Chris Moneymaker: "You're never going to find a tournament like this"

Chris Moneymaker WInner Photo
Chris Moneymaker
Posted on: June 12, 2023 08:34 PDT

This is part of a series of content to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker’s historic Main Event win – look out for regular columns from Chris and special features all the way through to the 54th Main Event, which is shaping up to be the biggest of all time.

We're only a few weeks away from the biggest poker tournament on the planet.

The one and only World Series of Poker Main Event runs this year at Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas. It's been 20 years now since I won the thing. but it's still just as special to me today.

Jamie Thomson

I don't usually play much of the series during the summer these days. My kids are out of school, I'm hanging out with them and the wife. I'm a family man, and I like it that way.

That said, I always make it a priority to come out for the Main Event.

Circle the calendars

This is the Superbowl of poker. You're never going to find a tournament like this, ever. The amount of people that come out and put up their $10,000 doesn't happen anywhere else.

People save up, win their buy-in through home games, and skip many other events to play this one. This is the must-play, bucket list event of the year.

There's so much value in the tournament. Everybody who's anybody that plays poker wants to play in this event. It's the only tournament of its kind, and I don't know if it will ever be touched.

The Main Event used to be in May, back when I won it. Now, it's pretty reliable, around July 4th you're planning to play the Main Event.

Recreating the magic

This year, I started my own tour, the Moneymaker Tour. It's an idea I've been tossing around for a while now. In a lot of ways, it's inspired by the magic of the WSOP Main Event.

I wanted to give people the chance to play in tournaments with good structures that gave them the chance to make life-changing money. Whether the buy-in is one of the most comfortable or one of the biggest, we want to give everyone the shot at a really good structure.

Since COVID, there hasn't been a ton of poker tours out there. There are a few choices, but I think there's definitely an opportunity in many markets. I'm trying to bring the tour to some of those underserved markets, to give more people the opportunity to chase this crazy dream that I was able to create 20 years ago.

Michael Rossi Winner's Photo with Chris Moneymaker Michael Rossi Winner's Photo with Chris Moneymaker
Omar Sader

At our inaugural event, an up-and-coming tournament player named Michael Rossi won the Main Event. He won over $100k, we gave him a WSOP Main Event seat, and he also got a Triton London package. His life is changing as we speak. That's exactly what we're trying to do with the tour.

Me vs. Michael Rossi vs. Gene Calden

We're also sending a 100-year-old player from the West Palm Peach area named Gene Calden to play the WSOP Main Event. He won one of our side events at the inaugural Moneymaker Tour and captured a lot of the community's hearts in the process.

We're all three playing the WSOP Main Event as a result of the Moneymaker Tour, that's pretty special. I hope Gene isn't on my left, though, I might just go home if he is. He knocked me out of a tournament or two at our first stop, I don't need that in Vegas too.

Gene Calden Gene Calden

If the three of us were doing a last longer bet, I'd pick Gene all day. I know my style, Gene's style, and Michael's style; and I think I'd pick Gene. I will say, I think I have the best shot at going deep, but Gene grinds these tournaments. He knows how to survive. It's pretty special to have all three of us in the field this year.

I'll see you in Vegas. Watch out for Gene.

The 2023 WSOP Main Event

This year, the WSOP Main Event begins with the first starting flight on July 3rd, 2023, at 12 pm. Players get 60,000 chips and play two-hour levels each day. There are four starting flights, and as usual, it's a freezeout, so no rebuys or re-entries.

Check out the full structure sheet here .