Chris Moneymaker was the subject of a recent Pokerography available exclusively on PokerGO. While everyone knows of Moneymaker’s improbable run to win the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event and the explosion of poker’s popularity that followed, Moneymaker revealed deeply personal information.

“I gave it all away,” he said referring to the money he won. “But in my eyes, it went to my daughter so she was taken care of. I was broke in ’04.”

“I was broke in ’04,” Moneymaker said.
He was the WSOP Main Event Champion, tapped as an ambassador and secretly had nothing to show for it. Behind everything, he went through a divorce and admittedly wasn’t the best husband or father. Sharing that part of his life wasn’t hard for him, “I’m an honest person and try to be open about things even when they are not glamorous,” he said.

Moneymaker’s share of the $2.5 million first-place prize came down to $800,000 after taxes, action sold and expenses. He sold 50% of his action to his father and friend before he went to Vegas because he was in a situation where needed cash.

Chris Moneymaker sold half his action before flying to Las Vegas.
“Some people are just born with a gambling gene,” Moneymaker said. His father was a gambler and poker player, which had a huge influence on his life.

Moneymaker’s win came with a PokerStars endorsement deal, where the company wanted him to travel and play poker full time. The situation created irreconcilable differences in his marriage at the time. “She didn’t want to be with someone that was traveling. She made that abundantly clear in the past,” he said.

Moneymaker’s ex-wife wanted half of his winnings and half of all of his future earnings. It was something he couldn’t agree to, which led to him giving her all of his money at the time, which begged the question, would he do it all over again knowing the results?

“One hundred percent,” Moneymaker said. “I would have been broke anyways if I stayed with my ex. I am making better life choices and am more responsible than I was in my previous life.”

“My story gave hope to everybody else, if I can do it then anyone can do it,” Moneymaker said. “Again, it’s uncomprehendable the things that had to line up for me to be sitting here today. Things happen for weird reasons, I don’t know why they happen, but I’m fortunate and glad they happened to me.” 

Watch the entire Chris Moneymaker episode of Pokerography exclusively on PokerGO.