Chris Moneymaker was very close to skipping the 2021 World Series of Poker entirely, but a last-minute decision to make the trip to Las Vegas appears to be paying off for the 2003 champ.
The 45-year-old Poker Hall of Famer and Americas Cardroom ambassador entered the tournament on day 1F, the last starting flight, and finished with a modest 75,800.
On day 2, Moneymaker was moved to one of PokerGO’s featured tables, and quickly found his stack moving in the right direction, mostly at the expense of a player named Bryan Reyes.
First, he found a double up when his pocket deuces flopped a set and cracked Reyes’ pocket aces. Then he finished Reyes off in a battle of the big stacks to soar up the leaderboard.
Check out the hand below, courtesy of PokerGO.
Moneymaker also got a little lucky, outflopping Ad Kd with his As Qh.
On today’s episode of “Things you love to see”. pic.twitter.com/ZfoKPBPF3I
— Chris Moneymaker (@CMONEYMAKER) November 12, 2021
Moneymaker started day 3 near the top of the leaderboard, and his run continued as the field march towards the money bubble. At one point, he picked up pocket aces again and this time used them to bust Robert Kuhn and climb over the seven-figure mark.
As of publishing, Moneymaker has a top 10 stack.
He also made a deep run in the 2019 main event, finishing in 687th place for $20,200. It was his best cash at the series since 2004, when he finished tenth in a pot-limit Omaha event for $21,000.
This year’s main event winner will take home $8 million, or more than three times the $2.5 million Moneymaker banked in 2003.
Despite the fact that it’s been 18 years since he helped spark the poker boom, Moneymaker has plenty of fans in his corner.
I wasn’t around for the poker boom so if @CMONEYMAKER you can win the main again that would be appreciated.
— Kevin Martin (@KevinRobMartin) November 12, 2021
chris moneymaker is supposedly making noise in the WSOP ME pic.twitter.com/Oz1JuX8Hs6
— Brian Johnson Fantasy (not Financial) Advisor (@btxj) November 12, 2021
Chris MoneyMaker with heaps at a featured table is just so good for poker. Again…. Donating my one time. https://t.co/e4LVDeBSO2
— Rob Gardner (@RobGardnerLive) November 12, 2021
When you think about the idea that Chris Moneymaker wasn’t planning to play the main event, basically registered last minute, and now has the chip lead at over 1 million is amazing
— Mitch Rupert (@Mitch_Rupert) November 12, 2021
Just signed up for Pokergo to watch live WSOP action, Chris Moneymaker is on a heater with lead broke over a million in chips, $15 bucks well spent love watching the main event. 88 year old Doyle brunson still hanging around, love the godfather.
— johnnyvegass (@johnnyvegasss) November 12, 2021
Visit the Card Player 2021 WSOP landing page for more from the annual series, including bracelet winners, tournament recaps, and player interviews.