He may be the best-known poker player in the world. Chris Moneymaker is widely recognized for his 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event victory, where he won $2.5 million from a $39 online poker satellite. That event is credited with launching the online poker and live poker boom in America and around the world. Since that time, he has added another $1 million in live earnings to his credit, as well as more than $400K in online poker earnings as a Team PokerStars Pro. Some of his online tournament victories include the Wednesday Quarter Million and the $75,000 GTD Hyper-Turbo, but he is also a successful cash game player online. His role as a sponsored player was a factor in his decision to ultimately establish residency outside of the United States in order to continue playing online poker.
CardsChat (CC): When did you establish a residence outside the US?
Chris Moneymaker (CM): I set it up in January of this year.
CC: To where did you move?
CM: It's in Canada - Oakville - just outside of Toronto.
CC: Was it a difficult decision?
CM: To be honest, PokerStars didn't want me to move at first. With who I am in poker and how I relate to other people, it didn't seem right for me to leave the US. They wanted to keep my "normal guy" image, and my family is established in the US. I'm a poker player, and we procrastinate, of course. So, even when PokerStars gave me the okay to do it, I could have done it for WCOOP in August of last year, but I missed that window. I then decided to get set up in Canada before SCOOP this year.
CC: What did your family and/or friends say about the move?
CM: My wife is fine with it. I'm renting a bedroom from my buddy who lives up there. He has an extra room, so that's my Canadian residence. Sometimes, I even rent a hotel room to play poker because it's quieter and more private.
CC: How often do you go there?
CM: I've been there three times now. I went up there in January to set up and play, then I went up for SCOOP, and I went up one other time. It's not much different than traveling for a PokerStars tournament or coming to the World Series in Vegas.
CC: How much online poker do you play on a given day?
CM: I play about 16 hours a day when I'm there. I don't go up there for a vacation, so I put in a lot of hours.
CC: What games (tournaments and/or cash) and stakes do you play?
CM: I play tournaments and cash games. I play everything, a lot of hyper turbos, the bigger tournaments, some of the smaller rebuys, and then I play $5/$10 PLO and whatever I see open. I play a lot of $75/$150 Omaha 8-or-Better, the 8-Game Mix at $20/$40 or $40/$80, even some $100/$200. It spans the board because I even play $1/$2 sometimes. It depends on how I'm feeling and how I'm running.
CC: What type of bankroll management do you use?
CM: I use perfect bankroll management because my wife keeps all of my money!
CC: Do you practice or study in any way to improve your game?
CM: Of course. I didn't for a long time and fell behind. My game was really bad for a while because I didn't study. But I realized the game was changing, and I wasn't changing with it. I started finding people to talk to and getting better.
CC: How do you cope with swings, and is that different from your coping mechanisms before the move?
CM: It's been the same. When you play long enough, you get used to it. Two of the three trips I made this year to Canada were good, and one was really bad, but that's part of the game. But the bankroll that I play with isn't going to affect my life because I don't play for money that will hurt my family or keep my kids from eating, nothing like that. My wife makes sure of that.
CC: Do you have poker friends in Canada?
CM: The guy that I rent the room from is a player, and we keep in touch quite a lot. He used to be a big online player; he still plays, but he has a regular job now. His name is Jim Worth, and he played as "Krazy Kanuck." He just doesn't play at the rate he used to.
CC: What would you say to others who are considering a move for online poker?
CM: If you're considering a move, you're a winning player, so it's not a bad idea. But I have some friends who've done it and are miserable. I have four or five friends who moved to Mexico or Canada, and they left most of the friends back home to go to a new place. When they left their non-poker friends, their lives changed. They used to love the grind of online poker and make good money, but some of them are just miserable now. The best advice is to find a place where you can meet other poker players or friends to have a life outside of grinding all day. If I had been in a different situation, I probably would've moved into a poker house or something.