The man responsible for the global poker boom, 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker, was one of two players inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame this week.
Moneymaker and fellow veteran poker pro David Oppenheim were named as the 57th and 58th inductees shortly before the 2019 WSOP Main Event table kicked off on Monday, having been voted in by a panel including the 30 living Poker Hall of Fame members plus 21 media.
It was 16 years ago that the aptly named Moneymaker, an accountant from Tennessee, outlasted a field of 839 players to win the 2003 WSOP Main Event and claim the US$2.5 million first prize. The then 27-year-old had won his seat into the Main Event in a US$86 satellite tournament online, his rags to riches story capturing the imaginations of the general public and creating a wave of popularity for poker in the US and beyond that has maintained to this day.
The WSOP Main Event itself saw the number of entries jump to 2,576 the following year, then 5,619 in 2005 and 8,773 in 2006.
“In the record-setting 50th year of the World Series of Poker, we are reminded how critical Chris Moneymaker has been to influencing recreational players to pursue their dreams and he will certainly be amongst the most important figures of all time,” said Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council member Ty Stewart. “Oppenheim is a pro’s pro and has finally received his long overdue recognition.”