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  1. [caption width="640"] Ten players worth considering as the Poker Hall of Fame public nomination process opens[/caption] The public nomination process for the Poker Hall of Fame to determine the top ten candidates for official voting for the Class of 2016 opened earlier this month. The nomination period allows poker fans around the world to submit the names of players they think should be considered for inclusion in the Poker Hall of Fame. The Criteria: 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. And while everybody has an opinion on who should or shouldn’t get in, PocketFives has created a guide for you of 10 names you should consider nominating. Keep in mind, many thought Phil Ivey would be a shoo-in this year, but turns out he's not quite eligible yet. With that in mind, we’ve broken the names into three groups: Obvious Choices, Dark Horses and Long Shots. Obvious ChoicesChris Moneymaker Rule of thumb – if an era is named after someone, then that person is probably a Hall of Famer. Chris Moneymaker was the right guy, at the right place, bluffing at the right time when he won the WSOP Main Event in 2003. ESPN audiences drank up a 20-something accountant from Tennessee facing down Sammy Farha for $2.5 million dollars. Moneymaker not only won, but somehow graciously handled the media firestorm of attention that no one could be prepared for. He was the face of the poker boom that followed and soon every line cook in the country was hosting a home game. Moneymaker wasn’t a flash in the pan, since his historic win he’s earned $1.1 million in tournaments and solidified himself as one of the top ambassadors of the game, greeting every critic with a smile. But his influence goes beyond a player and undoubtedly “contributed to the overall growth and success of the game.” Carlos Mortensen Carlos Mortensen first rose to poker fame after winning the 2001 WSOP Main Event but he is also the all-time leading money winner in World Poker Tour history thanks largely to his three WPT titles. His lifetime earnings are just north of $11.8 million. Mortensen has two bracelets in 35 WSOP cashes with another 20 cashes and seven WPT final tables. Should he get into the Hall of Fame, he would undoubtedly be the most WPT-centric player in the Hall of Fame to date, Mike Sexton withstanding (almost all tournament success in WSOP events). But with his banner hung in the Amazon Room the stewards of the HOF can breathe easy. Bruno Fitoussi One can’t discuss French poker without mentioning Bruno Fitoussi’s name. He was one-part Mike Sexton, one-part Mori Eskandani and one-part Chris Moneymaker when poker boomed on TV in France. He was one of the operators of The Aviation Club – one of Europe’s premier poker rooms – and the lack of European inductees is one of the PHOF’s most warranted criticisms. As a player he’s won $2.8 million around the world while logging 20 WSOP cashes. He finished runner-up in the 2007 $50,000 HORSE Championship for $1.2 million and finished 15th in the 2003 Main Event. Ted Forrest The six-time bracelet winner’s name keeps coming up in this conversation. He’s one of five players to win three bracelets in a year, nine of his 34 WSOP cashes were in events with a $5,000 buy-in or greater. Forrest doesn’t have the flash that screams Hall of Famer but he’s got a track record in all the games, was a part of “The Corporation”, the group of top level pros that took on billionaire banker Andy Beal, and as far as standing the test of time is concerned – he’s got 21 years between his first and most recent bracelet. David Chiu David Chiu just passed the $8 million in career earnings mark and he has five WSOP bracelets, 25 final tables and 73 cashes in the WSOP alone and finds himself in rarified air among the five-bracelet club, he’s one of three or four players that could arguably keep adding to his total. His game hasn’t aged like many in his age bracket – he’s cashed in six $10,000 or greater events since 2014, including the 2015 $25,000 Pot Limit Omaha event. Dark HorsesChris Bjorin Chris Bjorin’s grandfatherly smile and non-threatening demeanour masks that he’s won $5 million, two bracelets and a European Poker Tour title and it took Martin Jacobson winning $10 million in the 2014 WSOP Main Event to top him on Sweden’s all-time money list. Huck Seed If there was a Hall of Fame of Not Giving a Sh*t, Huck Seed would be there. There’s certain politicking and campaigning many nominees endure to gain entry, but that’s something this former Main Event Champ and four-time bracelet winner just won’t do. Todd Brunson Todd Brunson isn’t discussed much in after-hours PHOF talk but has won $4.2 million and has 50 WSOP cashes. He has spent most of his career focused on high stakes cash games. The largest strike against him is that he has just one bracelet and while nowhere in the requirements does it say “multi-bracelet winner”, it’s implied. Mike Matusow Mike Matusow’s life shows highs and lows of the life of a professional gambler better than any Hollywood flick ever could. He’s a true blue-collar player that’s won and lost at least $8.6 million, has four bracelets, spent time in jail and battled life-threatening medical problems all while being a big star in the TV boom era. The Long ShotIsai Scheinberg International poker politics are a curious thing, and while the entity that owns the PHOF prefers their own version of worldwide poker history, most everyone else recognizes Isai Scheinberg as the single most influential businessman in poker the world will probably ever see. Scheinberg was the former CEO of PokerStars and directed the company during its profitable and expansive rise to the top of the online poker world. The private ownership allowed Scheinberg and his management team room to innovate and become the overwhelming leaders in the industry. Photos courtesy of World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour.
