By Arnold Warner
The story of Chris Moneymaker’s journey from playing an online satellite in Tennessee to busting the poker world wide open 15 years ago has grown from story to legend. Or, as ESPN’s Norman Chad said at the conclusion of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, “This is beyond fairy tale. It’s inconceivable!”
Now, thanks to PokerStars and Stones Gambling Hall, you will have the chance to replicate (to a certain extent) what Moneymaker did to help kick off the poker boom. Aug. 4 and 5 Stones will be the site of the first of nine (currently) scheduled stops on the Moneymaker PSPC Tour.
For an investment of only $86—the same amount Moneymaker paid for his famous satellite—you can have the chance to win a $30,000 Platinum Pass to the PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) in the Bahamas next January. The pass includes a $25,000 tournament buy-in, travel money, and six nights’ accommodation at the Atlantis Resort, Nassau, in The Bahamas.
PokerStars expects the PSPC to be the biggest $25K event ever held. Throughout 2018 more than 300 Platinum Pass packages will be awarded for free, contributing to a minimum prize pool of $8,000,000. There’s even an added $1,000,000 for the winner.
Stones Gambling Hall’s tournament director, Justin Kuraitis said, “For an $86 buy-in we’re going to do a two-day event where we will play down to a winner who will be awarded a $30,000 prize package to the Bahamas and the PSPC. We’re also going to do a marathon live stream on StonesLive on the second day—on the fifth—that will start at 10 a.m. and will go until we’re done. It will feature Chris Moneymaker and Lon McEacheren, plus we’ll have PokerStars in the house too doing some giveaways.
“The whole idea is to bring back those glory days when poker players had the excitement of a super small investment—$86—and you can win a $30,000 package. So, if you’re a poker player and you live within 1,000 miles, this is something you don’t want to miss!”
They will have two entry days—Saturday, Aug. 4 and Sunday, Aug. 5 at 10 a.m. Each player will receive 5,000 chips with 20-minute levels for the first eight levels of play during which there will be unlimited re-entries. Beginning with level nine they will be 25 minutes. Each day will end with nine players remaining, and the 18 from those two days will combine at the end of Sunday to play down to a winner.
The event will be topped off with an all-day marathon live stream on StonesLive featuring guest commentary by Chris Moneymaker and the voice of poker Lon McEachern.
“This is obviously a good opportunity for $86 to come in, and get yourself on the live stream, and play in front of your friends and family back home,” said Moneymaker. As a poker player, it’s always fun to let your friends and family be able to watch you, so there’s that opportunity. Plus you’re gonna have to be aware of just how busy it’s going to be, so plan on registering early.
“The food is great, so as you’re waiting definitely go to the restaurant and eat. They also have all kinds of games on both sides of the glass. They have the casino games on one side, and poker on the other side.
“Follow along with PokerStars on my blog to get a list of all the different poker rooms, and all the different opportunities that we’re gonna have for this tour. Obviously if you’re in the area, follow along on StonesLive or on their website. They’ll have more updates about the tournament, and how to register, and probably some of the events that we’ll have leading up to the week, some special stuff leading up to it. It’s something to watch out for.”
The return of Quantum
When the Moneymaker Tour finishes up, Stones will dive right into their next big event, the return of the $100,000 Guaranteed Quantum Tournament, Aug. 6 to 12.
This unique format features seven opportunities to buy-in for $120, receive 10,000 chips, and see 10 percent of the field will advance to Day 2. Following will be two $240 buy-in days with 20,000 chips and 20 percent advancing. In addition to playing Day 2, players will also receive a $250 payout. Anyone qualifying more than once will receive $900 and play the larger of their chip stacks. Additional stacks that may be won will pay $900 more.
If that weren’t enough opportunities to get in on the action, you can also buy-in directly on Day 2 for $900 and receive 100,000 chips. Play will begin on Day 2 with blinds and antes of 1,000/2,000/300.
Kuraitis said that while the guarantee on the event is $100K, it typically goes over $150K.
The final table will be streamed on StonesLive. For complete details visit stonesgamblinghall.com.
The Card Tavern
Across from the Poker Saloon is Stones’ Card Tavern where they feature Blackjack with Lucky Lucky and Buster Side Bets, EZ Baccarat, Fortune Pai Gow, Pai Gow Tiles, Spanish 21, and 3 Card Poker.
Throughout July, the Card Tavern will feature a Triple Match Play Blackjack promotion with three ways to win:
Immediate—Any suited blackjack awards a match play for the amount being wagered up to $25.
Weekly—The suited blackjack also awards players a drawing ticket. Drawings are every Sunday and will give away $250 to$1,000 in match play every half hour from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Long term—Tickets also help earn an entry into a $10,000 Blackjack tournament at the end of the month. Each ticket is worth $25 towards a $200 tournament buy-in.
StonesLive is Stones Gambling Hall’s popular online poker show. Every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the last Sunday of every month, poker cash games at Stones Gambling Hall are live-streamed on Twitch.com and YouTube with professional commentary in the style initially popularized on the World Series of Poker. Select special events and a monthly tournament game are also broadcast. To get on StonesLive, players can sign up for free at Stones Gambling Hall, and there is no charge to view episodes online. Past special guest commentators have included veteran sports announcer David Tuchman, renowned poker strategist Bart Hanson, Norman Chad, Kevin Martin, Jason Somerville, Lex Veldhuis, and Jonathan Little.
Stones is located in Citrus Heights, just outside of Sacramento, and features two state-of-the-art cardrooms and a full-service restaurant and bar.