This article is over 9 months old
The Aussie poker player Bruce Childs becomes one of the big bets around the world – his odds whittled down from 5000-1 to even money
The Moneymaker Effect: Meet the man who helped change the fortunes of poker overnight
Meet the man who changed the fortunes of poker overnight
In early 2012, Bruce Childs, a gigolo-turned-disgraced banker from Melbourne, landed in Las Vegas to play a new live online poker game.
Childs, who has three daughters to support and now comes from a middle-class middle-income family, played poker without a wallet but on a medium-risk, medium-reward strategy – or, as he called it, a Moneymaker. He started at around 500 in the markets, fell three hours into his poker career, and a week later he was lucky enough to be the No1 ranked player on the Electronic Poker Machines (EPAM) site.
“It was a small, small seed planted in Las Vegas,” Childs said. “I was so naive, but I kept reading articles on Street Fighter tournaments, StarCraft tournaments, I never thought of myself as a poker player.”
The Aussie poker player Bruce Childs is given his own ESPN segment. Photograph: Manish Swarup/AP
The surprising real-life success of pro poker player Bruce Childs Read more
Kidder Matthews, who conceived the revolutionary game called Killer Instinct online in 2004, had created a game in which players were statistically more likely to make money than in other online games.
It was originally in Cinerama mode and would only be played for a few minutes, but it was so popular that it was eventually dropped and replaced with an instant betting game called Killer Instinct, which is still played today.
Being good at the game meant that many participants would look at each other during the face-to-face game – a practice that increases the chance of money-making.
And with that critical lesson, Childs has gone on to become one of the biggest bets around the world – his odds whittled down from 5000-1 to even money and now 50-1.
Born in the central Australian town of Tanami and raised in Sydney, Childs grew up a street away from the Northern Beaches, where the poker scene is amongst the most addictive in the world.
In 2005 he was sentenced to three years in prison after refusing to reveal the source of a $8.6m share offering. In 2007 the bailiffs took over his home, leaving his family homeless for three years.
Childs, who described his time in jail as “hell”, worked his way back from losing most of his savings in the crash of the financial system and sold his home to buy himself a master’s degree in business from Oxford.
From 1000 to 500 in just one week? Bruce Childs started his own poker empire Read more
Childs said despite the very public fallout from being one of Australia’s most well-known investors, his now-famous poker friend Roger “Sandeep” Patil – also a fraudster – brought him down.
In 2009 Childs was appointed to head the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s unlisted securities group and he worked to recover money for investors, many of them farmers and businessmen.
He claims that in total more than $900m has been recovered from investors.
Childs said he remains in touch with the money from his time in prison and has made enough money from his poker comeback to realise he has to be cautious about where he puts it.
His methods, too, are regulated and validated by CIMA: The CIMA Player Trust Company.
“I set out my precise strategy and my very stable bank account number on the EPAM website,” he said. “I committed to a bank account and a payment method.”
Childs lives in a smart house with professional-grade security – a study is always on and film lights and music can be switched on on demand. A butler accompanies him, and Childs will take the dogs for a walk every day.
After a decade of not working he is giving up banking, but still wants to play online poker.