|After winning a US$150 satellite tournament on PokerStars.com at the recent 35th annual No-Limit Texas Hold'Em event, Greg ‘Fossilman’ Raymer is now setting the benchmark set by last year’s winner, Chris Moneymaker, a 28-year-old accountant.|
Moneymaker’s return on investment was comparatively higher than Raymers’. After putting in just US$40 for an Internet poker tournament, he returned home with US$2.5 million, while Raymer pocketed a record US$5 million.
‘I played the best poker of my life and I got as lucky as I've ever gotten in my life for such a sustained period of time. I was able to advance past a lot of great, great players,’ says Raymer.
Poker experts credit the Internet for creating a level playing field, between amateurs and old hands. ‘Players can get a huge amount of experience in a short time playing online and can translate that into success in major tournaments,’ says Dan Goldman, VP for marketing at PokerStars.com.
Other contestants sponsored by the website include David Williams, 23, Matt Dean, 25, and Mike McClain, a 39-year-old pro. They finished second, seventh and ninth, respectively.
‘While PokerStars qualifiers represented only 12% of the players in the World Series of Poker, they collectively took home over 40% of the total prize money awarded. We had 28 players finish in the money for a total of almost $11 million in prize money. Four of the top nine finishers in the event qualified on our site,’ claims Goldman to back-up his Internet claims.
Andrew Glazer, an editor for Card Player Magazine, voices an opinion similar to Goldman. ‘Internet players move their chips all in more frequently than players who frequent card rooms or casinos. They understand you can take a lot of skill out of the game by turning it into big-bet poker.’
‘In all, about 40 percent of the 2,576 people who made it to the final tournament came from the Internet. Competitors who didn't win an Internet or casino satellite tournament put up a $10,000 buy-in fee,’ says Goldman.
John Vorhaus, of UltimateBet.com and an author of ‘Killer Poker,’ says: ‘This year's victory proves the Internet winner is no fluke. I think 2004 will be a watershed year in the way the Internet player is viewed. The evidence is overwhelming. These guys got game.’