2016 Poker Hall Of Fame Debate Heats Up As Pros Clash Over Nominees

September 19th, 2016 | by Brian Corlisse
Chris Moneymaker Poker Hall Of Fame

The 2016 Poker Hall Of Fame nominations are gaining plenty of Twitter-time as Chris Moneymaker and Devilfish join the list of nominees. (Photo: WSOP)

The Poker Hall of Fame vote is just weeks away, but the great and the good of poker’s Twitterati are already sharpening their knives over the nominees, it seems.

Many top pros, including some who have been nominated or inducted before, have taken to social media to defend/attack/vilify the choices of the HOF panel.

While no names have been mentioned, it seems that the nominations of Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott and Chris Moneymaker have created the biggest stir.

The debate over who belongs in the the Poker Hall of Fame is heated and it looks like it won’t be cooling down anytime soon.

2016 PHOF List Most International Ever

When the 2016 nominations broke last week, a mixed bag of names emerged. Some had been nominated last year (and lost), while others were new to the list.

Intriguingly, many of this year’s nominations are not from the US. This would prove a win for those who have criticized the Poker Hall Of Fame for a supposed US bias in recent years.

2016’s Poker Hall Of Fame Nominees:

To be eligible for a vote, players must meet a strict set of criteria: they must have played at the highest stakes, competed against recognized top opponents, and competed consistently well over a career.

They also have to be over 40 years old. The final vote is made by the current members of the Poker Hall of Fame plus a select media panel.

Tournament director and player Savage, Pescatori, Fitoussi and Mortensen were among those who were shortlisted in 2015. However, the final nods went to John Juanda and Jennifer Harman.

While there was no dispute over the induction of those two former Full Tilt luminaries, there was strong criticism that the voting procedures were flawed.

Chris Bjorin
Humberto Brenes
Todd Brunson
Eli Elezra
Bruno Fitoussi
Chris Moneymaker
Carlos Mortensen
Max Pescatori
Matt Savage
David “Devilfish” Ulliott

Moneymaker and Devilfish Nominations Raise Eyebrows

Mike Sexton said that it was a “travesty” that Ulliott was not inducted last year. However, some pros were outspoken about his non-inclusion. Mike Matusow tweeted this month that the only reason Devilfish was nominated was “because he was dead”. @themouthmatusow quickly backtracked to add: “Devilfish was a good friend and I meant no disrespect #rip.”

Devilfish died in 2015 after a short battle with cancer. Since his death, there has been a concerted campaign by several of Ulliott’s friends in the poker community to have him inducted.

Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu both had their say on the Twittersphere.

“How is David Chiu left off of ‘Poker Hall of Fame’ ballot?!? 5 WSOP bracelets, plays high stakes poker for 20 yrs and won WPT Championship,” said the Poker Brat.

Meanwhile, @RealKidPoker threw out what some felt was a veiled attack on Chris Moneymaker.

I say this every year as a reminder: PHOF criteria for players says NOTHING about being an ambassador nor should it. Rate them on RESULTS.

While it can’t be argued that Chris Moneymaker has been a long-time ambassador for poker, questions have been raised about his poker record. Since he won that momentous World Series of Poker in 2003, Moneymaker has consistently played on the biggest world stages. However, he is yet to really match that game-changing win.

Any hope of a change in the way players are voted for was quashed by Doyle Brunson, who also threw his Stetson into the Twitter argument.

“Don’t think the criteria will ever be changed. Why do people that don’t come close to meeting it keep getting nominated?”

Matt Savage had the final word when he replied: “But your son [Todd Brunson] and two of his best friends are on the nomination list @TexDolly?”


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