Phil Ivey And David Ulliott Are The Newest Members Of The Poker Hall Of Fame

Steve Ruddock July 24, 2017 1496 Reads
Poker Hall of Fame

During a break in the action at the World Series of Poker Main Event final table, the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2017 was announced on Saturday night. Phil Ivey and the late David “Devilfish” Ulliott got the nod over eight other finalists: David Chiu, Mori Eskandani, Ted Forrest, Thor Hansen, Mike Matusow, Max Pescatori, Matt Savage and Huckleberry Seed.

The poker world seemed contented with both choices.

Ivey was a no-brainer

Ivey’s induction was a foregone conclusion. Ivey was almost universally considered the best poker on the planet for a span of over a decade.

From 2000 – 2015, Ivey won 10 WSOP bracelets, was the winningest cash game player in online poker history and was widely believed to be the winningest live cash game player over that period of time.

Basically, Ivey had zero weaknesses.

He dominated live and online poker. He dominated tournaments and cash games. And he could play any game.

He’s been MIA from the poker scene for a couple of years, but that had little impact on his chances of getting the Hall of Fame call the second he was eligible. Ivey isn’t simply a Hall of Famer, he’s a Poker Mount Rushmore type of player.

Ulliott a deserving, but more controversial choice

If you’re a stats voter Ulliott was probably far down your list. However, poker results being what they are – difficult to track and even harder to accurately assess – if you add impact to the equation, “The Devilfish” possesses as strong a resume as anyone, and largely credited for kick starting the poker boom in England and Europe.

Devilfish was a character in a world of characters.

Brash, always willing to risk it all, and never one to back down from a verbal altercation, Devilfish personified the public perception of a professional gambler. That made him a poker superstar, albeit a polarizing one.

Love him or hate him, Devilfish was a gambler’s poker player, and one of the most colorful players the game has ever seen.

Contributors snubbed again

For the third consecutive year, contributors have been relegated to the end of the line by Hall of Fame voters. Despite some strong candidates like Savage and Eskandani, no contributor has made the Hall of Fame cut since tournament director Jack McClelland was inducted in 2014.

Early favorites for 2018

Expect to see most of the 2017 finalists back in contention next year. This year’s finalists were strong top to bottom, and will likely all continue to be nominated and inducted in the coming years.

My early favorite for the 2018 Poker Hall of Fame is Chiu. Chiu may not be a household name, but he’s a terrific all-around player who has the respect of his peers.

And considering the three-year drought, I expect at least one contributor to find themselves up on the podium receiving one of poker’s highest honors.

For a deeper dive into some of the other deserving players, you can read our 2017 Poker Hall of Fame preview piece here.

The Poker Hall of Fame

The list of Poker Hall Of Famers now numbers 54.

They are:

  1. Red Winn ‘79
  2. Sid Wyman ‘79
  3. Edmond Hoyle ‘79
  4. Felton McCorquodale ‘79
  5. Nick Dandolos ‘79
  6. Johnny Moss ‘79
  7. James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok ‘79
  8. T “Blondie” Forbes ‘80
  9. Bill Boyd ‘81
  10. Tom Abdo ‘82
  11. Joe Bernstein ‘83
  12. Murph Harrold ‘84
  13. Red Hodges ‘85
  14. Henry Green ‘86
  15. Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson ‘87
  16. Jack “Treetop” Straus ‘88
  17. Doyle Brunson ‘88
  18. Fred “Sarge” Ferris ‘89
  19. Benny Binion ‘90
  20. David “Chip” Reese ‘91
  21. Thomas Austin “Amarillo Slim” Preston ‘92
  22. Jack Keller ‘93
  23. Julius Oral Popwell ‘96
  24. Roger Moore ‘97
  25. Stu “The Kid” Ungar ‘01
  26. Lyle Berman ‘02
  27. Johnny Chan ‘02
  28. Bobby Baldwin ‘03
  29. Berry Johnston ‘04
  30. Crandell Addington ‘05
  31. Jack Binion ‘05
  32. J. Cloutier ‘06
  33. Billy Baxter ‘06
  34. Phil Hellmuth ‘07
  35. Barbara Enright ‘07
  36. Duane “Dewey” Tomko ‘08
  37. Henry Orenstein ‘08
  38. Mike Sexton ‘09
  39. Dan Harrington ‘10
  40. Erik Seidel ‘10
  41. Barry Greenstein ‘11
  42. Linda Johnson ‘11
  43. Eric Drache ‘12
  44. Brian “Sailor” Roberts ‘12
  45. Scotty Nguyen ‘13
  46. Tom McEvoy ‘13
  47. Daniel Negreanu ‘14
  48. Jack McClelland ‘14
  49. John Juanda ‘15
  50. Jennifer Harman ‘15
  51. Carlos Mortensen ‘16
  52. Todd Brunson ‘16
  53. David “Devilfish” Ulliott ‘17
  54. Phil Ivey ‘17