Spring Hill, Tenn. (June 2, 2003) -- Accountant Chris Moneymaker lived up to his name last month when he won $2.5 million -- the grand prize in the 34th annual World Series of Poker's No Limit Texas Hold'em event in Las Vegas.

Moneymaker, 27, is the first online poker player to win the popular event – held yearly at Binion’s Horseshoe Casino on the Las Vegas strip.

The chief financial officer for a Tennessee restaurant group sat for the CPA exam just before entering the tournament (he’s still awaiting the results), and plans to keep on working.

“I just want to get back to a normal life and hear back about my exam,” he said. “I’m definitely going to work, but probably not for a firm. I like being in the restaurant business and already know what it’s like to work with the big firms, which is where I had several restaurant clients.”

Moneymaker has had some tax work experience, but his expertise is in information systems auditor. Prior to entering the restaurant business, he worked at the former Arthur Andersen, as well as KPMG, and Deloitte & Touche.

As for his winnings, the accountant already did some financial planning on his own. He has already decided to donate $25,000 to cancer research, pay off his house and other bills, give some to his family, set up a 529 college savings plan for his three-month-old daughter, and “put whatever is left into the bank.”

Moneymaker is seeking help setting up the savings plan as well as a long-term capital gains plan for his winnings from Nashville-based CPA firm Kruse & Associates.

He added that he is not a professional gambler, but has been playing poker for seven years -- three of which have been on several poker Web sites -- because he “likes thinking games and taking risks in life.”

-- Seth Fineberg

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