the future is all about America's Card Room. Love ACR, or hate it... that's where Moneymaker will be helping promote.
"Working again, retirement was too boring. Fun day!" tweeted Moneymaker, who sat on the sidelines for five weeks before he rejoined the ranks as a sponsored player. I guess ACR made him an offer he couldn't refuse, eh?