PokerStars 10th Anniversary: I remember…two guys in a hotel room

November 15, 2011


Editor’s note: As part of the PokerStars 10th Anniversary celebration, we and members of Team PokerStars Pro are taking a look back at how PokerStars has looked over its ten years. Chris Moneymaker, 2003 WSOP champion and no stranger to PokerStars live events over the years, shared this memory of how stripped-down the operation was eight years ago.

When you win a seat to play in an EPT, LAPT or APPT, you are sent formal form e-mails for registration. There are microsites dedicated to that specific event and extensive descriptions of the available hotels. Once you arrive onsite, banners are hung everywhere informing you are at a PokerStars event. You are greeted by a host of people at welcome tables with all types of information and a big goodie bag with various PokerStars items. Everything is very high class and buttoned up.

I won my seat on PokerStars to the 2003 Main Event and my experience was quite different. I received a personal email congratulating me and letting me know when the Main Event was. I was given a phone number and an email address for any questions.

My hotel was booked for me at Binions Horseshoe by PokerStars. When I arrived, there was no one greeting me or telling me where to go. I checked-in and called Dan Goldman (my contact from PokerStars) to let him know I had arrived. He instructed me to come to his room to collect my WSOP player bag.

I walked into his hotel room and was greeted by two guys in a hotel room watching ESPN. It was a standard room with about 20 player bags sitting in the corner. I introduced myself and came in to collect my bag. It was very informal and easygoing.

Both guys had been there for a few days sitting In the small hotel room handing out these bags. There weren’t any signs or the huge player bags you see today. I got a bag with a few shirts and a handshake wishing me good luck. There was very little traffic into their hotel room, giving me time to ask questions about the WSOP and what was going on. I felt like I was walking into a buddies room to talk poker and that was pretty much PokerStars pre-2003!

Today it is glitz and glamour.

Just a few years ago, it was two guys in a hotel room.


Follow Chris on Twitter: @CMONEYMAKER

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