PCA 2012: Moneymaker poisoned, persevering

PCA-2010-thumbnail.jpgChris Moneymaker has a chip stack in front of him. Chris Moneymaker doesn't want to spew. These two sentences could easily be related, but they aren't.

Moneymaker sits across the room with headphones over his ears and mirrored shades covering a pair of eyes that would likely reveal a very unwell former WSOP champion. Approached for an interview, Moneymaker looked like he barely wanted to breathe, let alone speak.

"I had food poisoning this morning," he said by way of explanation. "It's been rough."

This is not how Moneymaker intended to start this year's PCA. In fact, his plan was to get no suntan, stay out of the crystal blue waters, and generally have no fun outdoors.

"Hopefully I don't see the sun again this year," he said.


Chris Moneymaker on Day 1A of the 2012 PCA main event

If you know anything about Moneymaker or the PCA, you know that this time last year, Moneymaker was beginning a run that would put him among the top 2011 main event players. Instead of vacationing last year, he played through the biggest-ever PCA field and finished in eleventh place for $130,000. It began his second-best year since he started playing poker (the first coming, of course, in 2003 when won the WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million). Two months after his PCA finish, Moneymaker traveled to Las Vegas for the $25,000 NBC Heads-Up Championship, finished runner-up, and won another $300,000.

How does one follow a banner year like Moneymaker's 2011? He started it with a lot of resolutions and plans for self-improvement. In an effort to shave some weight, he dropped his normal Coca Cola intake from a staggering 12 per day down to two. He started an exercise program, joined a soccer league, and started drinking a lot more water. What's more, he started reaching out to fans more and becoming even more of a family man than he already was.

It was a noble start, one marked by good health and optimism. If all things continued as he hoped, 2012 would be even better than 2011. And then...this morning.

Knocked off balance by the bout with food poisoning, Moneymaker still staggered into work this morning with the intention of making 2012 one to remember. A bit ago, Moneymaker stood from his chair and looked wistfully down at his stack.

"It started off good," he began, leaving us to believe the first four levels of the day had shown promise in spite of the poisoning. However, like a man afflicted, that stack couldn't hold down what Moneymaker put into it. By and by, it happened that Chris Moneymaker's stack began to look a lot like it did when he started the day.

It left us all to muse on life's little ironies. Moneymaker was hoping to shed a few pounds in 2012. If this morning's illness was any indication, he may need to be careful what he wishes for.