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Sep 15, 2016

2016 Poker Hall of Fame Nominees Announced - Who’s Getting In?

By RTR Dennis

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The 10 nominees for the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame class have been announced. And once again, there are some very worthy candidates among the nominees. That said, let’s look at who’s up for vote, what the Poker HOF voting requirements are, and who has a good chance of getting in.

2016 Poker HOF Nominees

Chris Bjorin – Although he’s kept a relatively low profile, Bjorin is a very deserving candidate and one of the first great European poker players. The Swede started playing live tournaments in the 1980s and earned two WSOP gold bracelets in 1997 and 2000. Overall, Bjorin has $5.85 million in tournament winnings.

Humberto Brenes – The 65-year-old has been around poker for a long time, having started in the 1970s. He won two gold bracelets at the 1993 WSOP and has over $6.13 in tourney winnings. The Costa Rican is also known for his iconic ‘shark’ image and frequently carries shark toys as good luck.

Todd Brunson – Following in the footsteps of his father and HOF member Doyle Brunson, Todd has carved a successful poker career out for himself too. He has $4.29 million in tourney earnings, a WSOP bracelet, and regularly participates in Vegas’ biggest cash games.

Eli Elezra – An Israeli army lieutenant, Elezra learned poker while he had a leg injury. The Jerusalem native turned his hobby into a legendary career that includes 3 gold bracelets, $3.05 million in tournament winnings, and appearances on TV shows like High Stakes Poker.

Bruno Fitoussi – While Fitoussi may have won less money in tourneys ($2.8m), the Frenchman has been a very important ambassador for poker. He’s inspired thousands of his countrymen to pick up the game.

Chris Moneymaker – Some hail Moneymaker as the guy who started the poker boom after he won the 2003 WSOP Main Event along with $2.5 million. What stood out about Moneymaker was his rise from an accountant background and $40 online poker satellite to becoming a champion. He has $3.61 million in lifetime winnings.

Carlos Mortensen – The 44-year-old is the only Spaniard to win the WSOP Main Event, doing so in 2001 ($1.5m). He’s also one of the few poker players to have won 3 WPT titles. With almost $12 million in tournament earnings, Mortensen is a solid HOF candidate.

Max Pescatori – Nicknamed the ‘Italian Pirate,’ Pescatori has earned $4.28 million in tourneys. His crowning achievement came at the 2015 WSOP, when he collected two bracelets.

Matt Savage – The only non-player (contributor) on this list, Savage served as tournament director of the WSOP from 2002-04, guiding the organization through the early part of the poker boom. He’s also helped with several poker TV shows and currently serves as a WPT tournament director.

Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott – Ulliott tragically passed away last year after losing his battle with cancer. But the Brit will always be remembered for inspiring others to play poker through his charisma and humor. Ulliott finished his career with $6.29 million in live tourney winnings.

What Are the Voting Requirements?

The above nominees will be voted on by a 45-person panel, including 20 media members and 25 living Poker HOF members. Once the inductees are finalized, they’ll enter into the HOF on October 26th at Binion’s Casino.

Those who meet the requirements for induction must be at least 40 years old, have dominated high stakes poker, and have made crucial contributions to helping poker grow (non-players).

Among the 10 nominees, 7 have been up for induction before, including Bjorin, Brenes, Fitoussi, Mortensen, Pescatori, Savage, and Ulliott. Those who are appearing on their first ballot include Brunson, Elezra, and Moneymaker.

Who’s Getting Into the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame Class?

Like last year, when John Juana and Jennifer Harman were inducted into the Poker HOF, it’ll come down to 2 players who get the nod. And while there doesn’t have to be two players who get in, we think that 2016 will be another year with two nominees.

But who are they?

We believe that it’ll be a 3-person race between Devilfish, Chris Moneymaker, and Carlos Mortensen.

Moneymaker is a shoo-in due to the fact that he was the banner man for the poker boom. There were multiple other factors besides an everyday accountant winning the WSOP that led to this boom, but Moneymaker as no doubt the face of it all.

The second selection is much closer, but if we’re judging just based on accomplishments, then Mortensen will be the second player getting into the HOF. He won the WSOP ME along with 3 WPT events and he continues to produce impressive tourney results.

There was an emotional push for Ulliott to get in last year after he passed away. And we definitely that that he’ll be nominated within the next few years due, just not in 2016.