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On Monday, the Poker Hall of Fame revealed their list of 10 finalists that will be considered for induction in 2018. After a public nomination process and vetting by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council the list of finalist have been deemed to fulfill the qualifications for induction. This year, the list of nominations include (in alphabetical order): Chris Bjorin David Chiu Mori Eskandani Bruno Fitoussi John Hennigan * Mike Matusow Chris Moneymaker David Oppenheim * Matt Savage Huckleberry Seed * First-time nominees The voting process is now turned over to the current 28-member Hall of Fame members as well as an 18-person “blue ribbon” panel of media members. These 46 voters will determine who will ultimately be inducted. The current criteria for consideration remain the same as in years past: - A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition - Be at a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination - Played for high stakes - Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers - Stood the test of time - For Non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results Official ballots will be sent to those who are eligible to vote with a deadline of July 8 for their votes to be received by the WSOP Governing Council. Then, once all the votes have been counted, the official inductees will be announced to the public. On July 13, in Las Vegas as a part of the WSOP Main Event Final Table festivities, the two honored recipients will officially become part of the Hall of Fame during the ESPN broadcast. Career Highlights of Finalists Chris Bjorin - One of Sweden's most celebrated poker players, Bjorin is a two-time bracelet winner with over $5.7 million in career earnings. David Chiu - Hailing from China, Chiu had accumulated five WSOP gold bracelets and a World Poker Tour title. His over $8 million in lifetime earnings currently has him sitting just inside the top 100 on the All-Time Money list. Mori Eskandani - A one-time high-stakes player in the 1980's, Eskandani is now known as the head of Poker PROductions, the production company responsible for seminal poker shows including High Stakes Poker, Poker After Dark and, currently, producing the WSOP on ESPN. Bruno Fitoussi - Fitoussi is credited for the introduction of Texas Hold'em in his native country of France. With over $2.8 million in lifetime earnings, Fitoussi has a runner-up finish in the 2007 $50K Poker Players Championship on his resume as well as being recognized as a key individual in getting poker televised in France. John Hennigan - The 2014 WSOP Poker Players Championship winner, Hennigan has a total of five bracelets and over $8 million in career earnings. Hennigan is known for being exceptional at all of the variants of poker. Mike Matusow - A consistent presence in early iterations of televised poker, Matusow is a four-time bracelet winner with over $9.4 million in career earnings. Matusow won the NBC Heads-Up Championship and has made the final table of the WSOP Main Event twice. Chris Moneymaker - The man whose victory was the spark that ignited the poker boom in 2003, Chris Moneymaker is a WSOP Main Event Champion. "The Moneymaker effect" is the common phrase used when discussing the massive mainstream popularity that poker enjoyed in the early 2000's as well as the inspiration for a generation of poker players. Moneymaker has been a long-time ambassador for PokerStars and for poker in general. He has accumulated over $3.7 million in lifetime earnings. David Oppenheim - A Los Angeles cash game pro, Oppenheim is considered a pro's pro with the respect that can only come when one has mastered most of the games in poker. He currently has $1.8 million in lifetime tournament earnings. Matt Savage - One of the inaugural, founders of the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), Savage is the Executive Tour Director for the World Poker Tour. One of the most vocal and consistent voices for standardization of poker rules, Savage has a player-friends style that has for years continues to move the game forward. Huckleberry Seed - Seed is a four-time bracelet winner with over $7.6 million in career tournament earnings. The 1996 WSOP Main Event Champion also has a victory in the NBC Heads-Up Championship as well as the 2010 WSOP Tournament of Champions. Seed was a regular presence on televised poker during the poker boom.
