The 2003 World Series of Poker Final Table
The poker world was forever changed on May 24th, 2003, when Chris Moneymaker won the main event in the 34th annual World Series of Poker Championship at Binion's casino in Las Vegas. Prior to the event, Moneymaker had never played in a "live" tournament. Like most of you reading this, he plays his poker exclusively on the internet. As the online poker community knows, there were tournaments abound to qualify for an entry into the WSOP main event. Chris, a 27-year-old, invested $40 in one of the satellites held by PokerStars. Winning that, he continued to dominate up until the final table, where Moneymaker sat down as the chip leader amidst a table of the best poker players in the world.
The final table of nine players were a collection of skill in a variety of poker games, including 1995 WSOP champion, Dan Harrington. The tension at the tables was obviously thick, and accentuated whenever a cell phone would go off somewhere in the crowd, causing the players to look up and realize they were in a jam-packed room, being filmed, playing for the most prestigious title in the world of poker. Not to mention the $2.5 million up for grabs.
The tension broke occasionally, with a quip from the moderator, or from one of the guest speakers, like former WSOP champ of '89 Phil Helmouth Jr., or WSOP champion of '87 and '88 Johnny Chan. The tension wasn't really over until the last cards were dealt when Moneymaker was heads up against Ihsan "Sam" Farha, the 1996 Pot-Limit Omaha Champion. The last cards are dealt, a flop of Jack, Five, Four. Moneymaker bets. Farha goes all-in. Chris calls. Eight on the turn, Five on the river. Farha has JT, giving him two pair. Moneymaker has 54, giving him the winning boat.
The contrasts among the players at that moment was incredible. Farha looks very much the part of a poker player. Cigarette hanging out of his mouth, expensive suit, focused but social at the table. He laughed and talked with his neighbor/opponent, Tomer Benvenitsi, and the moderator during the whole event. Moneymaker, a father and husband who works two jobs in an accounting firm and in a restaurant back in Spring Hill, Tennessee, didn't talk much.
Reflective glasses covered his eyes; a cap shadowed his face. His demeanor seemed calm and reserved for most of the match. Until the end, of course.
|1st -||Chris Moneymaker||$2,500,000|
|2nd -||Ihsan "Sam" Farha||$1,300,000|
|3rd -||Dan Harrington||$650,000|
|4th -||Jason "Jaky" Lester||$440,000|
|6th -||Amir Vahedi||$250,000|
|7th -||Yung Pak||$200,000|
|8th -||David Grey||$160,000|
|9th -||David Singer||$120,000|
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