  2. [caption width="640"] Ryan D'Angelo now has a WSOP bracelet to his name after winning the ,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven.[/caption] There were supposed to be two bracelets awarded Wednesday at the 2016 World Series of Poker, but Ryan D'Angelo ended up getting the spotlight all to himself. D'Angelo battled and beat John Monnette heads-up to win his event while the first $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event of the summer stopped with four players remaining and Michael Addamo leading. Event #6: Michael Addamo Leads Final Four in $1,500 No Limit Hold'em You could say the last few months have been pretty good to Michael Addamo. The Australian poker pro won just over $140 when he won a PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker event and now he finds himself leading the final four of a WSOP bracelet event with $438,417 and the bracelet on the line. The $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event was supposed to finish on Wednesday night but hit the 'hard stop' just after midnight PT. Addamo ended the day with 6,595,000 chips - more than the combined total of the two players right behind him, Davis Aalvik and Peter Eichhardt. Aalvik finished with 3,630,000 while Eighhardt bagged up 2,640,000. 2010 WSOP Main Event runner-up John Racener has the shortest stack with 2,490,000. The day began with 36 players still in contention for the title. Justin Young, who started the day with the chip lead, was eliminated in 22nd place for $13,786. WSOP Circuit all-time wins leader Alexandru Masek took home the same payout for his 20th place finish. Matt Berkey finished 18th for $17,134, his first cash of the 2016 WSOP. Anthony Zinno made the final table but was eliminated in eighth place for $45,582. Play resumes at Noon PT and will play down to a champion. Final Four Chip Counts Mike Addamo - 6,595,000 Davis Aalvik - 3,630,000 Peter Eichhardt - 2,640,000 John Racener - 2,490,000 Event #7: Ryan D'Angelo Beats John Monnette Heads Up in $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven Ryan 'g0lfa' D'Angelo overcame a player considered one of the best Deuce to Seven players in the world to win his first bracelet Wednesday night. D'Angelo defeated John Monnette to win the $1,500 No Limit Deuce to Seven event and $92,338. D'Angelo and Monnette were responsible for all of the eliminations at the final table. D'Angelo sent Alex Dovzhenko packing in sevneth place and a few minuteslater Todd Barlow, Konstantin Maslak and Dan 'djk123' Kelly fell at the hands of Monnette. Three-handed play lasted 90 minutes before D'Angelo eliminated Tom Franklin to set up heads up play. When heads up play began D'Angelo held 85% of the chips in play and he needed just 30 minutes to get the rest. “I feel like it all came together here in this tournament. I felt really centered throughout this tournament. The cards came my way," D'Angelo said. "It was like the perfect tournament, in a way. I was never at serious risk. I was able to pick up pots here and there. It’s such a fun game.” After his victory, D'Angelo praised Monnette. “(John) is obviously a terrific high-stakes player. He was definitely my toughest opponent," D’Angelo said. "There were surely some good players. Dan Kelly – he’s another tough one. It was tough to see him at the final table. He has a great track record and he’s good at all the games, so it was good to see him go out earlier. I’d say those two players were the toughest, probably.” Monnette, who has two WSOP bracelets to his credit, has now finished second in a WSOP event three times. The previous two runner-up performances came against David 'Bakes' Baker and Phil Ivey. Final Table Payouts Ryan D'Angelo - $92,338 John Monnette - $57,061 Tom Franklin - $38,582 Dan Kelly - $26,632 Konstantin Maslak - $18,775 Todd Barlow - $13,524 Alex Dovzhenko - $9,959 Event #8: Ben Ponzio Looking for Bracelet #2 in $1,500 HORSE Day 2 of the $1,500 HORSE event saw the field go from 202 player to just 20. Leading the pack with 837,000 chips is bracelet winner Ben Ponzio. But the group right behind, not surprisingly, includes a number of talented players. Justin Bonomo(559,000), Noah Bronstein (456,000) and Ismael Bojang (362,000) sit second through forth. Other notables still in the hunt include Scotty Nguyen (270,000), Andre