Two new players have been enshrined into the Poker Hall of Fame (PhOF). Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim became the 57th and 58th inductees, joining an elite list of the most influential individuals in poker.
Thirty living Poker Hall of Fame members alongside a group of 21 media personalities selected Moneymaker and Oppenheim out of 10 nominees who also included Chris Ferguson, Mike Matusow, Chris Bjorin, Eli Elezra, David Chiu, Huckleberry Seed, Ted Forrest, and Antonio Esfandiari.
When casting their votes, the selection panel considered a list of criteria: the player must have competed against acknowledged top competition, must be at least 40 years old at the time of nomination, delivered consistent results, gained the respect of peers, played for high stakes, and stood the test of time, or for non-players, made an important contribution to the overall growth and success of poker, making a positive and enduring impact on the game.
Poker Hall of Fame Background
The Hall of Fame was established by Horseshoe Casino founder Benny Binion in 1979 to honor the most influential poker players in the world and preserve their legacies. The elite poker club was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment in 2004 before changing its name to Caesars Entertainment in 2010. Membership in the club is currently handled directly by the World Series of Poker.
Induction into the Poker Hall of Fame is considered one of the biggest and most prestigious honors in the game of poker. The Grand Old Man of Poker Johnny Moss and Nick “Nick the Greek” Dandolos were among the first players to be inducted into the club.
Moneymaker and Oppenheim both made significant contribution to poker throughout their respective careers and have achieved great success playing the game. Below are some of their accomplishments.
Chris Moneymaker
Moneymaker is largely credited for the poker boom which occurred between 2003 and 2006. His massive victory in the 2003 WSOP Main Event stunned everyone as he was an amateur competing heads-up against a more experienced player in the person of Sam Farha. Moneymaker won his way into the huge event by taking part in a $40 online satellite. He collected $2.5 million as top prize and became an instant superstar.
After his game-changing victory, Moneymaker was appointed as a PokerStars Ambassador, something that keeps him busy up to this day.
Moneymaker was also nominated to the class of 2018 but did not make the cut. Some raised objections to Moneymaker being nominated as he has never won a WSOP bracelet since the 2003 Main Event. However, he has worked for many years in different capacities to spread the game of poker and be an ambassador for poker in general.
After being inducted, Moneymaker said he’s truly honored and very happy to be recognized by his peers. He dedicated the award to his children.
David Oppenheim
Oppenheim was the only player among the 10 finalists who has yet to win a WSOP bracelet. His nearly $2 million in live tournament earnings also pales compared to that of his fellow nominees, but what sets him apart is his consistent performance in the high-stakes arena.
Oppenheim usually comes out on top in the high stakes games in Bobby’s Room. He has been crushing the high stakes cash games usually away from the cameras, making him one of poker’s unsung heroes.
The American poker pro started getting interested in poker when he was 19 and that passion has grown every year. After he was inducted into the PhOF, the 46-year-old revealed becoming a professional poker was never part of his plans. It was a passion that turned into his full time job.
Oppenheim said he has been fortunate enough to be able to make a living out of doing what he loves. He believes hard work, passion and determination are the key to achieving success in poker. Oppenheim said being acknowledged as one of the all-time greats by his peers was a humbling experience.
There are now a total of 58 players inducted to the Poker Hall of Fame. Among the inductees over the last ten years are Mike Sexton (2009), Erik Seidel (2010), Linda Johnson (2011), Brian “Sailor” Roberts (2012), Scotty Nguyen (2013), Daniel Negreanu (2014), Jennifer Harman (2015), Carlos Mortensen (2016), Phil Ivey (2017), John Hennigan (2018).

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