The World Series of Poker announced the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2016 today.
Todd Brunson and Carlos Mortensen will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, October 26, during a special banquet at the birthplace of the World Series of Poker, Binion’s Gambling Hall in Las Vegas.
This year’s finalists were:
- Chris Bjorin
- Humberto Brenes
- Todd Brunson
- Eli Elezra
- Bruno Fitoussi
- Chris Moneymaker
- Carlos Mortensen
- Max Pescatori
- Matt Savage
- David “Devilfish” Ulliott
Carlos Mortensen seemed like a shoe-in this year, as the poker world seems to have finally come to the realization he is arguably the most successful tournament player in poker history.
Mortensen won the 2001 WSOP Main Event, then picked up a second bracelet and three World Poker Tour titles (including the Season 5 WPT Championship in 2007) in the ensuing years. Mortensen also finished 10th in the 2013 WSOP Main Event, and has nearly $12 million in career tournament earnings, despite playing far fewer events than most of his contemporaries.
“I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years,” Mortensen said after getting the Hall of Fame nod. “This game has given me so many things that I have come to cherish. I’ve always wanted to be included among the great players who make up the Poker Hall of Fame. To be included with the legends makes me very happy. I want to thank my friends, the poker fans, and all the people who vote for me. I take this honor very seriously.”
Todd Brunson is the son of a living legend — Doyle Brunson — and is considered one of the top cash game players of his era. Still he is the surprise pick — not undeserving, but somewhat surprising — considering this was the first time he was nominated despite being eligible for seven years and the impressive resumes of some of the other nominees.
Brunson is perhaps best known to the masses for the role he played in the Andy Beal games author Michael Craig recounted in the book The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King.
“It’s a true honor to be inducted by my peers into this prestigious institution,” Brunson said in press release announcing this year’s Hall of Fame class. “I literally grew up attending these ceremonies and have always respected and admired its members. To join their ranks is the honor of a lifetime.”
Doyle and Todd Brunson are the first father and son duo in the Poker Hall of Fame.[i15-table tableid=20717][i15-table tableid=19346]
The most glaring omission is Chris Moneymaker.
Moneymaker’s player resume is a bit light, but most consider him to be in the contributor category, where he’s arguably the most influential name in poker history.
Moneymaker’s future prospects for the Hall of Fame will likely rest on what prism Hall of Fame voters view him, and whether the World Series of Poker cleans up the language in its Hall of Fame criteria.
Is the Hall of Fame process broken?
The past two years hae seen a lot of criticism and debate take place when it comes to the nomination and induction process the Poker Hall of Fame uses. Some people have been taking a larger view of a person’s accomplishments both on and off the felt, and others have taken the same line as strict constitutionalists when it comes to the criteria for Hall of Fame selection. The rules are the rules.
To be clear, no one really adheres to the criteria, because the criteria are vague and subjective.
For instance, Doyle Brunson is one of those “constitutionalists” who believes the rules must be followed to the letter of law, but then added his own opinion that cash game success (not tournament success) is an important measure, even though there is zero mention of tournaments or cash games in the criteria.
In the end, the fix seems obvious enough, and would likely put an end to most of the criticism.
But will the Hall of Fame make these changes for next year?