Since his game-changing win in 2003, few players have stayed in the poker spotlight more than World Series of Poker champ Chris Moneymaker. Now, after 15 years of balancing life as a family man, poker player, and ambassador, he’s looking to take his game to the next level by joining Chip Leader Coaching.
“This is a very competitive game, and people are always improving,” said Moneymaker. “If you’re not, obviously you’re being left behind.”
He continued: “There was a long period of time I thought I was a really good player. I thought for 7-8 years I was great, but it wasn’t until later that I thought maybe I’m not as good as I think I am. You start talking to people and realize I’m not just that good anymore, not seeing situations and opportunities. So now I’m trying to hear as many opinions as I can and figure out what works for my game.”
“I was on social media one day and ran across something about Chance’s new training site,” Moneymaker explained. “I had done some other training sites. I’m always looking for different idea, not only for myself, but when I teach others I want to make sure I’m up to speed on all the latest in poker.”
Despite winning poker’s “Big One,” Moneymaker has long considered himself a student of the game. He used to stay ahead of the game by playing online, and while he still occasionally hits the virtual felt – he just won two New Jersey SCOOP titles and will head to Canada to compete in PokerStars’ SCOOP – he doesn’t get to put in the volume he’d like.
“But more so for myself, I can’t play much online poker anymore so I feel like I don’t get what other players are getting outside the USA. Online poker is such a great way to work on your game, and if you’re not playing, the game can pass you by pretty quickly.”
He continued: “I like hearing different opinions of players who’re better than me. Poker is an ego game. It’s hard for people to admit that they’re not good. I play in a local game and I guarantee each of the guys think they’re the best ever and not a single one of them studying the game.”
Learning from a Fellow Champ
Moneymaker’s CLC coach will be none other than 2015 WSOP Main Event champ Joe McKeehen. It’s a generational bridge of sorts, old school learning from new school.
“I like the fact that he is a World Champ,” Moneymaker said of his instructor. “Like it or not, people play different against us than the typical player. He has the same experiences I have playing at the table where you sort of have a target on your back. There’s probably only about 15 people out there these days that the average poker fan will recognize, and the fact that Chip Leader Coaching has one of them on their roster in Joe McKeehen, I thought it was the perfect fit for me.”
In his first two weeks as a part of CLC, Moneymaker participated in some group sessions, watched some videos, and chatted with Joe McKeehen. Not long after, he went out to Stone’s Gambling Hall and made two final tables. And then of course there was his two NJSCOOP titles. It’s been a good start, but you probably won’t hear Moneymaker bragging about it too much.
“I went into another course anonymously,” Moneymaker explained. “I just wanted to be another student and use it for my own growth as opposed to being an ambassador. My name is splashed around enough, and I didn’t want to have another thing I needed to promote. I’ve done that with a few training sites. I don’t really want people know I’m working on my game too much.”
Since his 2003 WSOP win, Moneymaker has had a close relationship with PokerStars. However, he admits that the recent exodus of Team Pros left him on unsure footing, at least for a bit.
“With the new PokerStars Players NL Hold’em Championship, they’ve invested a lot of money in that and had to make some cuts in other areas,” he said. “Part of those cuts were Team Pros because they couldn’t quantify what our worth is. Team Pro got cut pretty severely. I still have a job there. I think I was in danger a little bit of potentially getting cut, but I didn’t.”
One of the reasons he didn’t as PokerStars found the perfect role for arguably the game’s biggest name.
“One thing they’re doing more now that they didn’t so much in the past is trying to develop specific roles for us,” Moneymaker stated. “They want different pros to fill different niches. My role is to foster these Platinum Pass winners and get them ready for the January tournament at the Atlantis in The Bahamas.”
To keep up to date on all things Moneymaker, including his success with CLC, follow him on Twitter @CMONEYMAKER.