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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The poker story

When Chris Moneymaker won the televised 2003 World Series of Poker after first wagering $39 in an online tournament, wannabe pro gamblers across the country turned to their own computers in hopes of repeating history. Greg "Fossilman" Raymer did just that in the 2004 championship game. Like Moneymaker, Raymer earned his ticket to the big time -- and millions in winnings -- by entering an online tournament. In fact, four of the top 10 finishers in the 2004 series were players from PokerStars.com.

If you play online, you could be going up against the likes of Moneymaker. Despite turning pro and writing a book about his experience, he says he still plays at least once a week at PokerStars. "I generally look for the games with the highest average pots and choose those," he says.

Luckily for you, more typical competitors are Darren and Hilary, online poker players who favor low-stakes games and have yet to score major winnings despite playing for a couple years: Hilary says she's about broken even, while Darren says he's lost all of the money he's wagered so far. But he considers it money well spent.

"I've probably logged a couple hundred hours and spent a couple hundred bucks," Darren says. "A buck an hour is pretty good entertainment for the money in my book."