Best Poker Moments: Chris Moneymaker Bluffs Farha, Sparks Poker Boom

Published on 7 July 2015 by Pokerlistings 842

It's not an understatement to say that Chris Moneymaker successfully pulling off an all-in bluff against Sammy Farha heads-up at the 2003 WSOP Main Event is the most important hand in the history of poker. Today Moneymaker was back at the WSOP Main Event and he looked all the way back to the hand that changed his life, and the poker world, forever. In the latest Best Poker Moments, Moneymaker walks us through the epic hand from his point of view, breaking down exactly how he was able to pull off the bluff that inspired countless poker players around the world. Moneymaker pulled off the bluff, won the tournament, and the rest is history. His victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker is credited with sparking poker's boom in popularity, without which you'd almost certainly not be watching this video right now. So watch the video and get an inside look at poker's biggest televised bluff.

You couldn't script a movie and make it any better than what we did in real life situation.
So, 2003 World Series of Poker. Sammy Farha and me are heads-up. Given the fact he had so much more experience than me, I really felt like he wanted to keep it small-ball and really grind me down. So my plan going into heads-up was really to play bigger pots and to put the pressure back on him because I know the pressure of him losing to me, not so much the money but the pressure of losing to me the amateur, was something he didn't want to do.
Going into the heads-up I knew that if I put a lot of pressure on him he'd only call with really premium hands. We got into the hand. I was on the button and heads-up we were pretty deep. I had about a two-to-one chip lead and I opened with the K-7 and he defends with the Q-9 which were both pretty standard plays even back then.
The flop came nine-high and it went check-check. The turn, I ended up turning a flush and a straight draw. He led for 300,000 and at this point I really felt like he wasn't overly strong. I really felt like I could take it away on the turn when I raised it up to 800,000. I didn't think he had a flush. I didn't think he had a made straight already.
I made it 800,000 and he basically beat me into the pot. In doing so I pretty much had a good range of hands he was on. I knew pretty confidently he didn't have a straight or a flush yet. So I had a plan going to the river. If I hit my flush, which was actually the second nuts, I was going to check because I really thought he had the ace of spades. If he shoved I would have been lost but I'm sure I'm calling. I knew he didn't want to call off with just a pair which is what he had. I knew he wasn't overly strong so when the river bricked, of course that's not what you want to see, I would have much rather have hit the straight. But he checked and I moved all-in, putting his tournament life on the line.
Announcer: Chris Moneymaker going all-in with nothing. A stunning play from Moneymaker who missed his draws and has nothing and has now put Sam Farha all-in. He would have to put all his chips in and if he lost this pot he would be out of the tournament.
Every time someone talked to him at the final table he basically snap-called so I just sat there and imagined I was on the beach and not even respond to him or think he was there. Announcer: He is not going to do it. Chris Moneymaker bluffs Sam Farha out of a big stack of money.
That was the bluff of the century. That's what got people inspired into playing, seeing the amateur pull off a bluff against a seasoned pro.
Obviously I'm very fortunate and I got a great life because of it. Just that one moment in time and it changes your life. You never know what's going to happen.
Put yourself in spots to get lucky. Put yourself in spots to do well and if you continue to do that you just have to hit it one time. And that one time can set you up.