Moneymaker Millionaire Finalists
We're getting a first look at some of 27 people who will be fighting in the Moneymaker Millionaire finals in the Bahamas. I'll update this page as we uncover more on the finalists.
David "japaneezer" Carthy--22-year-old college student at the Unversity of Florida who has played online and live poker off and on for the last 3-5 years. Quote: "Chris Moneymaker...He's made countless people leave their day jobs!"
Donald "donfairplay" Craig--26-year-old California player who picked up poker after watching Chris Moneymaker and Greg Raymer win the World Series of Poker. After reading a few books, he managed to qualify for the 2006 WSOP through PokerStars. Quote: "I loved watching Moneymaker play in the 2003 series. Chris Moneymaker personalizes the dream for us small stakes players (I'm a $.10/$.25 player). I remember a billboard of him at the 2006 WSOP Main Event with him in his day-job clothes and the caption reading something like 'you could quit your day-job if you win.'"
Richard "KURN" DiLonardo--55-year-old business consultant from New Jersey who has been playing poker his entire life and focused his later studies on the pre-WSOP writings of Greg Raymer. A contestant on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," and now a finalist in the Moneymaker Millionaire freeroll, DiLonardo has had two shots at $1 million in the span of five months. He speaks five languages, spent ten years as a chef in Boston, and once rode a motorcycle across the United States. Quote: "Chris is a great story, and he's definitely the single biggest factor in poker being what it is today."
Tim "Ironwine79" Eagle--26-year-old sales manager from St. Louis, MO who grew up playing penny-ante poker with his family. Humble to a fault, Eagle refuses to brag on himself and defers to his mother when asked about his successes. Quote: "I think he [Moneymaker] definitely kick-started the everyman poker player taking the game a little more seriously."
John "Hafe" Haefele--51-year-old maintenance supervisor from Canada. His online play is almost exclusively $10 PokerStars sit & go tournaments. Since qualifying for the Moneymaker Millionaire finals, he has played in local Lions Club charity tournaments in Ontario. Quote: "I think Chris Moneymaker, along with some of the other winners of high level poker tournaments, has captured the imagination of audiences around the world. The idea that someone besides an athlete whose physical gifts preclude comparison with most 'ordinary people' could compete and win huge money prizes against a field of thousands is the type story that is very easy to enjoy."
Michael "Halp1" Halprin--44-year-old marketing and entertainment professional from Florida who spends most of his time making sure other people have fun. He plans to reverse that life philosophy in his quest to win the first prize in the Moneymaker Millionaire. Quote: "I respect Moneymaker for his big win and admire what he has accomplished. As far as what he has done for the world of poker, can you say EXPLOSION?"
Donald "Iweedmanl" Hill--37-year-old sawmill worker from Canada who picked up poker by watching on television and hopes to use any big Moneymaker Millionaire winnings to start a business of his own.
David "kamuflaza" Juhart--26-year-old horse trainer from Slovenia
Boomer "malibu44" Lawrence--35-year-old poker player from Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada who considers himself more of a cash game player than a tournament player. He says people routinely find it fascinating that he makes a living in the non-glamorous, high-stress world of cash game poker. After taking care of his family, Lawrence hopes to use any big winnings from the Moneymaker Millionaire to open a shelter for abused animals. Quote: "Chris has just shown that anyone, no matter how much or little skill you have, can win a poker tournament. The reason it has been such a big success over the past few years, is because anyone, and I mean anyone can just walk into a poker tournament, go on a nice run of cards and walk away a millionaire."
Quillan "Quillan" Nagel--30-year-old masters student in International Affairs from Canada who started playing poker as a child. He started playing seriously 18 months ago, during which time his biggest win was $2,700 in a $10 rebuy event. A man of many different hats, he was once a professional ballet dancer and virtual arms dealer in an online video game. He is now married to a professional actress and has a two-month-old daughter. Quote: "Moneymaker showed the value of satellites! He also showed the world that anyone could win, and caused a dramatic increase in poker's popularity. Just look at the WSOP numbers since he won."
Paul "21paul21" Phillips--35-year-old rural postal carrier from Weatherford, Texas who boasts a black belt in Tae-Kwon-Do and spends as much time taking risks as he can. From boxing, to skydiving, to roller coasters, the guy will do anything to get his blood pumping. Quote: "Moneymaker is the reason I started playing on Poker Stars and started playing online period. Seeing his commercials a few years ago is the reason I started playing."
Phillip "GOLDBRICK56" Sears--50-year-old bricklayer from Canada who lives a simple life of working, playing poker, playing pool, and playing chess. Ever-dedicated to his 16-year old daughter, he hopes he can use some Moneymaker Millionaire winnings to change her life as much as she changed his. After that, he hopes to sit back and take a deep breath. Quote: "Chris Moneymaker was the first to show this could happen to regular folks."
Robert "BobbysBabe2" Skanes--26-year-old customer service representative from Canada who is ultra-competitive and has been playing poker for more than ten years.
John "modelx" Whitlock--37-year-old flooring installer from Nova Scotia who picked up poker within the past few years and has achieved an impressive amount of tournament success since then. Quote: "Moneymaker showed that an average Joe can become a millionaire and help others do the same."
Jerry "herschelw" Watterson III--24-year-old fulltime poker player from Jackson, FL, who started playing poker in low-stakes wild card games at University of North Florida. In the past six months, he has final tabled two major tournaments on PokerStars.com for more than $29,000 in earnings. He was twice elected to student body president of the University of North Florida, an office that required him to manage a $2.5 million budget. Quote: "I read Chris' book. I found it fascinating to read as to how an average guy can take on the best in the poker world and win it all. It simply shows that with a little skill, a bit of luck, and a solid game plan anyone has a shot to win it all if it's their day."
Michael "live4yng" Young--21-year-old college student from Springfield, PA, introduced to poker by his college buddies. Before entering the Moneymaker Millionaire freeroll, his best ever tournament finish was fourth place in a $5 buy-in PokerStars event that earned him $400. A Computer Science major and English minor, Young can solve a Rubicks cube in three minuntes and has written a children's book. He is currently working on writing a novel and a feature film screenplay. Quote: "Moneymaker really opened up the world of online poker, showing that with the right opportunities, an average person has the capabilities not only to make it to the World Series of Poker, but to win it. This is one of the coolest opportunities that has come my way, and I'm really looking forward to playing."
Pending Player Bios