The final day of the Moneymaker’s Road to PSPC – Seminole has arrived. Just 48 players remain from the 464 total entries, each still with a shot at the $32,720 first prize and the Platinum Pass worth another $30K — not bad at all for a $360 buy-in!
Taking place at both Seminole Casino Coconut Creek and the Seminole Hard Rock — we’ll be at the latter for the action today — the event has proven a big hit with the $139,200 prize pool well exceeding the $100K guarantee and more than doubling last year’s version of this event.
Incidentally, the man for whom both the tournament and tour is named will be among those competing today. Chris Moneymaker returns to an above-average stack placing him just outside of the top 10 on the counts.
Like all 48 who are left, Moneymaker has guaranteed himself a cash, which is one way of measuring the success of a tournament. He’s also signed player bags for everyone left for another nice takeaway.
But it’s clear everyone here is profiting in other ways, too.
“Like last year, above board everybody seems like they’ve had a blast,” says Moneymaker. “These events are low stress, until you get to the final table, I guess. They’re designed to be fun. Poker is supposed to be enjoyable.”
It has been enjoyable for sure to this point, and will likely be even more so as they play down today and the prospect of a trip to the 2020 PokerStars Players Championship in Barcelona draws closer. That said, by just about every measure the tournament has already been a success, following a pattern set by events that have already played out along Moneymaker’s Road.
“Overall, the tour is great,” says Moneymaker. “Last year we did 11 stops across the US and had amazing numbers, amazing turnouts. This year it has had more of a European flair. We did several stops in the UK, one in Dublin, and another in Sochi. I would say the numbers comparatively have been a little bit down, but for each market they have been good. In the UK we were getting 400… and they were thrilled. So on that note, it was a success.”
Having acknowledged that the bottom line does matter, Moneymaker again points out how that isn’t the only way to measure things. Or even the most important way.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if 10 people show up or 1,000, as long as everybody has a good time,” he says.
In a way these lower buy-in events have given Moneymaker a chance to return to his roots as a player. Prior to his big win at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, he would travel from Tennessee to Tunica occasionally for limit hold’em games. But even thereafter low-to-mid stakes no-limit hold’em tournaments always represented a favorite format to play for him.
“I never really got into the big cash games or big high stakes tournaments. I enjoy this level. This is where my fans are at. This is where 99 percent of the poker player population are at, too,” he observes.
“I feel comfortable playing at those stakes,” he adds, voicing a point of view certainly shared by most of those in the field. “I feel comfortable sitting at the table and having a good time. And I like to think of myself as more of an entertainer than a poker player.”
As entertaining as he can be, Moneymaker has been playing pretty well, too, with an impressive track record thus far on his tour. He cashed in seven of 11 events last year, winning two and chopping one. This year he’s cashed four more times, making one final table and the final two tables on two other occasions. And he’s has two fourth-place finishes here in prelims at this stop as well.
As we’ve pointed out before, last year he made it to heads-up right here at the Seminole Hard Rock, ultimately taking runner-up to Andy Risquez.
“Making the final table or final tables is always nice,” says Moneymaker. Of course, we know that’s not going to be his only goal today.
If Moneymaker winds up as the host with the most today and wins, the runner-up would receive the Platinum Pass. Regardless of where he finishes, though, he’ll be sharing in the fun others will experience as we find out together who will be the next champion on his tour.