Following months of public nominations and scrutiny by the WSOP´s Governing Council, the final ten candidates for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame have been announced. Existing Hall of Famers and an 18-member media panel now have five days to vote on who should be inducted into poker´s most exclusive club.
The final ten candidates for induction into the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame will be familiar to many. Eight of the ten finalists have reached this stage before, and the two first-time candidates – John Hennigan and David Oppenheim – are regulars on the Las Vegas and Los Angeles poker circuits.
Due to the Vegas-centric nature of the WSOP Hall of Fame, the two first-time candidates might not be disadvantaged by their relatively young ages (48 years and 45 years respectively), but they will face stiff competition for induction into poker´s most exclusive club from the other candidates – most of whom are familiar names beyond the southwest corner of the United States.
The Ten Poker Hall of Fame Finalists
In 2009, Mike Sexton was the last sole inductee into the WSOP Hall of Fame. Since then, two candidates have been selected each year to take their places alongside those considered to have been consistently outstanding players or who have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker. The ten Poker Hall of Fame finalists for 2018 are:
- Chris Bjorin – Originally from Sweden, Bjorin has been a regular at most of the world´s leading poker tours for more than thirty years. Among his many achievements, Bjorin has two WSOP bracelets and 92 WSOP cashes.
- David Chui – Chiu evolved from a dealer to a player in his twenties and has since gone on to claim five WSOP bracelets and a WPT title. As well as being a regular in Las Vegas, Chui is also a feared cash game player at the high roller tables in Macau.
- Mori Eskandani – Formerly a noted high stakes cash game player in the 1980s, Eskandani is nowadays better known for his work producing poker content for ESPN. His credits include the WSOP telecasts, Poker after Dark, and the National Heads-Up Championship.
- Bruno Fitoussi – A regular among the finalists for induction, Fitoussi is credited with bringing Texas Hold´em to France and helping raise the profile of the game throughout Europe. He is also a successful player, with more than $2.8 million in recorded winnings.
- John Hennigan – The first of this year´s “new boys” has a creditable playing history many would be envious of. Predominantly a tournament player, Hennigan has forty WSOP cashes – including five victories – contributing more than $5.5 million to his career winnings.
- Mike Matusow – It is hard to believe this dealer-turned-player is only fifty years of age, as Mike “The Mouth” Matusow has seventeen WSOP Final Tables to his name with four victories contributing to $9.4 million career tournament earnings.
- Chris Moneymaker – Most people credit Moneymaker for the phenomenal growth of online poker following the satellite winner´s victory in the 2003 WSOP Main Event. Not necessarily a shoe-in for induction despite being one of the game´s greatest ambassadors.
- David Oppenheim – Oppenheim is one of the least-known candidates for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame due to his strength in cash games and limited tournament participation. Nonetheless, he has clearly earned the respect of his peers and deserves his finalist´s spot.
- Matt Savage – Savage is probably the best-known of all tournament directors and is well-respected for his player-friendly style of governance. Savage is a founder of the Tournament Directors Association which advocates for standardized poker tournament rules.
- Huck Seed – Huck Seed is another well-established tournament player with a string of notable successes to his name – not only in the States, but throughout Europe as well – where he appeared in many televised poker games while a Full Tilt sponsored pro.
How the Inductees are Decided
The list of ten finalists is now distributed to the 28 existing Hall of Famers and an 18-member media panel. Each of the 46 “judges” will score the candidates with a mark of between one and ten. Their voting papers have to be returned to the WSOP´s Governing Council by next Monday, when the marks will be added up and the winners determined. Those chosen to enter the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame will be inducted during the WSOP Main Event telecast on July 13th.