One month ago, Chris Moneymaker shocked the poker community when he decided to leave PokerStars after 17 years. The legendary 2003 WSOP Main Event champion isn’t retiring from poker, however. Instead, he found a new opportunity within the poker industry at Americas Cardroom, which he discussed with Poker.org.
Listen to Poker.org’s exclusive interview with 2003 WSOP champ Chris Moneymaker:
Following his decision to bolt from the world’s largest poker site, the champ sought a new opportunity. He wanted to continue working in the poker industry, and his options were plentiful. Promoting the game comes naturally to one of poker’s top ambassadors.
But Moneymaker wants to stay closer to home in Mississippi, and would like to avoid traveling all around the world for work. So, he found an opportunity to promote a poker site that is available in the United States, unlike PokerStars.
“I’m 45 years old, I’ve got three kids, I can’t not work,” Moneymaker, a former accountant said in an interview with Poker.org. “But I’m not qualified for anything anymore. I couldn’t do your taxes as good as H&R Block could. My only qualification at this point in life is, ‘do you want fries with that?'”
Chris Moneymaker On His Decision to Join Americas Cardroom
You won’t be greeted by Chris Moneymaker at your local McDonald’s any time soon. The Poker Hall of Famer, instead, is joining Americas Cardroom, a U.S.-facing poker site that offers Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, and has some familiar faces on board, such as vloggers Ryan Depaulo and Jeff Boski. As of February 3, he becomes the face of the poker site, a responsibility he’s excited to tackle.
Moneymaker weighed other career options following his departure from PokerStars. He even considered opening a card room in Texas, and he still might do that someday. But, as he said, “in the meantime, as I’m going through this process, I’m playing online poker, and I’m starting to do pretty well,” and then he connected with Phil Nagy, the CEO of Winning Poker Network, which owns ACR.
“Somehow we started a conversation,” he said of his new boss. “I heard what (ACR) was doing, and I heard all the improvements they’ve been making to the site and how they’re fighting bots. And basically to me it seemed like PokerStars did back in 2004, 2005. They’re really trying to grow the game.”
Moneymaker praised the outspoken Nagy, and he’s clearly appreciative of the opportunity. He could have signed on for another year with PokerStars and essentially been paid to do very little. But he liked what Nagy sold him, and he’s excited to move forward with a new patch on his clothes.
Moneymaker on the COVID-19 Pandemic
Chris Moneymaker is taking the coronavirus seriously and has avoided playing live poker since March. His new role with ACR provides an opportunity he couldn’t get from PokerStars without traveling: playing online at the poker site he represents.
“I don’t know when COVID is gonna go away,” Moneymaker said. “We don’t know what this virus is gonna hold for us. We’re hoping this year is going to be better as far as travel and getting out and being able to do things. But they’re having so many strains and all this other stuff come out, you just never know when it’s going to be.”
Living in Mississippi, hundreds of miles away from New Jersey where PokerStars is available, made it difficult for Moneymaker to play on the poker site he was paid to promote. He’d already been playing on ACR and enjoys the site, so naturally it was a perfect fit.
Moneymaker can now stay home with his family and play online poker at the site he works for. No more constant traveling to the Northeast, leaving his family behind for work.
“I could be locked up in my house for another six months or a year,” Moneymaker says. “I want to be able to play poker and be proud of being able to play and support the site that I’m playing on, and that was ACR.”
Americas Cardroom is part of the Winning Poker Network. The poker site is currently wrapping up a massive Venom poker tournament, which guaranteed an unthinkable $8 million prize pool, a U.S. online poker record.
Moneymaker appeared as a commentator on ACR’s Twitch channel at the Venom final table on Wednesday. It was his first order of business as the newest ambassador for Americas Cardroom.
It may take a bit of time for the poker community to get used to seeing Chris Moneymaker patched up with a logo that isn’t PokerStars. In 2019, Daniel Negreanu left the same poker site after 12 years and it felt strange to many when he began wearing a GGPoker patch.
But all good things must come to an end, and when they do, new opportunities arise. Chris Moneymaker is now the face of Americas Cardroom. If you want to take a shot at beating up on a former world champion on the virtual felt, he’ll be playing regularly on ACR.
“I’ll probably play a whole lot of different things,” the poker champ said when asked where his fans can find him on ACR. “I’ve been playing the $1k’s and the $600’s, playing $25/$50 PLO. And I’ll still be playing that stuff. But I’ll also venture down and cplay some $1/$2 no-limit, and play some $10 tournaments.”
Featured image source: Americas Cardroom