Akkari (236,000) and Maureen Feduniak (100,500). Matt Glantz is the shortest stack with just 60,000 to work with on Thursday. It took over one hour for the bubble to burst and get all remaining 117 players into the money. Some of the notables who cashed on Wednesday but were unable to survive include Jared Bleznick, Adam Owen, Ray Henson, five-time WSOP bracelet winner Berry Johnston, Brandon Cantu, Chris Klodnicki, Matt Vengrin and Rep Porter. Naoya Kihara, who began the day with the chip lead, was eliminated in 48th place. The final 20 players return to the felt at Noon PT to play down to a winner. Top 10 Chip Counts Ben Ponzio - 837,000 Justin Bonomo - 559,000 Noah Bronstein - 456,000 Ismael Bojang - 362,000 Christopher Vitch - 357,000 Nick Kost - 340,000 Georgios Sotiropoulos - 335,000 Ian Johns - 317,000 Craig Carrillo - 306,000 Connor Berkowitz - 302,000 Event #9: Olivier Busquet Highlights Final Four in $10K Heads Up Championship Olivier Busquet is considering by many to be one of the best heads-up tournament players in poker. He's proving those people correct with his run in the $10,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold'em Championship. Busquet, who has also had tremendous success recently in the heads-up Global Poker League matches, is one of four players left in contention of the bracelet and $320,574. Alex Luneau, John Smith and Alan Percal are the other three players remaining. Busquet beat Chance Kornuth, Jared Jaffee and Orlando Romero on Wednesday to advance. He'll face Alan Percal in the semi-finals. Percal beat Alan Wehbi, Konstantin Ramazanov and Benjamin Geisman to get to the semi-final. Alex Luneau beat Bobby Oboodi, former EPT Grand Final champ Adrian Mateos and Matthew Diehl to reach the semi-final where he will face off against John Smith. Smith, who finished 11th in this event in 2014, defeated Igor Yaroshevskyy, Antonio Esfandiari and Nicholas Yunis. The semi-final matches began at Noon PT with the finals scheduled for 3 PM PT. Event #10: Daniel Strelitz Bags Day 1 Chip Lead in $1,500 Six Max Day 1 of the $1,500 Six Max No Limit Hold'em event saw 1,477 players register but only 183 make it through the day. Daniel Strelitz managed to bag the biggest stack on Day 1, finishing with 250,800. Strelitz, alongwith Eric Afriat's 208,000, weret he only two players to finish above 200,000. Just days after watching his brother Robert win his fourth career bracelet and break the tie between the two, Michael Mizrachi finished with 163,100, good enough for sixth best. Former #1 ranked PocketFiver Fedor 'CrownUpGuy' Holz finished right behind Mizrachi with 150,000 on the button. Jesse Sylvia, Mike Watson, Simon Deadman, Matt Jarvis and Christian Harder are among some of the notables remaining in the field. The eventual champion walks away with the bracelet and $346,088. Top 10 Chip Counts Daniel Strelitz - 250,800 Eric Afriat - 208,000 Niccolo Steffanini - 187,900 Tom Cannuli - 179,800 Javier Garcirreynaldos - 178,100 Michael Mizrachi - 163,100 Fedor Holz - 150,000 Nick Rampone - 137,500 Phong Nguyen - 135,000 Mike Sowers - 133,000 Event #11: Bruno Fitoussi Leads Star-Studded Field in $10,000 Dealers Choice Another day, another $10,000 Championship event gets underway, this one involving a grand total of 19 different games. France's Bruno Fitoussihad the best Day 1 of the 118 players who registered, bagging up 318,700 at the end of the night. Right behind Fitoussi are two players with track records of WSOP success. Brandon Shack-Harris and Brian Hastings finished with 270,200 and 252,100 respectively. Dan Smith sits fourth while Jussi Nevanlinna, who finished sixth in this event last summer, rounds out the top five. Only 41 players surived the opening day. Other notables still in contention include James Obst, John Monnette, Mike Gorodinsky, Phil Hellmuth and Anthony Zinno. Top 10 Chip Counts Bruno Fitoussi - 318,700 Brandon Shack-Harris - 270,200 Brian Hastings - 252,100 Dan Smith - 247,000 Jussi Nevanlinna - 241,400 Philip Sternheimer - 241,400 Dmitry Chop - 232,400 Frank Kassela - 201,400 Richard Ashby - 196,300 Randy Ohel - 186,000
  3. [caption width="640"] Carlos Mortensen and Todd Brunson are the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2016 (WPT photos)[/caption] 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.
