The story of this year’s World Series of Poker belongs to the 46-year old Darvin Moon. A logger from the small town of Oakland, Maryland, he has become the everyman’s poker icon similar to Chris Moneymaker in 2003. However, in many ways, Darvin Moon is different.
Moon learned to play poker with his grandfather with whom he played seven-card stud. However, it was not until three years ago that he learned the game of Texas Hold ‘Em. He began to play poker more often to raise money for local fire stations and other charities.
After winning a $130 qualifier in his neighboring state of West Virginia, Darvin faced a difficult decision. “The economy is bad and the logging business is terrible. I thought I would go out and get my $10,000, instead of playing,” describes Moon. He rode his first airplane to visit Las Vegas for the first time in his life. After visiting the Rio’s Amazon Room and witnessing the allure of the World Series of Poker, Moon signed up for the tournament. Moon’s wife and brother both supported his decision to enter the tournament. His brother’s response to Moon’s dilemma was, “You’re a fool. Play. We don’t need that $10,000 in the business.”
His improbable eight day run of cards sent him to the final table. “That is the way my whole tournament went. All eight days, no matter what I did, it worked out,” said Moon of his tournament heater. After those eight days, Moon made the final table and was guaranteed at least $1.26 million. As humble as he always is, he stated, “I never imagined I’d have to go back.”
The cards continued to hit Moon as he won second place in 2009’s World Series of Poker along with $5.1 million. Asked what he will do with his money, he promises his life would not change: “I’ve got to be back to work Friday. I’ve got a piece of timber I’ve got to buy.”
Moon is ready to see his life go back to normal. He surprised the poker world when he proclaimed he would not be signing an endorsement deal with any online poker room. Moon explained, “They want you to sign a contract where, they say, they own you for a year…There is not enough money in the world for someone to tell me what to do.”
Darvin Moon’s humility and to keep at his old lifestyle has won the poker world’s affection. He will be back to work on Friday and playing in “Greg’s biweekly tournament down at the Elks, with Joey and Kevin and Mama Marley and them.” The entry fee? $30.