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Joker in the pack WINS the World Series (Read 5818 times)
Five Fingers
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Joker in the pack WINS the World Series
Jun 18th, 2003, 8:27am
 

May 24, 2003  
thetimes.co.uk
By Chris Ayres
 
POKER will never be the same again. The games biggest annual tournament is being stormed by a 27-year-old amateur from Nashville, who earned a seat next to the likes of Scotty The Master Nguyen and Chris Jesus Ferguson through a single $40 bet on the internet.  
 
After play stopped at 3.30am yesterday it will resume with the final nine players this afternoon the newcomer Chris Moneymaker (his real name, according to his driving licence) was still favourite to win the $2.5 million grand prize in the World Series of Poker.  
 
This is beyond words,Moneymaker said outside the poker hall, where a yellow cloud of Marlboro smoke hangs in the air like morning fog. But is he winning through luck or skill? Obviously theres some luck involved because Im here, he laughs, nervously. But these are some of the best players in the world.  
 
Many of these players, who paid $10,000 each for a seat at the World Series, are feeling less than charitable towards him. Moneymaker, a stocky, amiable everyman, used his family computer to practise his techniques in anonymous virtual poker halls, running through hundreds, perhaps thousands, of hands in days. His bets, meanwhile, were relatively small, such as his $40 punt on PokerStars.com that led him to the World Series, which began at noon on Monday.  
 
Hes an internet player, so he doesnt have a clue, spat Ken Lennaard, 32, from Sweden, after flopping out of the tournament in 34th place, winning a mere $35,000. That means he will probably win.  
 
Lennaard, wearing silver tracksuit bottoms, white tennis shoes and a tight black top, says that he has been a professional poker player for six years. Right now, I feel disappointed, he said, staring at the overhead screens, displaying scrolling poker scores as if they were share prices. But Ive got $35,000 to wipe my tears with.  
 
Dan Goldman, 48, vice-president of marketing for PokerStars.com, which is based in Costa Rica, is proud. His company paid $120,000 for 12 seats at the World Series and gave them away in a free online poker game. Another 25 players were given the chance to win seats online, but only if they bet between $40 and $80. Those players included one Chris Moneymaker of Nashville.  
 
Theres obviously a part of the game that is different when youre online, concedes Goldman. You dont get to sit around and have drinks and see what the other players look like. Players can, however, use a live chat facility to talk to other players online during games. Online prizes are huge: the next PokerStars.com jackpot is expected to hit $1 million.  
 
The Binion family still takes a close interest in the World Series. Binion Srs grandson, Benny, 27, spent the tournament pacing back and forth behind the poker tables, occasionally whispering intensely with Scotty Nguyen, 40.
 
His best moment came on Wednesday, when a player bet him $10,000. he immediately upped it to $100,000. Victorious, Nguyen held up his hands to the overhead cameras. This is why they call it NO LIMIT, he bellowed. I feel good, baby, good, he said before gladly posing for photographs outside in the Nevada furnace. Holding a shaking Marlboro with a bandaged finger, he said: Right now, I feel invincible.  

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Five Fingers
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Pure, blind Vegas luck!
Reply #1 - Jun 18th, 2003, 8:28am
 
May 24 2003
By Chris Ayres and Peter Stevenson  
thetimes.co.uk
 
THE 3am game that put Chris Moneymaker into the finals was more Hollywood than Las Vegas. He started off confident, bet enough money to buy a family home, wavered, thought he had lost everything, then won through a stroke of pure, blind luck.  
 
It started with the kind of hand that poker players dream about: an Ace and a Queen. He raised the bet by $60,000. Immediately, seven of the nine other players folded. When the five cards on the table were turned, all he needed was another Queen or Ace for a high-value pair.  
 
Two, however, stayed in the game: Phil Ivy and Jason Lester. They matched Moneymakers $60,000. Three cards were turned over by the dealer. They were a Queen, a six and another Queen. Moneymaker now had three Queens, a devastating combination.  
 
The six and one of the Queens, however, were spades, meaning that if either of his opponents had a spade-heavy hand, they could get a flush, beating his three of a kind.  
 
