During Day 2 of the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event at the Rio Casino, WSOP official announced the newest inductees to the Poker Hall of Fame. Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim were the two people selected to the Poker Hall of Fame 2019 with both being recognised for their accomplishments both at and away from the poker tables.
David Oppenheim One of World’s Most Feared Cash Players
In the modern era of poker, tournament poker tends to be the primary focus when considering the greatness of a poker player. However, it is not the only form of poker out there. Cash game poker is the purest form of poker and the one that many players excel at. That includes one half of this year’s induction class.
David Oppenheim is well-known in the poker community for his prowess in high stakes cash games and has been a staple of those games for decades. He is one of the world’s most feared cash game players. For years, many members of the Poker Hall of Fame have also said that Oppenheim should be on the short-list for induction.
Oppenheim is no slouch in tournaments, either, with over $1.99 million in career earnings. His best finish at the World Series of Poker was in the 2010 Poker Player’s Championship where he finished third. Of his induction, Oppenheim stated:
“Being recognized as one of the all-time greats by my peers is truly humbling and I am honoured to have been selected to the Poker Hall of Fame. I have been so fortunate to be able to do what I love for a living. I never planned to be a professional poker player, rather it was a passion that became my job”. Oppenheim continued:
“People often ask me, how does one become a professional poker player? The answer is hard work and that goes for everyone that plays at the highest level. From the time I began playing I was incredibly passionate about poker and it led to me being able to travel this road that has been travelled by very few. Again, I am extremely grateful to be receiving this honor. Thank you”.
Chris Moneymaker Inducted on WSOP’s 50th Anniversary
It seems fitting that the man that effectively started the Poker Boom was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame 2019 on the 50th Anniversary of the World Series of Poker. Back in 2003, Chris Moneymaker made an improbable run by turning a $86 satellite on PokerStars into a world title and $2 million.
That win helped to spark a new generation of poker players. To be honest, Moneymaker’s resume at the table’s is not quite worthy of induction. Nevertheless, you also have to consider his impact on the game.
After his win, Moneymaker became an ambassador for the game, teaming up with PokerStars for over a decade and now running his own Moneymaker Tour at casinos around the world. Many people have come to poker because of Moneymaker. His impact on the game therefore allows him to be included in the Poker Hall of Fame 2019 under the contributor category.
Of being inducted, Moneymaker said: “I’m very honoured… very happy. It’s great for my kids — it’ll be a cool thing for them to see when they grow up”.
Many Big Names Overlooked for Poker Hall of Fame 2019
This year’s list of finalist was a who’s who of poker. While they were not inducted, most should be inducted at some point in the future. Among the finalists were Antonio Esfandiari, Eli Elezra, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Chris Bjorin, and Ted Forrest.
Phil Hellmuth admitted during the HOF announcement that he gave all of his votes to Ted Forrest. Listening to the chatter from other players, however, it seems clear that many favoured Oppenheim. The induction of Moneymaker may be surprising to some but it is something that we expected. Especially with this being the 50th anniversary of the World Series of Poker.
The Poker Hall of Fame inducts up to two new members every year. All of the finalists are eligible for consideration in the future. Furthermore, it is likely we will see most of those names on next year’s ballot. Below is the list of criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition.
- Be a minimum of 40 years old at the 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.