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"Moneymaker" Review

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AuthorChris Moneymaker with Daniel Paisner
Skill Levelany
ProsVery detailed first-person account of Chris Moneymaker's run to the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event title, including his thoughts during numerous important hands.
ConsMore than you ever wanted to know about his sports gambling losses.

Table of Contents
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1Day One: Morning
91. Easy Money
25Day One: Early Afternoon
332. Not-So-Easy Money
49Day One: Late Afternoon
553. Poker Star
77Day One: Evening
834. Do Tell
97Day One: Late Night
105Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day One
1075. Day Two
123Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day Two
1256. Day Three
145Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day Three
1477. Day Four
163Chip Leaders: Dinner Break, Day Four -- 8:15 P.M.
179Chip Leaders: Close of Play, Day Four -- Final Table
1818. Day Five
201Chip Leaders: Tournament Results
2059. The Morning Friggin' After
227Appendix A: Crib Sheet 1: The Relative Values of Poker Hands
229Appendix B: Crib Sheet 2: A Short Course on Texas Hold 'Em
233Appendix C: Crib Sheet 3: The Relative Values of Texas Hold 'Em Hands
235Appendix D: Crib Sheet 4: The Probability of Key Opening Hands
237Appendix E: Crib Sheet 5: A Glossary of Poker Terms

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Many players got into poker specifically because of Chris Moneymaker's 2003 WSOP Main Event run. It's a story almost too good to be true, and it would make a decent movie. But for now, we'll have to content ourselves with Daniel Paisner's book, Moneymaker, which came out in 2005.

Moneymaker was a degenerate sports gambler who had amassed $50,000 in debt. He didn't really have any disposable income. Although he played cards most of life and played some poker, he only learned Texas Hold 'Em after he had started working full-time and gotten married after college. The guy who taught him, the friend of a cousin of a friend of his, regularly cleaned up at their poker games for a while, but Moneymaker wasn't discouraged.

His family and friends all played a big part in his story, but Moneymaker made his mark at the card table (both virtual and real), where the most exciting parts take place. More details and some corrections1 have come out since the book, but the gist of the unlikely chain of events remains unchanged:

Paisner has written fourteen New York Times best-sellers, so, while Moneymaker is not one of them, it is a well-written account of one of the most amazing chapters in poker history that led to a boom that saw the WSOP Main Event jump from 839 to 8,773 players in three years.

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