Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim Inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame
Last night, Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim became the 57th and 58th inductees of the Poker Hall of Fame during the World Series of Poker Main Event coverage on ESPN.
They were voted into the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame Class by the thirty living Poker Hall of Fame members and a 21-person media panel. They were the two from an elite list of poker players which also included Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, and Huckleberry Seed to make it into the Poker Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1979 to honor the most influential players and other key contributors to the game of poker. Harrah's Entertainment acquired the elite poker club in 2004, and it is now under Caesars Entertainment after the company changed its name in 2010.
Voters took into consideration the following criteria when casting their ballots.
- 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.
Chris Moneymaker might not satisfy all of the voting requirements, specifically in playing in high stakes games. However, one can't deny the contribution Moneymaker made to the poker boom after winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event for $2,500,000.
Moneymaker: "It's great for my kids — it'll be a cool thing for them to see when they grow up."
At the time, it was unheard of for online poker players to win big money on the live poker stage. Moneymaker proved to the world that online poker players could be taken seriously and provided a considerable growth to online poker after parlaying a win in a satellite at PokerStars into the WSOP Main Event title. Moneymaker was an instant sensation and signed on to become a PokerStars Ambassador, a title he still holds to this day.
Moneymaker has yet to find WSOP gold a second time but has won titles in WPT and EPT side events as part of his nearly $3.9 million in live tournament cashes.
"I'm very honored... very happy," says Moneymaker upon receiving the news. "It's great for my kids — it'll be a cool thing for them to see when they grow up."
It is usually tournament players that get all the notice, and David Oppenheim has certainly had some success there with nearly $2 million in live tournament earnings. However, unlike the other nominees for the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame Class, Oppenheim has yet to win a WSOP bracelet or any major poker title.
What separates Oppenheim from the other nominees, is that he has been consistently crushing the high stakes cash games. The 46-year-old American has been playing poker for the better part of this century, having started out playing his second year in college when he was 19 years old.
"Being recognized as one of the all-time greats by my peers is truly humbling, and I am honored to have been selected to the Poker Hall of Fame."
Until now, Oppenheim has been one of poker's unsung heroes as he wasn't on tv as often as some of his peers. He is a regular winner in the high stakes games in Bobby's Room.
"Being recognized as one of the all-time greats by my peers is truly humbling, and I am honored to have been selected to the Poker Hall of Fame," said Oppenheim about his induction. "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. 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 traveled by very few. Again, I am extremely grateful to be receiving this honor. Thank you."
Poker Hall of Fame Members
Moneymaker and Oppenheim join an elite group of poker players and contributors to the game as part of the Poker Hall of Fame. Here is a look at all 58 members in alphabetical order.
|Tom Abdo||1982||Barry Greenstein||2011||Johnny Moss||1979|
|Crandell Addington||2005||Jennifer Harman||2015||Daniel Negreanu||2014|
|Bobby Baldwin||2003||Dan Harrington||2010||Scotty Nguyen||2013|
|Billy Baxter||2006||Murph Harrold||1984||David Oppenheim||2019|
|Lyle Berman||2002||Phil Hellmuth||2007||Henry Orenstein||2008|
|Joe Bernstein||1983||John Hennigan||2018||Walter "Puggy" Pearson||1987|
|Benny Binion||1990||James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok||1979||Julius Oral Popwell||1996|
|Jack Binion||2005||Red Hodges||1985||Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston||1992|
|Bill Boyd||1981||Edmond Hoyle||1979||David "Chip" Reese||1991|
|Doyle Brunson||1988||Phil Ivey||2017||Brian "Sailor" Roberts||2012|
|Todd Brunson||2016||Linda Johnson||2011||Erik Seidel||2010|
|Johnny Chan||2002||Berry Johnston||2004||Mike Sexton||2009|
|T.J. Cloutier||2006||John Juanda||2015||Jack "Treetop" Straus||1988|
|Nick Dandolos||1979||Jack Keller||1993||Duane "Dewey" Tomko||2008|
|Eric Drache||2012||Jack McClelland||2014||David "Devilfish" Ulliott||2017|
|Barbara Enright||2007||Felton McCorquodale||1979||Stu "The Kid" Ungar||2001|
|Mori Eskandani||2018||Tom McEvoy||2013||Red Winn||1979|
|Fred "Sarge" Ferris||1989||Chris Moneymaker||2019||Sid Wyman||1979|
|Henry Green||1986||Roger Moore||1997|
|T "Blondie" Forbes||1980||Carlos Mortensen||2016|