Chris Moneymaker turns 40 years old on Saturday. Was reading around a little about Moneymaker this afternoon and after following a few links learned that one detail from the story of his 2003 WSOP Main Event win has long been misreported. It’s a detail I myself have repeated a few times, I know, both here on the blog and elsewhere.
It has long been passed around that Moneymaker won his $10,000 seat into the WSOP Main Event on PokerStars via a satellite, with the cost of that satellite almost always being referred to as $39. I knew that he didn’t actually win his ME seat in that satellite -- rather, he won entry into a larger satellite, and from there won his seat. But I only just found out that the buy-in for the first one wasn’t $39 -- it was $86.
First, here’s a post by Dan Goldman (former VP of Marketing for PokerStars) on his Braindump v1.0 blog from a couple of years ago in which he originally repeated the $39 figure, then was corrected in a comment by Michael Josem (who currently does PR for PokerStars).
Goldman follows up with a confirmation that Josem is right, the satellite buy-in was $86, despite everyone having repeated $39 for years and years -- including Moneymaker himself!
In Eric Raskin’s oral history of the 2003 WSOP Main Event -- exerpted on Grantland in an article titled “When We Held Kings” -- Moneymaker says that he entered a $39 sit-n-go, winning a seat into a bigger satellite from which he then won his ME seat. In fact, Moneymaker’s autobiography published in 2005 is titled Moneymaker: How an Amateur Poker Player Turned $40 into $2.5 Million at the World Series of Poker, again repeating the incorrect detail (here rounded up) regarding the buy-in.
This page over in the “PokerStars Online Museum” further confirms both the $86 buy-in figure, noting that it “is correct and has been checked against PokerStars’ official tournament records,” as well as that “earlier reports that it was a $39 satellite were mistaken.” The $86 tourney got Moneymaker a seat in a $650 one with 67 players in which there were three ME seats awarded, with Moneymaker getting one.
Trivia, for sure, but perhaps the most interesting part of it is the fact that so many got the detail wrong for so long.