A Chip and a Champion - Chris Moneymaker Wins GG MILLION$ LIVE in Montenegro

The 2003 World Series of Poker champion Chris Moneymaker took home the second-largest score of his poker career last night as he won the 2024 Triton Super High Roller Series GGMillion$ title for $903,000. The GGMillion$ online series, which costs $10,300 to play and is the highlight of the week for online poker’s finest high rollers, made it to Montenegro this week. The live version of the event, which has proven so popular in the past, saw an incredible 163 entries put down $25,000 (including re-entries). 

Ivey Misses the Final Stages

With so many great players in attendance, there were always going to be some high-profile players who ended up with their noses pressed to the metaphorical goldfish bowl, looking in on the action. There was over $4 million in the prize pool and as a result, there was huge pressure on the money bubble. As it happened, it was a pivotal one, with the eventual winner Moneymaker surviving from a single chip when his ace-jack rivered an ace against the pocket queens of Biao Ding.

Players who reached the money but not the final table included other champions, with Americans Seth Davies (26th for $41,000) and Nick Petrangelo (21st for $44,800) followed from the felt by the 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey, who came 14th for $61,100. The 2019 WSOP Main Event winner Hossein Ensan came 13th for $67,200 before American high roller specialist Byron Kaverman (10th for $77,500) bubbled the final table. 

Once the final nine were reached, another American was the first out, as Isaac Haxton, one of 2023’s most successful players, busted. Moving all in with pocket nines, Haxton lost to Biao Ding’s pocket jacks, cashing for $91,300. Soon, eight became seven as the Norwegian player Morten Klein busted for a score of $110,500. All-in with jack-queen, he was shot down by Brian Kim’s ace-seven.

Adrian Mateos Rivered in Bad Beat

Seven players remained, and by now, Moneymaker was starting to climb the ranks. The one player who hails from Great Britain, the popular professional Lewis Spencer, crashed out for $153,000 in seventh place. All-in with pocket threes, he fell to Moneymaker’s pocket nines as the ACR Pro steadily put himself in a position to claim victory.

The Spanish player Adrian Mateos – a multiple WSOP bracelet winner himself – soon committed all of his chips with pocket jacks. Called by Brian Kim with pocket threes, Mateos looked in excellent shape for a full double-up. But a three on the river was a devastating two-outer elimination instead and Mateos was crestfallen to win $209,500 in sixth place. 

The Serbian Danilo Velasevic won $272,000 in fifth place after losing with same hand as Mateos. Shoving pre-flop with jacks, it was Brian Kim again who ousted the player with the fishhooks, his ace-queen turning an ace this time to reduce the field to four players. With a $903,000 top prize on offer, the stakes were high as the last quartet of players battled to take the title.

Moneymaker Celebrates Epic Comeback Victory

It was the Chinese player Biao Ding who missed out, falling in fourth place for $341,000. All-in with ace-ten to Brian Kim’s ace-king, he was not able to catch up. Missing out on the heads-up at the last was the Ukrainian player Igor Yaroshevskyy. He moved all-in when short with queen-three and saw Chris Moneymaker’s ace-eight hold. The Ukraine player cashed for $419,000 in third place. 

Heads-up, Moneymaker’s 51 big blinds were some way clear of Brian Kim’s 30 bigs and after the third hand of play, it was all over. Moneymaker opened the betting with ace-ten then called Kim’s shove with ace-eight. A ten on the flop made it a very safe runout for Moneymaker, who was never in doubt that he’d win through.

“I wasn’t going to lose today,” he said after getting the better of his heads-up opponent. “I could have put it in with any hand and I would have won. I ran pure. I hit a three-outer, a six outer. I thought to myself, ‘You know what, this is going to be [like] 2003. I’m not going to lose any more hands today.’”

Moneymaker admitted that he doesn’t play many high-roller events, but due to the quality of his experience, he might well return to the Triton Poker Tour. 

“I don’t play a whole lot of high rollers, but when I do I enjoy it – I’m sure I’ll be back out at a Triton stop. They do a really good job. It’s insane how well they run tournaments.”

Here’s how Triton announced the winner of the Montenegro GGMillion$ Live Event for $903,000.

1stChris MoneymakerUnited States$903,000
2ndBrian KimUnited States$609,000
3rdIgor YaroshevskyyUkraine$419,000
4thDing BiaoChina$341,000
5thDanilo VelasevicSerbia$272,000
6thAdrian MateosSpain$209,500
7thLewis SpencerUnited Kingdom$153,500
8thMorten KleinNorway$110,500
9thIsaac HaxtonUnited States$91,300


About the Author: Paul Seaton has written about poker for over 10 years, interviewing some of the best players ever to play the game such as Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth. Over the years, Paul has reported live from tournaments such as the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas and the European Poker Tour. He has also written for other poker brands where he was Head of Media, as well as BLUFF magazine, where he was Editor.