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The Moneymaker effect was named after Chris Moneymaker who won an entry to the WSOP on PokerStars and became the first online poker qualifer to win the WSOP Main Event and $2,5 million.

To most bystanders without knowledge of online poker it might have appeared that PokerStars was yet another poker room offering the same product as the rest. That was not the case. PokerStars did an eminent attempt to become the best & biggest provider of online tournaments in many different formats.  

In September 2002 PokerStars was the largest Multi Table Tournament Poker Room and the only competitor offering MTT’s was PartyPoker.

The fact that none of the other poker rooms were offering tournaments yet gave these companies a head start on developing tournament features other sites have yet to implement today.

It was not until May 2003 PartyPoker managed to become the biggest tournament site even though they had three times as many cash game players as PokerStars at that time.

There are of course many factors that come into play when you try to analyse how and why a poker room came to be the biggest poker room in the world. Becoming the biggest poker room would not be possible without a great product, excellent service, creative marketing and a proper understanding of customer demand. However UIGEA is considered to be a single event that almost overnight turned PokerStars into the world’s biggest poker room.
PokerStars gained a massive lead on their competitors due to politics but even before UIGEA PokerStars had placed themselves in a favourable position by making a great effort to become the number one tournament site and keeping the company privately owned. 
This marketing strategy paid off massively when an unknown poker player named Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker after qualifying with a $40 buyin on PokerStars. He put the online poker scene on the world map. Till this day 'the Moneymaker effect' is still refered to. In the following years the World Series of Poker grew from 839 entrants in 2003 to more than 8000 entrants in 2006.
The Cindarella story about a guy who had never played in a live tournament before and then turned $40 into $2,5 million was the best advertisement the industry could have asked for and it became a critical moment in online poker history.  In the years to come PokerStars signed sponsor deals with all winners of the WSOP and labelled themselves the place “Where Poker Players Become World Champions”.