The 2019 Poker Hall of Fame finalists includes nine World Series of Poker bracelet winners, three former Main Event champions, and for the first time ever, a magician. Well, The Magician. Antonio Esfandiari, once known as 'The Magician, is the only first-time finalist in the group of 10 players selected by the WSOP Hall of Fame Committee that will now be voted on by living Hall of Fame members and a select panel of poker media and industry personnel. The top two vote-getters will be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame later this summer. Voters are tasked with considering the following criteria when awarding their votes: A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination Played for high stakes Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers Stood the test of time Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results. The other nine finalists are Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Eli Elezra, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Chris Moneymaker, David Oppenheim, and Huck Seed. The final group of 10 was put together by the "WSOP Hall of Fame Committee". In years past, the public was invited to submit names for inclusion with the 10 most-suggested names being the finalists. This marks Bjorin's seventh time as a finalist. No other player has been nominated as often as the two-time bracelet winning Swede. Now 71, Bjorin has earned $5.75 million in lifetime earnings. He's been nominated in seven of the last eight years. Chiu has now been a finalist six times, including the last three in a row. The 58-year-old has five WSOP bracelets, won the WPT World Championship in 2008, and has just over $8,000,000 in lifetime earnings. Ferguson, Moneymaker, and Seed are all former Main Event champions. For Ferguson, this marks a return to the list of finalists. His only previous nomination came in 2010, before Black Friday and the Full Tilt Poker scandal. He's since won WSOP Player of the Year, a sixth bracelet and cashed 65 more times. Moneymaker was previously a finalist in 2016 and 2018. The 2003 WSOP Main Event champion is credited with being an integral part of poker's explosion in popularity in the mid-2000s. So much so, that it's often called 'The Moneymaker Effect'. Seed has four bracelets, including the 1996 Main Event championship. He also won the 1998 Carnivale of Poker and the 2009 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Matusow, who has four WSOP bracelets, is a finalist for the fifth time. He won the 2013 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship and has just over $9.5 million in lifetime earnings. Six WSOP bracelets, an NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship title, and a World Poker Tour victory are just the highlights from Forrest's tournament resume. He was also an integral figure in the Andy Beal cash games in the mid-2000s. Fresh off of winning his fourth bracelet, Elezra's nomination is his second. He was a finalist first in 2016. Oppenheim is the only player nominated that has not won a WSOP bracelet. Mainly a cash game player, Oppenheim has $1,866,190 including just nine WSOP cashes, three of which came in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. The 2019 Poker Hall of Fame inductees will be announced during the WSOP Main Event in early July.
There were three more brand-new World Series of Poker bracelet winners crowned on Monday, but all of that was overshadowed by the emergence of one Phil Ivey in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Ivey took full advantage of the Day 2 registration opportunity and built his stack up to the top of chip counts. He was joined in the field by Tom Dwan, making his 2019 WSOP debut. Dash Dudley Brings Home $10,000 PLO Championship "No more min-cash Dash," That's what Dash Dudley had to say after he beat James Park heads-up to win the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Championship for a seven-figure score and his first career WSOP bracelet. Despite starting with the chip lead, Dudley knew the volatility of PLO could cause havoc at the final table and was prepared for any scenario that presented itself. “I knew stuff might happen. People might get chips and I might get short. [But] I feel real confident in PLO, even short," Dudley said. "Everyone gets real impatient in PLO when they're short-stacked, and it causes them to make some crucial mistakes. People will justify it as coolers, but they're really getting the money in at 20% or 30%. There's a lot of spots you can avoid." Dudley's previous best WSOP result came in 2010 when he finished eighth for $67,221. Park earned $671,802 for his runner-up finish. Final Table Payouts Dash Dudley - $1,086,967 James Park - $671,802 Joel Feldman - $463,814 Jeremy Ausm- $325,693 Kyle Montgomery - $232,680 Eoghan O'Dea - $169,173 Andrei Razov - $125,215 