Chris Moneymaker talks 'All In -- The Poker Movie'

Fri, Mar 23

Chris Moneymaker said it wasn't his goal to be the No. 1 poker player in the world. He just wanted to support his family and be a great father.

But his whole world changed in 2003, when the Nashville, Tenn., accountant went to Las Vegas, after qualifying online, and won the $2.5 million first prize at the televised World Series of Poker and the latest resurgence of poker was born.

"I thought my life on Monday would return to normal but with a bigger bank account," said Moneymaker, whose ancestors made silver and gold coins. "Never in a million years did I think the sport of poker would blow up the way it did."

Opening Friday in New York is a documentary called "All-In -- The Poker Movie," talking about the boom of the game and what's in store.

The movie took four years to make and features interviews with actor Matt Damon of the poker movie "Rounders"; sports writer Frank DeFord; singing legend Kenny Rogers, who had a song "The Gambler"; and a host of the top poker players in the world, including Annie Duke, Chris Ferguson, Phill Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu.

"It would have been easy to go to the World Series of Poker and do all these interviews," said Douglas Tirola, the movie's director and producer. "But we wanted to go to their homes and their towns to show how widespread the game of poker has become."

For 36-year-old Moneymaker, he is trying to live a normal life in Tennessee with his wife and daughter, but he still loves the game.

"The competition has improved tremendously. In 2003, I could teach a guy how to play poker in an hour and he could win some money. Today, it would take days," Moneymaker said. "The game has gotten so much tougher. So I will spend my time with my family and play when I can. The game you see now is the truest form of reality television."