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Gary Trask

Gary  Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has worked as a writer and editor more than 20 years. The Boston native was a member of the Poker Hall of Fame's inaugural Media Committee and a current member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame voting panel.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

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Around the WSOP: Moneymaker falls short in Main Event

10 Jul 2019

By Gary Trask
LAS VEGAS -- Winning the Main Event of the 50th edition of the World Series of Poker after gaining entry via an $80 online satellite tournament was too much even for Chris Moneymaker to pull off.

The man with the made-for-TV last name whose unlikely victory in the 2003 Main Event ignited the poker boom of the mid-2000s fell short in his bid for another fairy tale ending at the WSOP when he was bounced on Day 4 in 687th place, good enough for $20,200.

Despite the disappointment of elimination, the 43-year-old was overall pleased with his play, and the fact that he made his deepest run in a WSOP event since 2007 was not by accident.

“I’ve been working hard on my game,” he told Casino City during a brief chat in the hallways of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. “I’ve been an ambassador for the game for a long, long time, but I want to be remembered as a pretty good poker player, as well.”

It’s obvious that despite his lack of success in WSOP events since his watershed victory over Sammy Farha in 2003, Moneymaker’s impact is still quite vivid in the minds of poker fans. As part of the 50th celebration, the WSOP came up with a list of seven categories and asked the public to vote online. Moneymaker’s name was littered all over the ballot and, in the end, he won Most Memorable TV Hand and Most Impressive WSOP Main Event Win. What’s more, he was named one of the four most important players in WSOP history, along with Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu.

“It’s cool because it was voted on by the fans,” said Moneymaker, who has $3,865,156 in career earnings, with $2.5 million of it coming from the check he cashed for the 2003 Main Event. “I take pride in trying to grow this game and being a good ambassador, so to see that what I’m doing away from the table resonates with the fans, it feels good.”

Moneymaker said it was gratifying to see this year’s Main Event draw the second-most players in WSOP history with 8,569, but he said it’s also a cue that he has to keep honing his poker skills.

“The numbers are up, and that’s great, but it also means the game is going to continue to change,” he added. “If I don’t keep working at it, I may not have a job in 10 years.”

Does he think he’ll still be playing professionally in another decade?

“I sure hope so,” he said with a smile. “If not, I’ll be asking, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ My resume doesn’t have much else on it . . . I see no reason to stop. I still really enjoy it, even on frustrating days like today when I couldn’t hit a flop.”

Following his bustout, Moneymaker was looking forward to flying back to Tennessee to be with his wife, Christina, and their three kids who are ages 14, 11, 8. On Sunday, he flies to London for a PokerStars event and then later in the month he is taking a family vacation to Australia.

“My family is what’s most important,” said Moneymaker, who was bing-watching the TV show “Justified” on his iPad while playing in the Main Event. “I like to be home as much as possible to spend time with them. But the job requires me to be out there on the road, so that’s what I’m going to keep doing until someone tells me I can’t anymore.”

New mom Scott makes WSOP return
Following a one-year hiatus due to the birth of her now 13-month-old daughter, the always-smiling Kara Scott is back at the WSOP in Las Vegas, running the show on the ESPN TV set.

“It was very strange not being here last year,” said Scott. “I watched a lot of the coverage last year, even though I was bleary-eyed, and it was odd being on that side of things. I missed everyone.”

Scott has been part of the ESPN team for over a decade and has become as synonymous with poker on TV as ESPN's two stars, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad .

“It’s immensely gratifying,” she said. “When I think about the number of years we’ve worked together, it’s crazy. They have become very good friends of mine. I am super close to Lon and Norman. I’ve even become great friends with Norman’s wife and she actually came over to visit with me after the baby was born.”

In addition to her fame on TV, Scott is also an accomplished player with four WSOP cashes to her name, including a 104th finish in the Main Event in 2008. A 888 Poker ambassador, Scott recently made a return to the felt after taking a year and a half off and won the €220 No Limit Hold'em Ladies Event at 888 Poker LIVE in Barcelona in June.

“It was a very small event, but it felt good, nonetheless,” said Scott. “I hope to start playing more, but for now it’s all about the WSOP. I have to work hard at this because I don’t have the memory of a 20-year-old. I have to do my research.

“It’s fantastic to be back. I obviously miss my family, but I know she is in the best of hands with her papa.”

Super Bowl champ relishing his Main Event run
By advancing to Day 5, former NFL All Pro Richard Seymour secured the best Main Event finish by a former or current professional athlete, topping the successes of past participants like Paul Pierce, Orel Hershiser, Jose Canseco and Antonio Winfield, to name a few.

But you can color the 6-foot-6, three-time Super Bowl champ as unimpressed.


“You take the small victories, but that wasn’t a goal of mine,” said Seymour when we caught up to him during a break in the action on Wednesday. “That’s nice and all, but my goal is to be the last man standing. Period.”

Seymour, who mid-way through Level 23 on Day 5 ranked 85th out of the 184 players remaining with 2.5 million in chips, has been playing regularly for about five years and his biggest live cash came in January 2018 when he took home $376,360 at the $25,000 No Limit Hold'em High Roller at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in Paradise Island. This is his first WSOP cash and Seymour said he didn’t do anything different to prepare.

“You come into it with no expectations and just try to play your best,” he said when asked about his mindset. “I’m just betting when I have it and folding when I don’t. Hopefully that will keep working for me.”

UPDATE: Seymour was eliminated late Wednesday night, finishing 131st and cashing for $59,295.

 
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