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Inspirational Rags To Riches Poker Stories

Jordan C

Aug 4, 2023

Rags to Riches Poker Stories

One of the great things about poker is that your fortune can change overnight. The game is full of rags-to-riches stories of people who were on the verge of hopelessness, but one big poker tournament changed their fortunes forever. For many people, it’s why they play poker; they want that shot at a big money payout and to win a potentially life-changing amount of money.

We’ll be looking at some of the best-known rags-to-riches stories that will inspire you to go out and hit the felt.

Chris Moneymaker

Chris MoneymakerArguably the best rags-to-riches story in all of poker is the Chris Moneymaker story. Chris had a master’s degree in accounting and worked as a comptroller, as well as having a part-time job in a restaurant to make ends meet. Chris enjoyed playing poker on the side and was good enough to make a little money, but he never considered himself to be a professional poker player.

One day, he managed to earn a seat in the 2003 World Series Of Poker $10,000 Main Event by winning an $86 satellite on PokerStars. Chris reportedly wanted to sell the ticket and keep the cash, but his friends encouraged him to go out there and play. No one could imagine what happened next.

After several days of playing against some of the best players in the world, Chris found himself at the final table of the biggest poker tournament in the world. He faced some stiff competition in the form of No Limit Hold’em tournament pro Dan Harrington, Amir Vahedi, and poker legend Sammy Farha - it wasn’t going to be easy.

However, one by one, the big names fell by the wayside, and Chris kept on raking in the chips. As massive crowds started to gather around the table, he found himself heads-up with the legendary Sammy Farha. No one gave Chris a chance, but a gutsy all-in bluff with 54 gave Chris some momentum, and he went on to win the 2003 WSOP Main Event for $2.5 million!

This win not only turned his life around financially, but Chris was soon the best-known poker player in the world and has become a veritable icon of the game. In fact, in 2019, he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, along with many other greats. Not a bad return from an $86 satellite!

Mark Fleddermann

A story that you may not be as familiar with is that of Mark Fleddermann. Mark was having a rough time as a poker pro out in Las Vegas; things just weren’t going his way on the felt, and the declining US economy only made things worse. In a Hail Mary attempt to try and turn his fortunes around, he hit the road with his friend Tom Christopher to Tunica, Mississippi.

There was a big poker event taking place there that would attract a huge audience, and both Tom and Mark thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take advantage of some inexperienced players. However, Mark was as close to broke as you could get, and after maxing out his credit limit to fill up his car, he had to get his friend to book a room for a couple of nights.

The story goes that Mark walked into the casino with $4 in his pocket, and after competing in various cash games and tournaments, he walked away two days later with $65,000 in cash! Talk about running good when you need it most!

Sam Trickett

Sam TrickettIn the late 2000s, Sam Trickett was feeling as low as you could possibly feel. He had just burned through half a million dollars in six months trying to chase his poker dream, his fiance had left him after they could no longer afford to buy a house, and he’d had a stern talking to from his father about “growing up and getting a real job”. However, in the face of all that hardship, Sam truly believed that he had the skill to be a winning player.

So, while he worked a real job as a gas fitter, Sam set about making his dream a reality and winning back the money he had lost. Things weren’t going his way, and at the end of 2009, he was flat broke but managed to find a backer for the 2010 WSOP in Las Vegas. Sam had a successful trip at the WSOP, re-igniting his poker career.

A year later, he was out at the Aussie Millions and won A$2,925,000 in five days, finishing first and second in two tournaments. He’d follow that up with a €1,000,000 win at a tournament in Cannes, but his biggest score would come a year later.

In the 2012 WSOP, Sam Trickett entered the $1,000,000 Big One For One Drop Tournament. It was an exclusive event with only 48 players and a staggering 7-figure entry fee. Sam went on the run of his life in that tournament, eventually finishing second to Antonio Esfandiari, and taking home a cheque for $10,000,000.

In just three short years, Sam went from being flat broke to winning an 8-figure sum. Not many can say they’ve done that!


Poker is filled with stories like this, as everyday players turn a small investment into a huge payday. Don't miss your shot at greatness – experience the adrenaline rush and heart-pounding excitement at Natural8! Unleash your true potential and be the protagonist of your own remarkable rags-to-riches journey by signing up today!

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