Darvin Moon is just a logger from Oakland, Maryland. He won his 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event seat in a $130 qualifier in Wheeling, West Virginia, and, until his brother told him not to, was going to instead take the $10,000 cash and invest in his logging business that he runs with his brother and brother in-law. Darvin Moon does not impress himself, having said that his amazing run to the chip lead of the Main Event has been the result of getting smacked in the face with the deck and that 6,300 players in the tournament were better than him.
He also said that he has “always been poor” and that whatever amount of money he ends up winning (he is already guaranteed over $1.2 million) won’t change him. Interestingly, though, Moon is the only member of this year’s November Nine who has not and quite possibly will not wear any online poker room logos for the purpose of earning some extra cash. With players and poker rooms alike typically clamoring to strike deals, Moon’s refusal to do so has elicited many questions from the poker community. The main one is: “Why?”
For Moon it is simply the desire to do what he wants to do with his life. After the World Series of Poker ends, he just wants to go home, get back to work, and resume his anonymous life. He does not want to get roped into a contract with an online poker room because he just does not want to be obligated to make appearances and play in poker tournaments all over the world. He wants to be home.
Moon’s logo-free presence is not unprecedented, even in the age of online poker. Richard Lee, the sixth place finisher in the Main Event at the 2006 WSOP, kept his sweatshirt free of advertisements so everyone could see “San Antonio” stitched across his chest. His pride in his home town took precedence over money.
Now I have a question for myself: “Would I sign a deal?” I don’t know. I guess it depends. Nothing against the poker rooms, but I would love to just wear my own clothes (and no hat) if I ever make the final table of the WSOP Main Event. I would also feel a bit uncomfortable sporting the gear of a poker room that is not my favorite. But we all have a price – I’m just not sure what mine is.
If I knew I was already a millionaire, there’s a chance that an offer as “low” as $10,000 or so would not sway me if I didn’t have a deal already. But would $100,000 be enough to buy me? Very possibly – I just spent $40,000 on renovations to my house and have two kids that will want to go to college some day (I know $100,000 won’t go that far at Harvard, but it’s something). $200,000? $500,000? $1 million?
Darvin Moon is rumored to have been offered a $1 million endorsement deal by PokerStars, which he turned down. I think that if almost any poker room – PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Cake Poker, or Party Poker, for example (well, not Party Poker, since I’m American) came up to me after I made the final table and offered me a million bucks to throw on a branded hat and polo shirt, I’d say, “Where do I sign?” That and the prize money at the final table would be life changing money for me, so yeah, I’d almost certainly take it.
People have been trying to make Darvin Moon’s lack of sponsorship an argument of integrity versus stupidity. In reality, it’s neither. It is his life, his decision. And while I say that, I do think that he should take a lucrative offer if he can avoid having to travel all over the place representing the poker room. There are a lot of good things he can do with the extra money. But his refusal to make a deal does not make him dumb, just like making one does not show a lack of integrity.

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