The WSOP has announced its short list of Hall of Fame nominees for 2016.
Chris Moneymaker, Carlos Mortensen, and eight also-rans
The World Series of Poker has announced the ten names that will be on the ballot for this year’s Hall of Fame inductions. It’s a list full of talent, personality and popularity, so it should be a close race. Unfortunately, the operative word is should, because with the way the voting system is structured, what will almost inevitably happen is what has happened in previous years, namely that the current Hall of Famers, led by Daniel Negreanu, will vote in people close to them, further tightening their lock on the voting in the process.
Out of this year’s nominees, then, by far the most likely contenders to make it in are Chris Moneymaker and Carlos Mortensen. If you don’t believe that’s a foregone conclusion, or wish to pretend it isn’t, here is the full list:
•Chris Bjorin: The old man of Swedish poker, Bjorin has the longevity and the consistency in results to be a good inclusion in the Hall of Fame, whether now or some time in the future.
•Humberto Brenes: The “Shark” from Costa Rica, Brenes is known for his outgoing personality and an outstanding track record at the WSOP specifically, including the second-most Main Event cashes of any player.
•Todd Brunson: As the son of Doyle, it’s pretty likely that the younger Brunson will be in the Hall of Fame eventually, and could even be taken over Mortensen this year. Aside from his lineage, probably his biggest claim to fame is his numerous ultra high-stakes matches against poker’s biggest whale, Andrew Beale.
•Eli Elezra: Although very much still active on the poker scene, Elezra was probably better known a decade ago, when he was one of the regulars on High Stakes Poker. That said, he won his second and third WSOP bracelets in 2013 and 2015 respectively, and last year’s series was great for him overall.
•Bruno Fitoussi: Fitoussi is a rare example of someone equally well-known as a player and as an industry figure. He was instrumental in introducing Texas Hold’em to his native France, but is also 8th on that country’s all-time money list, with $2.8 million in winnings.
•Chris Moneymaker: I’d be very surprised if anyone reading the Hit and Run doesn’t know who this is. Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main Event after qualifying via an online satellite, kicking off the poker boom and shaping the poker landscape for a decade to come. He may not have achieved quite as much since then, but it’s called the Hall of Fame, and fame is definitely one thing he has in spades.
•Carlos Mortensen: The Spanish-born Las Vegan has one of the most consistent track records you’ll find, particularly in the World Poker Tour. He’s also the only player to have won both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship event. It’s hard to imagine why he hasn’t been inducted already, and equally hard to imagine he won’t get in this year.
•Max Pescatori: The “Italian Pirate” is hugely popular in his native country, but it’s hard to make a strong case for his inclusion in the Hall of Fame. The nominees are chosen via open online voting, and his inclusion this year and last is likely due more to the enthusiasm and patriotism of Italian poker fans than anything else.
•Matt Savage: Savage is the founder of the Tournament Directors’ Association and the Executive Tour Director for the WPT. He’s widely regarded as the foremost authority on tournament rulings and structures and has been hugely influential throughout the live tournament world.
•David Ulliott: Many felt that “the Devilfish” should have been inducted last year, in the wake of his passing. There’s no shortage of good stories about Ulliott, but if he couldn’t make it in last year, when sentimentality about his life and death were at a peak, it’s hard to see him getting the induction this time around.
Excerpt from Alex Weldon’s post on Part TIme Poker – September 10, 2016