Carlos Mortensen and Todd Brunson Elected to Poker Hall of Fame

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Carlos Mortensen and Todd Brunson are the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2016 (WPT photos)

The Poker Hall of Fame officially has two more members as Carlos Mortensen and Todd Brunson were announced as the Poker HOF Class of 2016 on Thursday morning.

The two were chosen by the voting panel consisting of living members of the Poker Hall of Fame and select media members. WSOP officials, who oversee the PHOF, called the 2016 voting process the closest in years.

Mortensen and Brunson will be officially inducted on October 26 at a ceremony at Binion’s Gambling Hall in Downtown Las Vegas.

Mortensen is the only player in history to have won the World Series of Poker Main Event and the World Poker Tour World Championship and is also the leading money winner in WPT history, having won $6,738,670.

In 2001, Mortensen topped a 613-player field, and a final table that included Mike Matusow, Phil Hellmuth, and runner-up Dewey Tomko, to capture the WSOP Main Event for the first major win of his career. Two years later he captured his second WSOP bracelet in a $5,000 Limit Hold’em event.

Mortensen is also one of only three players to have won three WPT titles. His first came in 2004 when he won the inaugural Doyle Brunson North American Poker Championship at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. In 2007 he won the WPT World Championship at Bellagio for $3,970,415 – the largest single score of his career. He then won the Hollywood Poker Open in 2010 for his third WPT title.

“I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years,” said Mortensen. “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.”

Mortensen is the first European-born player to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.

While Mortensen has been the model of success for tournament players of his era, Brunson has found the most success at the highest stakes cash games available. The son of poker legend Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson was a key figure in the heads-up limit hold’em matches against Texas billionaire banker Andy Beal in 2004 and 2006. In 2015 he reportedly won $5 million from Beal in 2015 inside Bobby’s Room at Bellagio.

Brunson has had some tournament success over the course of his career. He won his only WSOP bracelet in 2005, beating 358 other players to win a $2,500 buy-in Omaha Hi-Lo event. He’s had two runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes in WSOP events over the course of his career. His lifetime tournament earnings of $4,291,671 put him 69th on the all-time list.

“It’s a true honor to be inducted by my peers into this prestigious institution,” said Brunson. “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.

Todd and Doyle Brunson are the only father-son combination in the Poker Hall of Fame.

The eight nominees that were not inducted this year, Chris Bjorin, Humberto Brenes, Eli Elezra, Bruno Fitoussi, Chris Moneymaker, Max Pescatori, Matt Savage and David Ulliott are eligible for nomination in 2017 and beyond.