Chris Moneymaker Champion
Chris Moneymaker was the champion yet again as the WSOP 2003 Main Event winner took home $903,000 from Montenegro after an astonishing comeback.

Chris Moneymaker rolled back the years as he brought memories of his epic 2003 WSOP Main Event victory to mind this week in Montenegro. Winning the Triton Super High Roller Series version of the GG MILLION$ event, the Americas Cardroom Pro took home the top prize of $903,000 but just as importantly the latest major poker title in a career packed with outstanding moments of glory.

A Field Full of Talent

With 163 entries (including 56 re-entries) creating a prizepool of $4,075,000, the top prize of $903,000 was always going to draw plenty of players into the mix. Those players were all absolute legends and with some of the biggest names in the world missing the money entirely, those who made a profit but missed the final table of nine read like a Who’s Who of international poker players.

One big occurrence on the money bubble was the eventual winner’s fate. Chris Moneymaker was down to a single chip on the bubble, only to recover with ace-jack. Up against pocket queens belonging to Biao Ding, Moneymaker needed an ace on the river to deliver his three-outer escape plan. From there he bounced right up the leaderboard.

Players such as Seth Davies (26th for $41,000), Nick Petrangelo (21st for $44,800), Phil Ivey (14th for $61,100), Hossein Ensan (13th for $67,200) and Byron Kaverman (10th for $77,500) all made it into healthy profit without reaching the final table. When nine did gather at the felt, Isaac Haxton barely had time to plug in his cell phone and take a swig of water. All-in with pocket nines, he lost to Ding’s pocket jacks and cashed for $91,300.

Adrian Mateos
Adrian Mateos fell fourl of a bad beat as the Spanish star just missed out on the title in Montenegro.

The Matador Mateos is Hit

Norwegian player Morten Klein was the next player to leave the party. All-in with QcJh, he lost out to Brian Kim’s Ac7c, heading home in eighth place for a score of $110,500. Soon, only six remained, the British player Lewis Spencer exited for $153,000 when his pocket threes ran into Chris Moneymaker’s pocket nines.

Next to go was Adrian Mateos, whose pocket jacks would fall foul of another player’s pocket threes. Brian Kim shoved from the big blind against the Spanish player and he was right to call but a three on the river scuppered Mateos’ chances of adding yet another major title to his resume, cashing instead for $209,500 in sixth place.

Out in fifth was Danilo Velasevic, who won $272,000 when he was all-in in the very next hand with the same hand – pocket jacks – against the same opponent in Brian Kim. This time, the American had an equal hand, and his ace-queen won the crucial coinflip, the ace coming on the turn this time to send play four-handed.

Kim Caught as Moneymaker Celebrates

Brian Kim was in a great position to win again with a strong pocket pair in queens but when Moneymaker – who was at risk – hit a king with his king-nine, the writing seemed on the wall. Kim went from chip leader to much shorter and the pot gave Moneymaker the belief he was destined to win.

“I wasn’t going to lose today,” Moneymaker later said. “I could have put it in with any hand and I would have won. I ran pure. I hit a three-outer, a six outer. I thought to myself, ‘You know what, this is going to be 2003. I’m not going to lose any more hands today.’”

Biao Ding lost in fourth place for $341,000 when his ace-ten lost to Kim’s ace-king, and shortly after, Ukrainian Igor Yaroshevskyy lost to Moneymaker for a score of $419,000 when Qd3h couldn’t beat Ad8h, meaning play was heads-up.

With a huge sweat of almost $300,000 between second and first, Moneymaker led with 51 bigs to Kim’s 30BB stack. On the third hand of the match-up, Moneymaker opened with AcTc and called off the snap-shove from Kim with As8h. A ten on the flop meant the 2003 world champion never looked like losing and he was soon celebrating his latest major title.

“I don’t really play a whole lot of high rollers, but when I do I enjoy it,” he said. “I probably won’t play a ton more, but I’m sure I’ll be back out at a Triton stop. They do a really good job. It’s insane how well they run tournaments.”

After the event, Poker Org spoke to the 2003 WSOP Main Event champion as he explained the key differences between his monumental achievement 21 years ago and how it compares to today’s epic triumph against all the odds.

Triton Series Montenegro $25,000 GG Million$ LIVE Final Results:
Place Place Country Prize
1st Chris Moneymaker United States $903,000
2nd Brian Kim United States $609,000
3rd Igor Yaroshevskyy Ukraine $419,000
4th Biao Ding China $341,000
5th Danilo Velasevic Serbia $272,000
6th Adrian Mateos Spain $209,500
7th Lewis Spencer United Kingdom $153,000
8th Morten Klein Norway $110,500
9th Isaac Haxton United States $91,300