Will Jaffe - $94,380 Santiago Soriano Wins $800 No Limit Hold'em Deepstack Spaniard Santiago Soriano laid a bad beat on Amir Lehavot to finish off the $800 No Limit Hold'em Deepstack event on Tuesday night to win the first bracelet of his career. On the final hand of the tournament, Soriano raised to 5,000,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="th"] and Lehavot called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="as"]. All the money went in after the [poker card="tc"][poker card="8d"][poker card="3s"] flop with Lehavot at risk. The [poker card="ts"] moved Soriano into the lead and the [poker card="3d"] river only improved his hand to win the tournament. “It was surprising (Lehavot) had that big of a hand,” said Soriano. “I flopped top pair, and heads-up, top pair is very, very good. Then I bet pretty big and he raises, and I bet all-in and he has the aces. It was unfortunate for him that the ten was in there on the turn, but it was really amazing." Lehavot earned $229,410, the third biggest score of his WSOP career behind his $10,000 Pot Limit Hold'em Championship win in 2011, and his third-place finish in the 2013 WSOP Main Event. Third place finisher Benjamin Underwood earned $168,960 and added another feather in his impressive summer. Underwood, from Port Elgin, Ontario, has five WSOP cashes this summer. Along with baby cashes in the Big 50 and the Millionaire Maker, Underwood finished fourth in the $600 No Limit Hold'em Deepstack, fifth in the $800 No Limit Hold'em Deepstack. Final Table Payouts Santiago Soriano - $371,203 Amir Lehavot - $229,410 Benjamin Underwood - $168,960 Nick Blackburn - $125,432 Joao Barrosovalli - $93,866 Samuel Gagnon - $70,813 Daniele Dangelo - $53,858 Ori Hasson - $41,300 Jeffery Tahler - $31,933 Kevin Gerhart Wins $1,500 Razz Event Kevin Gerhart did almost all of the heavy lifting at the $1,500 Razz final table on his way to winning the first bracelet of his career and $119,054. Gerhart eliminated six of the last seven players. The 29-year-old Ohio native had a simple goal for his 2019 WSOP. "My goal this summer was just to make a final table, and the first final table you make, you win a bracelet? That’s unreal," Gerhart said. Sergio Braga finished runner-up for $73,577. Scott Clements finished sixth for $17,440 and earned 320.2 WSOP Player of the Year points which moved him into fourth place behind Upeshka De Silva, Jason Gooch, and current leader Dan Zack. Final Table Payouts Kevin Gerhart - $119,054 Sergio Braga - $73,577 Joseph Hoffman - $49,762 Andres Norbe Korn - $34,352 Jean Said - $24,216 Scott Clements - $17,440 Robert Campbell - $12,837 Grzegorz Wyraz - $9,663 Phil Ivey Leads $50,000 Poker Players Championship to Day 3 Don't look now poker fans, but Phil Ivey has the chip lead in one of the most prestigious events on the WSOP schedule. Ivey finished Day 2 of the $50,000 Poker Players Championship with 1,253,500 chips to edge out John Hennigan for the lead. Hennigan, who won this event in 2014, ended with 1,209,000. Only two other players, Chris Vitch and 2019 Poker Hall of Fame nominee David Oppenheim, ended the day with more than 1,000,000 in the bag. Josh Arieh, who started Day 2 with the lead, finished with 939,000 and the fifth best stack. The 38 remaining players in the field include an almost overwhelming number of notables. Isaac Haxton, Daniel Cates, Luke Schwartz, Shaun Deeb, David 'ODB' Baker, Jason Mercier, Prahlad Friedman, and Phil Galfond on moved onto Day 3. Action resumes 2 PM PT. Top Chip Counts Phil Ivey - 1,253,500 John Hennigan - 1,209,000 Christopher Vitch - 1,103,000 David Oppenheim - 1,062,000 Josh Arieh - 939,000 David Benyamine - 937,000 Matthew Ashton - 911,000 Robert Mackie - 900,000 Jared Bleznick - 829,000 Isaac Haxton - 802,000 Monster Stack Down to Six; Benjamin Ector Leads Benjamin Ector could be just a few hours of poker away from winning his first WSOP bracelet. Ector finished Day 4 of the $1,500 Monster Stack event with 84,300,000 and the chip lead with just six players remaining. Kainalu McCue-Unciano, who lead this event after Day 2, sits second with 68,300,000. Gregory Katayama bagged up 55,100,000 for the third best stack. There were 49 players still chasing the bracelet when the day began. Some of the notables who didn't make it through the day were Andrew Moreno, Ryan Hughes, and Tom Koral. Kevin Roster, who is playing in the WSOP to raise awareness for Sarcoma research, finished 38th. Action resumes at Noon PT. Final Table Chip Counts Benjamin Ector - 84,300,000 Kainalu McCue-Unciano - 68,300,000 Gregory Katayama - 55,100,000 Bart Hanson - 40,600,000 Vincent Chauve - 36,700,000 Igor