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Poker Hall of Fame announces 2016 inductees

13 Oct 2016

(PRESS RELEASE) -- The 2016 Poker Hall of Fame Class has its newest members as Todd Brunson and Carlos Mortensen gain entrance into poker's most exclusive club. The two become the 51st and 52nd individuals to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. The two were nominated by the public and voted in by a 44-person panel made up of existing Poker Hall of Famers and a Blue Ribbon Media Panel, it was announced today by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council.

Brunson and Mortensen will be inducted officially on Wednesday, 26 October at 7 p.m. at Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel – the birthplace of poker in Las Vegas – and the original home of the World Series of Poker (from 1970-2004). The Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner will once again occur inside the Longhorn Room, which was originally called Benny's Bullpen. Benny's Bullpen hosted the very first final table of the WSOP in 1970.

The Poker Hall of Fame Gala kicks off the November Nine festivities, taking place before the 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event final table gets underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (30 October to 1 November).

This year's inductees bring some historical significance as well. Brunson joins his father Doyle in the Hall, becoming the first father-son to be inducted into poker's ultimate club. Carlos, the Spaniard known as El Matador, becomes the first true international and European member of the Poker Hall of Fame.

The Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council would like to recognize and congratulate the other 2016 finalists all whom remain eligible for future induction: Chris Bjorin, Humberto Brenes, Eli Elezra, Bruno Fitoussi, Chris Moneymaker, Max Pescatori, Matt Savage and David Ulliott.

"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."

"I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years," commented 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."

About this year's inductees:

Todd Brunson
As the son of Poker Hall of Famer Doyle Brunson, Todd has followed in his father's footsteps in making poker his profession, and there is no doubt the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Despite picking up the game for the first time while he was studying law at Texas Tech University, Todd eventually dropped out of school to turn professional. With nearly $4.3 million in tournament winnings, including 52 WSOP cashes and a gold bracelet, the younger Brunson has carved out his own successful career. The 47-year-old Las Vegas local is best known for his mixed games acumen, choosing to spend most of his time playing cash games in Las Vegas and typically only playing tournaments that offer a variety of non-Hold'em variants. And as told in the 2005 book, The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King, Brunson once won $13.5 million over a two-day span in a heads-up, $50,000-$100,00 Limit Hold'em cash game.

Carlos Mortensen
When it comes to tournament poker and ROI, no one besides Dan Colman 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 $6.8 million in WPT earnings combined with over $3.1 million in WSOP earnings and assorted other cashes put his career earnings at almost $12 million. The 44-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, already cashing 12 times in 2016.

The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrah's Entertainment (now Caesars) 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 now 27 living members.

The main criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame 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 entire list of 52 Poker Hall of Fame members includes (alphabetical):

-Tom Abdo '82
-Crandell Addington '05
-Bobby Baldwin '03
-Billy Baxter '06
-Lyle Berman '02
-Joe Bernstein '83
-Benny Binion '90
-Jack Binion '05
-Bill Boyd '81
-Doyle Brunson '88
-Todd Brunon '16
-Johnny Chan '02
-T.J. Cloutier '06
-Nick Dandolos '79
-Eric Drache '12
-Barbara Enright '07
-Fred "Sarge" Ferris '89
-Henry Green '86
-T "Blondie" Forbes '80
-Barry Greenstein '11
-Jennifer Harman '15
-Dan Harrington '10
-Murph Harrold '84
-Phil Hellmuth '07
-James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok '79
-Red Hodges '85
-Edmond Hoyle '79
-Linda Johnson '11
-Berry Johnston '04
-John Juanda '15
-Jack Keller '93
-Jack McClelland '14
-Felton McCorquodale '79
-Tom McEvoy '13
-Roger Moore '97
-Carlos Mortensen '16
-Johnny Moss '79
-Daniel Negreanu '14
-Scotty Nguyen '13
-Henry Orenstein '08
-Walter Clyde "Puggy" Pearson '87
-Julius Oral Popwell '96
-Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston '92
-David "Chip" Reese '91
-Brian "Sailor" Roberts '12
-Erik Seidel '10
-Mike Sexton '09
-Jack "Treetop" Straus '88
-Duane "Dewey" Tomko '08
-Stu "The Kid" Ungar '01
-Red Winn '79
-Sid Wyman '79
 
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