Ruddock – “Poker Boom Came Before Moneymaker”


Steve Ruddock is a poker professional and a writer that has taken part in the latest debate in poker. In his article, he tackles a couple of sensitive issues, including the direction in which poker is heading, as well as the key moments that caused its meteoric rise. He also argues that the poker boom came before Chris Moneymaker and his memorable victory at the World Series of Poker in 2003.

In the early ’90s when ESPN broadcasted the WSOP action live in the early hours of the morning, Ruddock was one of the few watching the games live. Since that was the first time a big television network manifested interest for the game, he chose to tape the WSOP coverage. Over the last decade, poker made its baby steps over the Internet and this period of time is what he regards as the pre-Poker Boom

But he refused to get stuck into an ageing world and embraced all the novelty of online poker. By being a part of the game in all its stages, it is easier for Ruddock to identify those key moments that pushed online poker into overdrive. While most cling to the idea that Chris Moneymaker’s victory was the genesis of the Poker Boom, Steve thinks of that moment as a tipping point.

He believes that the triumph itself was just the result of a constant buildup of enthusiasm and makes a very inspired comparison with the eruption of a volcano. While people see only the explosion and focus almost entirely on the eruption, they can neglect all the factors that led to these visually impressive moments. In order to support his theory, Steve brings up a couple of things that happened before the World Series of Poker 2003, which had a significant impact.

One such key moment, he claims, is the creation of the 2+2 and similar forums, where poker professionals and amateurs alike came together to discuss the game. These websites provided aspiring players with a reliable source of information that helped them hone their skills much faster than by employing a trial and error process. According to Ruddock, the movie Rounders was released in 1998 and even though its educational value was low, it created a glamorous image to poker that convinced many players to jump on the bandwagon.

Ruddock concludes that Chris Moneymaker’s triumph was merely a catalyst for online poker, which actually started in 1998.