Yaroshevskyy - 17,000,000 35 Teams Remain in $1,000 Tag Team Event The team of Chad Gieger, Daniel Dayan, and Barak Wisbrod sit on top of the chip counts in the $1,000 Tag Team event with just 35 teams remaining, but if they look over their collective shoulders on Day 3, they're going to see a number of stone cold killers coming for them. Former #1 PocketFiver Steven van Zadelhoff and teammate Kenny Hallaert sit second, Tuan Le and Thanh Tran are third, and Jason Koon and Sosia Jiang are fourth. There were 278 teams at the start of the day. Some of the other players who managed to make it to Day 3 include Ryan Leng, Zachary Gruneberg, Florian Duta, and Jordan Cristos. The team of Jared Jaffee, Aaron Massey, and Ralph Massey started Day 2 with the chip lead and managed to make it to Day 3 but will be the shortest starting stack when play resumes at 1 PM PT. Top Chip Counts Chad Gieger / Daniel Dayan / Barak Wisbrod - 1,340,000 Kenny Hallaert / Steven van Zadelhoff - 1,129,000 Tuan Le / Thanh Tran - 1,121,000 Jason Koon / Sosia Jiang - 1,072,000 Nicolas Betbese / Leandro Bianchini / Martin Pineiro - 1,003,000 Ryan Leng / Lisa Leng / Nikki Grandt / Ilana Grandt - 1,001,000 Lukasz Jankowski / Mateusz Rypulak / Jacek Pustula - 786,000 Brett Murray / Bobby Poe - 688,000 Michael Elbilia / Juan Endara - 686,000 Jerod Smith / Matthew Moreno / Lawrence Chan - 674,000 Dan Matsuzuki Leads $600 NLHE Deepstack Championship Dan Matsuzuki won his lone WSOP bracelet last summer in a $10,000 buy-in Championship event. This summer it seems he's set on putting on a show at a lower price point. Matsuzuki finished Day 1 of the $600 NLHE Deepstack Championship with 868,000 and the chip lead. This comes a week after he finished runner-up in the $600 NLHE/PLO Deepstack event. Dianlei Zhang finished with the next biggest stack at 790,000 and Bobby Oboodi is right behind him at 764,000. The event drew 6,140 entries for a $3,223,500 prize pool. The event originally had a $500,000 guarantee. Some of the 919 players moving onto Day 2 include Asi Moshe, Aleksandr Merzhvinskii, Chris Moorman, Joe Kuether, Greg Raymer, Jessica Dawley, Alex Foxen, and Kelly Minkin. Day 2 gets underway at Noon PT. Top Chip Counts Dan Matsuzuki - 868,000 Dianlei Zhang - 790,000 Bobby Oboodi - 764,000 Mohammed Suhail - 729,000 Eric Rivkin - 718,000 Siagzar Payvar - 678,000 Yuwen Pan - 659,000 Olin Biddy - 638,000 Jacob Klein - 635,000 Andres Jeckeln - 625,000 Ray Medlin Tops Day 1 of $1,500 PLO Hi-Lo While the tables were mostly full of No Limit Hold'em players in the $600 Deepstack Championship, 1,117 players managed to find a place to play the $15,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo event. Ray Medlin finished with the biggest stack of the 417 survivors. Fresh off of winning his first career bracelet, Ari Engel bagged up 216,200 for the fourth best stack heading into Day 2. Nick Guagenti, Scott Clements, Jeremy Ausmus, James Obst, Ben Yu, Chris Bjorin, Ray Henson, Frank Kassela, and Mike Sexton were just a handful of the notables who finished Day 1 with chips. Day 2 gets underway at 2 PM PT. Top Chip Counts Ray Medlin - 240,100 Richard Bai - 225,200 Danny Woolard - 217,500 Ari Engel - 216,200 Stephen Moreschi - 208,200 Blaz Zerjav - 207,400 Philipp Eirisch - 188,100 Warren Sheaves - 183,200 Robert Slezak - 175,100 Alex Scattareggia - 174,200
On Friday night in Las Vegas, Phil Hui won arguably the most prestigious poker tournament in the world, the World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship, earning $1.099 million in prize money, the coveted gold bracelet, and the respect of the game’s elite. "This is my dream," Hui said in the moments after victory. "I’d rather win this than the Main Event. Obviously the money for the Main Event would be amazing, but this is incredible. You have to be well-versed in every single game. It’s a dream come true. This is the one tournament I wanted to win, and play. It’s only the second time I’ve played it. Just to be lucky enough to play it, it’s incredible." With the victory, Hui joins the esteemed company of David 'Chip' Reese, Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mirzachi, Brian Rast, and John Hennigan, among others, as a champion of the event. "My name doesn’t belong there yet," a humble Hui said when asked about being in such exclusive company. "I’m happy it’s there, but I need to do a lot more to be in a group with those guys." This year, the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship drew 74 of the top players in the game, and Hui had to battle with all of them over a grueling five days of play. In the end, it came down to Hui and Josh