New Jersey

How Asher Conniff Accidentally became New Jersey’s Chris Moneymaker

The story of Chris Moneymaker has been trotted out so many times that most poker players are sick of hearing it by now. But thanks to the incredible tale of online-qualifier Asher Conniff winning the WPT World Championship, along with $973,000, it’s worth making a parallel between the two stories. Additionally, you might be surprised to know that Conniff winning this prestigious tournament was all an accident. That said, let’s discuss why Conniff is the Moneymaker of New Jersey along with the accident that led him to this event.

Both Players kind of came out of Nowhere

Once again, many players know that Moneymaker was a small-time accountant from Tennessee with a poker dream. And this dream became reality when he won a 2003 WSOP Main Event seat through PokerStars, then went on to win the tourney along with $2.5 million. Stars milked this rags-to-riches story to no end, helping usher in a poker boom that lasted for several years.

Conniff’s story is not exactly the same because, unlike Moneymaker, he did have a nice string of small live cashes before the 2015 WPT World Championship (Borgata Spring Poker Open). But he was by no means a well-known player, and the 25-year-old satellited into this tournament.

It was only 11 days before the championship began that Conniff registered what was by far his most-significant cash ever – a victory in the Borgata Spring Poker Open Event #1 Deepstack event ($203,231). And a short time later, he would find himself taking down the WPT’s biggest tournament of the year!

Here’s where the Accident comes in

Conniff was supposed to go on a family vacation instead of playing in the WPT World Championship. And he had every intention of doing so, until he misclicked on a $1,600 satellite, instead of the $1,000 high roller that he wanted to play in at Borgata’s online poker site. So Conniff played the satellite and actually ended up winning a $15,000 WPT Championship seat.

What ensued was a run through a top-flight field of 239 players, while outlasting a final table that included the likes of Tony Dunst (6th, $173,873), Carlos Mortensen (4th, $267,764) and Brian Yoon (3rd, $330,338). When asked by the New York Daily News if he thought the victory was destiny, Conniff acknowledged his excellent two-week run. “It’s funny because normally you’d say that,” he said. “But I had literally just won a 2,400-person field tournament (Event #1) – my luck had to run out sooner or later.”

Moneymaker of New Jersey?

As discussed before, the Moneymaker/Conniff connection isn’t 100% accurate. And on a side note, the young poker pro is actually from Brooklyn instead of the Garden State. However, the slow-growing U.S. online poker market needs a great story, and so far, Conniff is definitely this. 

Not only did he satellite into the 2015 WPT World Championship through a New Jersey online poker site, but he also has the added flare of accidentally registering for it – then going on to win nearly $1 million! This may not cause the worldwide reverberations that Moneymaker’s tale did, but Conniff could certainly inspire some more New Jersey residents to take up the game.