LAS VEGAS (September 25, 2013) – After a public nomination process on WSOP.com, and a vetting of all nominations by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, the finalists list eligible for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013 has been determined.
It will now be up to the current Hall of Famers and a blue ribbon panel of media members to determine who actually does join this exclusive club. The following represents the finalists:
2013 POKER HALL OF FAME FINALISTS* LIST
*Listed alphabetically without correlation to amount of nominations received
Four new candidates have been nominated, and six candidates who made the finalist list last year (Bjorin, Chiu, Hansen, Harman, McEvoy & Nguyen) have been chosen as finalists again.
Notable poker players Humberto “The Shark” Brenes, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, Carlos “El Matador” Mortensen and Huckleberry Seed are added to the list this year, with Seed being the most recent of these four who had previously made the finalists list (2011).
The above list of names will be submitted to the 19 living Hall of Fame members and an 18-person media panel later this month for voting. Only these 37 individuals cast votes for induction.
The criteria they will consider in their vote are as follows:
• 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 2013 Class of the Poker Hall of Fame will be inducted as part of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table festivities at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during a special dinner and induction held Sunday, November 3 in the Wine Cellar & Tasting Room.
With all ten of this year’s finalists living, it is expected the inductee(s) will be able to attend the induction in person. Inductee(s) will be acknowledged on stage during November Nine festivities on November 4 as well.
Next week, official ballots will be sent to the voters, who will have until October 11 to fill them out and return them to the WSOP Governing Council. The inductee(s) are expected to be announced after all votes have been officially tallied.
Please read below for a brief about each of this year’s finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2013, listed in alphabetical order.
Bjorin, a 65-year-old Swedish-born poker player who now resides in London, England, has earned more than $5.5 million playing poker in his distinguished career. The two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner sits in fifth on the all-time on the WSOP cash list with 68 and ranks fifth all-time in WSOP Main Event cashes with seven. A model of consistency, Bjorin has cashed for six-figures in 19 different calendar years, including the last 13 consecutively. He hold’s Sweden’s all-time money and cash records and is WSOP Europe’s all-time cash leader as well.
The man known as “The Shark” may be best known for his gregarious and outgoing personality, but Humberto Brenes has a lot of poker bite to back up all his barking. Fourth on the all-time WSOP cashes list with 72 in-the-money finishes, Brenes has been one of the most consistent WSOP performers for the better part of 25 years. What stands out among those cashes is his track record in the WSOP Main Event, a tournament he has made the money in on nine separate occasions, including a fourth place showing in 1988. That puts him second on the list of most Main Event cashes behind only Berry Johnston. In addition to his $6 million in tournament earnings, the winningest Costa Rican player in poker history has also played a crucial role in helping to develop the poker scene in Latin America.
Born in China, David Chiu moved to the United States when he was an 18 year old exchange student. Originally a restaurateur in Colorado, Chiu first started in poker as a dealer before transitioning into one of the most successful tournament players in poker history. The 53 year-old is a five-time WSOP gold bracelet winner with wins in Limit Hold’em, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha Eight or Better and cashes in 60 WSOP events. Chiu’s most recent bracelet victory came this summer at a stacked $2,500 Stud final table where he defeated the likes of Michael Mizrachi, Frank Kassela and Scott Seiver to earn his fifth bracelet. Chiu’s success extends beyond the WSOP though, and also includes a memorable victory over Gus Hansen in the 2008 WPT World Championship. That win earned Chiu an impressive $3.3 million and, over the course of his career, Chiu has raked in almost $7.7 million in career tournament earnings since he first started playing tournaments back in 1996.
Since starting in poker in the late 1980s, Norwegian poker pro Thor Hansen has cashed in more than 175 tournaments, racking up more than $2.9 million in career earnings. His list of cashes is certainly long and includes some notable highlights like two WSOP gold bracelets, won in 1988 and 2002 , and an appearance at the $50,000 HORSE final table at the WSOP in 2007. Known in Europe as the “Godfather” of Norwegian poker, Hansen is one of the earliest supporters of the now-thriving European poker scene. In addition to his extensive tournament results, the 66 year-old Hansen is also an accomplished cash game player who was notoriously backed by Larry Flynt to play in high stakes cash games in the 1990s.
