The history of poker can be described and adventurous, and at times tumultuous. Playing poker for money has always been an extremely popular game amongst gamblers. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a casino that doesn’t have a poker room. Poker rooms can even be found in states with only limited legalized gambling.
Poker enthusiasts can be found anywhere—college students, retired people, neighbors, professionals, celebrities, just about everyone has played poker at some point! People even enter poker tournaments.
Wyatt Earp played poker, and Wild Bill Hickok died playing the game. Poker always has been, and may always be, an extremely popular game.
In 2008, 22 year old Peter Eastgate made poker history by becoming the youngest person ever to win the World Series of Poker Main Event. He parlayed the $10,000 entry fee into $9,152,416 in first place prize money.
The Poker Boom
But Eastgate is not the man credited with igniting this “poker boom”. In 2003, with the growing audience of televised poker tournaments, the popularity of online poker sites, and a man named Chris Moneymaker (cool last name huh?!), the stars aligned and created a worldwide phenomenon.
The Moneymaker Effect
Chris Moneymaker was an Accountant and amateur poker player from Tennessee who turned a $40 poker satellite on Pokerstars into a $12,000 prize package for the 2003 WSOP main event.
With his entry fee, hotel accommodations, and plane ticket paid for, he made his way to Las Vegas to play in the largest poker tournament in the world. In a Cinderella-like-story, Moneymaker bested the field of 839 entrants, many of whom were professionals.
Chris collected over $2.5 million for his trouble and The Moneymaker Effect was born.