Moneymaker bet another $100,000. Lester folded, but Ivy matched it. Another flop turned up a nine, but not a spade. The next card had to be a spade to give Ivy any change of winning, so Moneymaker bet $200,000. Ivy, even more confident, bet all his chips: $460,000.  
 
Everyone, apart from Moneymaker, assumed Ivy had a Queen, but Moneymaker, the real holder of the Queen, knew better. Then came the shock.  
 
Ivy showed his cards: two nines, making the nine on the table a hugely valuable asset. With his three nines and the two Queens on the table, he had a full house, beating Moneymaker. Then one more card flopped: an ace. Pure, blind, vintage Las Vegas luck.  
 
Moneymaker had three Queens and two Aces, and only four cards in the pack could have done it. So he got the $750,000 on the table and a place in the final.
 
 
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Five Fingers
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Joker in the pack WINS the World Series
Reply #2 - Jun 18th, 2003, 8:28am
 

 
Internet player wins World Series of Poker
Las Vegas
 
It was only fitting that an accountant named Moneymaker would put down $40 (U.S.) and ultimately walk away with $2.5 million and the title of champion Saturday in the 34th annual World Series of Poker.
 
Known to his friends as "Money," Chris Moneymaker, 27, also became the first person to win the prestigious tournament by qualifying on the Internet.
 
"I got lucky along the way," Mr. Moneymaker said. "I bluffed a lot during this tournament, but somehow I got away with it."
 
Players and experts said his win will revolutionize poker, solidifying the merger of the Internet and big-name casinos and boosting the game's popularity.
 
"This is the sonic boom of poker," said Nolan Dalla, media director for the World Series of Poker. "This means anyone in their home can become a poker player."
 
Amid cheers of "Go, Money," the Spring Hill, Tenn., resident faced off against Ihsan (Sam) Farha in a final round that began Friday afternoon and ended early Saturday at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino.
 
After seven other players had been eliminated, $2.5 million in cash was placed on the green-felt table and the final hands were dealt. Mr. Moneymaker, with his metallic wraparound shades, clutched a small crystal in his hand for good luck. Mr. Farha of Houston had an unlit cigarette in one hand and a tiger figurine by his side.
 
The game was No-Limit Texas Hold'em, in which the players are dealt two cards each and share up to five additional cards that lie face up on the table.
 
Moneymaker drew a five and a four to Farha's jack and ten.
 
After the dealer laid out a jack, a four and a five on the table, Moneymaker stood holding two pairs to Mr. Farha's pair of jacks.
 
Without knowing Moneymaker's cards, Mr. Farha wagered it all more than $1 million in chips.
 
Mr. Moneymaker matched the bet and watched the dealer draw the final shared cards, an eight and a five.
 
The cards gave him a full house (three fives and two fours) and the victory. He threw up his fist and hugged his father, Mike Moneymaker.
 
"I saw the four-five come up and I think my heart did a double-take," said the younger Mr. Moneymaker, who said he began playing poker only three years ago.
 
In his first "live" poker tournament, Mr. Moneymaker beat a handful of former World Series of Poker champs, including Dan Harrington, who was at the final table and finished third with $650,000.
 
The tournament began Monday with a record-setting 839 players. A surge in on-line gambling and a rise in the game's popularity drew dozens of unknowns and a 33-per-cent increase in attendance over 2002.
 
For more than five weeks, Binion's had been a hub of excitement as players who could not afford the $10,000 buy in vied for spots in the final by winning side tournaments with entry fees as low as $50. Of the 839 players, only 63 paid the buy-in price.
 
Others, like Mr. Moneymaker, qualified on such sites as ParadisePoker.com, ultimatebet.com and PartyPoker.com.
 
Mr. Moneymaker, a father of a three-month-old girl, was among 37 players sent to the tournament after paying $40 and qualifying at PokerStars.com.
 
Dan Goldman, vice-president of marketing for PokerStars.com, credited the victory to Mr. Moneymaker's natural card sense and experience gained while playing on-line.
 
The other players at the final table were: Amir Vahedi, a professional poker player from Southern California; Tomer Benvenitsi, a Las Vegas resident and expedition tour guide; David Singer, a professional player from Mamaroneck, N.Y.; Jason Lester, Wall Street investor from New York City; Young Pak of Bainbridge, Wash.; and professional gambler David Grey.
 
globetechnology.com
 
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