Jennifer Harman has a long list of tournament accomplishments, including nearly $2.7 million in earnings, two WPT final tables, 12 WSOP final tables, and the honor of being the first woman to win multiple WSOP bracelets in open events. However, what might be even more impressive than her tournament results is her skills in the cash games. The Reno, Nevada native has been a staple in the biggest cash games in Vegas for more than a decade and is one of the only women to play cash at such high stakes. The 48 year-old mother of two also dedicates much of her time to using poker to raise money for charitable causes, including the National Kidney Foundation and the Nevada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Mike “The Mouth” Matusow has plenty to talk about when it comes to his poker accomplishments. The 45 year old is a four-time bracelet winner with $9 million in career tournament earnings. A poker dealer turned poker pro, Matusow has final tabled the WSOP Main Event twice in 2001 and 2005, made 11 other WSOP final tables, and appeared at five WPT final tables. Never one to bite his tongue, Matusow developed a reputation of being a tough player and a tough talker, as he frequently speaks freely at the tables. Poker fans have been seeing a lot of The Mouth this year, as he won the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship back in March, then followed that up with his fourth WSOP bracelet win in the $5,000 Stud Hi/Lo event. This year marks the fourth time in Matusow’s career that he has posted seven-figures in tournament results.
One word to describe Tom McEvoy would be “timeless.” The 68-year-old four-time WSOP champion has led a sterling poker career spanning five decades. Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, McEvoy left a career in accounting in the late 70’s and moved to Las Vegas to pursue his ambition on the felt. That ambition led him to victory in the 1983 World Series of Poker Main Event. A consummate tournament player, McEvoy has posted consistently solid results for more than 30 years. His amicable nature and love for poker made him a true ambassador for the game as he competed in countless tournaments across the country. In addition to his tournament success, McEvoy is also credited with spearheading efforts that now prohibit smoking in poker rooms. He is also a noted poker author, having penned over a dozen strategy books and countless columns for Card Player.
When it comes to tournament poker and ROI, no one can compare to Carlos “The Matador” Mortensen. The 2001 WSOP Main Event Champion has won more money on the World Poker Tour than any other player in history despite playing significantly fewer events. His almost $6.5 million in WPT earnings combined with over $3 million in WSOP earnings and assorted other cashes put his career earnings at almost $11.5 million. The 41-year-old is also the only player to have won both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT Championship event. Hailing from Alicante, Spain but now residing in Vegas, Mortensen is still one of the top players in the game, just narrowly missing out on this year’s November Nine, bubbling the final table in 10th place.
“You call and it’s gonna be all over baby!” That jib to Kevin McBride before he won the 1998 World Series of Poker Main Event personifies the man they call “The Prince,” Scotty Nguyen. With a style and charisma all his own, Nguyen is one of poker’s most recognized and well-liked personalities. Nguyen backs his flare and bravado with undeniable results that include over $11.7 million in career earnings, 19 WSOP and 8 WPT final tables and five bracelets. Nguyen is also the only player to have won both the WSOP Main Event and the $50,000 Poker Players Championship. From an 11-year-old refugee from war-torn Vietnam, Nguyen has become an incalculably long way to live his dream as a professional poker player.
It isn’t just Huckleberry Seed’s tall frame that helps him stand out among his competition at the table. The California native and Caltech alum is a four-time bracelet winner with $7.5 million in career tournament earnings. There is truly nothing Seed can’t play at the tables, as his varied list of results include bracelets in Razz and PLO, a victory in the NBC Heads-Up Championship, two final table appearances in the $50K Poker Players Championship, a win in the WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2010, and, of course, winning the WSOP Main Event in 1996. Since Seed first started playing tournament poker back in 1990, he has posted six-figures worth of results all but four years he has played.
ABOUT THE POKER HALL OF FAME
The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004. Though the Hall of Fame is virtual in nature, its membership includes poker's most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are 19 living members, and 44 members have been bestowed the honor of Poker Hall of Famer. The Poker Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held in concert with the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP, held each Fall in Las Vegas. www.WSOP.com/PHOF