  4. [caption width="640"] Chris Moneymaker is one of 10 nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame (PokerStars photo)[/caption] The list of players eligible for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2016 include two former WSOP Main Event champions, a highly respected tournament director, five players with strong ties to the success of poker in their home country and the son of a current Hall of Famer who has dominated cash games in Las Vegas for the better part of the last 15 years. The World Series of Poker, which oversees the Poker Hall of Fame, announced the list of 10 nominees for the Class of 2016 on Friday and the biggest name on the list might just be 2003 WSOP Main Event winnerChris Moneymaker. The one-time "accountant from Tennessee" is largely credited with helping ignite the poker boom following his Cinderella story win in 2003 after qualifying online. Moneymaker, who turned 40 earlier this year to become HOF eligible, is one of three new names on the list this year. Todd Brunson and Eli Elezra, who both play high stakes cash games in Las Vegas, were also nominated for the first time. Brunson, son of Doyle Brunson, has one WSOP bracelet to his credit while Elezra has three. The rest of the nominees have all been nominated before but none more so than Swedish poker pro and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Chris Bjorin who has been nominated every year since 2012. Carlos Mortensen, who won the WSOP Main Event in 2001 and WPT World Championship in 2007, is nominated for the third time after failing to be inducted in 2013 and 2015. David 'Devilfish' Ulliott, who passed away in April 2015, and Max Pescatori were nominated for the first time in 2015 while Bruno Fitoussi has now been nominated in three straight years. Costa Rica's Humberto Brenes rounds out the nine players nominated for induction this year. The only nominee who is not a player is WPT Executive Tour Director Matt Savage. Savage, who co-founded the Poker Tournament Director's Association, is one of the most highly respected tournament directors in the world. He was first nominated in 2015 and is hoping to become the second tournament director inducted into the HOF joining 2014 inductee Jack McLelland. The list of 10 nominees will be sent to 45 voters, comprised of 25 living Poker Hall of Fame members and 20 members of the media, for consideration. Voters will consider the following criteria when voting: 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 For non-players: contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results. Voters have until October 7 to submit their ballot and the two nominees receiving the most votes from the 45 voters will be inducted on Wednesday, October 26 at Binion's in Downtown Las Vegas.
  5. 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.  
  6. A long-awaited award for one of the most beloved players in Europe belongs to Bruno Fitoussi. The 59-year-old Frenchman is the latest member of the partypoker roster of ambassadors. Per partypoker, Fitoussi's official role is to be an ambassador for partypoker LIVE's global tour of events. Fitoussi's name is one consistent with excellence at the poker table both in tournaments and cash games. As partypoker moves to expand their tournament reach, Fitoussi is by their side to spread goodwill at all partypoker LIVE stops. The first stop for Fitoussi representing partypoker is at the end of September for MILLIONS LIVE UK at Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham. Fitoussi commented on his upcoming schedule saying, “I can’t wait to come back to Nottingham to Dusk Till Dawn for MILLIONS UK, and the Caribbean Poker Party in The Bahamas is a ‘must do’ for any poker player. To end 2018, I will head to Deauville for the WPT Deepstacks in December [3-9 December].” The Aviation Club de France in Fitoussi's home of Paris held his services for 20 years as their poker consultant. As Fitoussi shifts roles to the global side of poker, he remarked on the change and excitement for the partnership. “I am thrilled to join the partypoker LIVE team. partypoker has always held a special place in my heart, so to be working with them is a great privilege for me. I have a vast wealth of industry experience that I am excited to share, and I look forward to getting involved with all aspects of the business.” The peak of Fitoussi's tournament career came in 2007 when he took second place in the 2007 $50,000 Poker Players Championship where he earned his career-best score of $1.278 million. Four Poker Hall of Fame nominations later, Fitoussi's reputation is sterling amongst his peers at the table and on the business end of the game. In 2003, Fitoussi earned 15th place in the WSOP Main Event. Another silver medal at the WSOP went to Fitoussi this summer. He earned $150,990 for runner-up in the $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha 8 or Better event.
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