This isn't a topic we tend to cover on Dan Dan the Art Man's Book Reviews but it’s an interesting book in the respect that it documents how one man single handedly changed the landscape of poker in one foul swoop. Not only did he manage to change the dynamics of poker forever, he also enthused a whole nation with the belief that anything in this world is possible.
In 2003, Chris Moneymaker, a Tennessee resident won a place on the World Series of Poker Event via an Internet qualifying tournament – a qualifying system that had only just been devised. Through this mode of qualification, Chris Moneymaker, a virtual unknown in the poker world, went on to win a World Series Bracelet for the first time in the sport’s history. To this day, it remains the most important moment in poker history. As Moneymaker reveled in the fame and fortune of such a surprising victory against some of the world’s best professionals, the ripple it sent across the sport was phenomenal. For the first time in the sport’s history it was now gaining mainstream coverage, ESPN was once more screening the WSOP and the world of online poker became huge business.
It wasn’t until the 10th anniversary of the so-called ‘Moneymaker Effect’ – the moniker that was pegged on Chris Moneymaker’s WSOP triumph – that a comprehensive book was written about this dynamic shift in poker. Writer Eric Rankin was a journalist for Grantland at the time when he approached his editors about covering the monumental feat. After the article ‘When We Held Kings’ went down with his readership so well, he then went on to find a publishing company, in the form of Huffington Press, to publish his full version of the accounts that happened in 2003.
Not since the rather influential ‘Positively Fifth Street’ by Jim McManus had a book on poker so charmingly told the story of a rags to riches narrative in the way the Raskin captures the seismic shift in the poker world. Raskin enlists the likes of fellow poker luminaries Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivery and Dan Harrington to add their thoughts to the proceedings. They voice their points on the influence that the “Moneymaker Effect” had on the sport, the uprising of online poker, with the catalyst being the first online poker since launched in the late 90s through InterCasino and the belief invested in your average Joe that anything is possible if you pursue your dream.
'The Moneymaker Effect’ epitomizes everything the ‘American Dream’ stands for and ultimately was the catalyst that made poker so popular. Even if you aren’t familiar with the mechanics of poker, or not particularly interested in the sport, Raskin’s detailed account of what happened on that monumental day makes for an enthralling read.
Contributed article by Ethan Moore, a self confessed poker and sports enthusiast.