Writer’s Note: This is the fifth in an extended series of articles about Chris Moneymaker’s victory at the 2003 World Series of Poker and what went on behind the scenes at Binion’s Horseshoe — before, during, and after.
Part 7: “839”
On the eve of the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event, the preliminary numbers weren’t just down. They were abysmal. We dropped about 25 percent overall in attendance from the previous year, which had also been a disaster.
But after four weeks, no one was bringing up the ugly numbers. Instead, everyone was talking about big names.
The very biggest names in poker won gold bracelets — and lots of them. Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, Huck Seed, Layne Flack, Mickey Appleman, John Juanda, Daniel Negreanu, Men “the Master” Nguyen, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, and Carlos Mortensen were among the illustrious winners. Imagine a single series with Brunson, Chan, and Hellmuth all winning titles. In fact, Chan and Hellmuth both won two each!
Those were the headlines and became the talk of poker. Not declining numbers.Read More