Arieh for the title. Entering heads-up play, Arieh had the lead with 16.2 million in chips to Hui’s 6 million. Although he was down nearly 3-1, Hui stood tough and immediately began working to close the gap. The heads-up match between Hui and Arieh saw the chip lead change several times, as the two went back and forth over the course of several hours. One player would gain the lead and start to pull away, but then the other would fight back and do the same. Over and over. Eventually, though, Hui stretched out to a lead that Arieh couldn’t come back from thanks to some big pots in the stud games. The final hand was in 2-7 triple draw, with Hui made a [poker card="9x"][poker card="5x"][poker card="4x"][poker card="3x"][poker card="2x"]. Arieh had a [poker card="6x"][poker card="5x"][poker card="2x"] and drew a [poker card="3x"] and an [poker card="Ax"] to make an inferior hand. With that, Arieh was eliminated in second place for $679,246. The triumph came in Hui’s ninth cash of the 2019 WSOP, and it was the third final table he had made this summer. Entering the event, Hui’s results had him in the top 25 of the WSOP Player of the Year race with 1,541.83 points. He can now add another 1,265.67 to that for 2,807.5 total. That puts him right there behind current leader Dan Zack and throws another top contender right into the thick of this hotly contested race. “I want to win Player of the Year,” Hui said. “That was my main goal going into this year. I was going to play everything I could and try to make deep runs, so Player of the Year is first on the list.” Final Table Results 1st: Phil Hui - $1,099,311 2nd: Josh Arieh - $679,246 3rd: John Esposito - $466,407 4th: Bryce Yockey - $325,989 5th: Shaun Deeb - $232,058 6th: Dan Cates - $168,305 From the field of 74, only the top 12 would make the money. Late on Day 3, Arieh finished off Chris Klodnicki in 13th place to send him home on the bubble. That ended play for the day with Phil Ivey atop the final 12 competitors. Day 4 couldn’t have gone worse for Ivey. He lost almost every hand he played, included one when he folded a winning low in a seven-card stud hi-lo hand that would’ve won him half the pot. Ivey ultimately finished in eighth place for $124,410 in what was his fourth career cash in the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship. Those four cashes have earned Ivey $1.013 million from this event. The four players to hit the rail before Ivey were, in order, Andrew Brown, Talal Shakerchi, Chris Vitch, and Dario Sammartino. For Vitch, it was his second in-the-money finish in the event in as many years. Last summer, Vitch took 11th. Sammartino was recently featured on PocketFives as part of the 'No Gold Club: Best Players Without a World Series of Poker Bracelet.' He came close once again with his run in this event but ultimately fell short with a ninth-place finish. The final elimination on Day 4 was David Oppenheim, a finalist for the Poker Hall of Fame this year. He was eliminated in seventh place by both Bryce Yockey and John Esposito. On the fifth and final day, Dan Cates hit the rail first in sixth place, then it was defending WSOP Player of the Year Shaun Deeb falling in fifth. It was Arieh who busted Cates and Esposito who knocked out Deeb. Yockey, who was making his first-ever cash in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, busted in fourth place to Arieh in a hand of 2-7 triple draw that will go down as one of the wildest hands the WSOP has ever seen. Arieh had raised on the button, Yockey three-bet from the small blind, and Arieh made the call. Yockey stood pat, but Arieh drew two. Yockey then bet, and Arieh called. Yockey was pat again, and Arieh drew one on the second draw. Yockey bet, and Arieh called. Yockey stood pat and Arieh drew one card again. Yockey was dealt number two - [poker card="7x"][poker card="6x"][poker card="4x"][poker card="3x"][poker card="2x"] - and fired the last of his chips into the middle. Arieh peeled his last card to reveal a seven to make a number one - [poker card="7x"][poker card="5x"][poker card="4x"][poker card="3x"][poker card="2x"] - and called to win the pot. Esposito went out next in third, also making his maiden voyage into the money of the tournament. Once again it was Arieh who ended the run, this time in a hand of pot-limit Omaha. Arieh flopped top and bottom pair on the [poker card="Kc"][poker card="8d"][poker card="7h"] flop against Esposito's [poker card="Ah"][poker card="Ad"][poker card="Kd"][poker card="4d"]. Arieh had the [poker card="Kh"][poker card="7s"][poker card="6d"][poker card="4c"] and held with the [poker card="Jc"] turn and [poker card="6s"] river.