Here are the 10 finalists:
- Chris Bjorin
- David Chiu
- Mori Eskandani
- Bruno Fitoussi
- John Hennigan
- Mike Matusow
- Chris Moneymaker
- David Oppenheim
- Matt Savage
- Huckleberry Seed
Of the 10, eight are previous finalists. The only new additions are Oppenheim and Hennigan.
Now, the 28 living Hall of Famers and an 18-person panel of media members will decide who will be in this year’s class. The WSOP will induct the 2018 class on July 13 during the ESPN broadcast of the Main Event.
Some finalists should be in the Hall of Fame already
The Poker Hall of Fame is certainly an eclectic mixture. All members have impacted poker in a profound manner.
With that said, some of the people on the finalist list stick out as especially deserving.
Chiu is certainly one of the all-time greats. He may be the best player to start as a dealer in history.
Chiu has won five WSOP bracelets in three different types of poker – Limit Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha Eight or Better. He has 74 WSOP cashes and won the 2008 WPT World Championship.
The WPT win earned him a $3.3 million payday. Though his best win, that prize is not even half his lifetime winnings, which total just over $8 million.
He’s one of those players that you simply don’t realize how good they are. He has 13 six-figure tournament cashes to his name, and has won more money in tournaments than poker greats Doyle Brunson, Dan Harrington, and fellow nominee Huckleberry Seed.
“Johnny World” is one of the more underrated masters in the game. He doesn’t often appear in high profile events – he just wins.
His five WSOP bracelets have come in as many different events. He remains a top player, with seven cashes, four final tables, and a win in the 2018 World Series of Poker already.
His live earnings are in excess of $8 million. Hennigan also gets credit for appearing in the poker movie Lucky You. He played a dour poker player named Ralph who gets coolered out of the Main Event by Eric Bana.
Anyone who appeared in that movie and kept on progressing through life deserves accolades. Hennigan deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Any pre-Moneymaker World Champion deserves consideration for immortality, and Huck Seed is no different. The 1996 World Champion has been a fixture in many large tournaments over the years, and has amassed nearly $8 million in tournament winnings.
Unfortunately, his 6’7″ height seems to overshadow his level of skill in many people’s minds. It’s a shame, since he has bracelets in Razz and Pot-Limit Omaha and a long history of winning at the highest level.
Seed is also a bit of a throwback player. He is a reserved man, but an ardent proposition bettor. His legendary prop bets include:
- Standing in the Pacific Ocean up to his shoulders for 24 hours
- Outrunning Howard Lederer with only one foot
- Performing a standing backflip
- Not shaving for a year
A man with such a dedication to every aspect of gambling deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, particularly when he’s such a good poker player.
Stay tuned for the 2018 class. The WSOP will announce the winners prior to the ceremony, but sometime after June 8.