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Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim Inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame

David Oppenheim and Chris Moneymaker Inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame
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  • Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim join poker's elite after being 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

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."

Chris Moneymaker
Chris Moneymaker at this year's World Series of Poker

David Oppenheim

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."

David Oppenheim
David Oppenheim at this year's World Series of Poker

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.

MemberYearMemberYearMemberYear
Tom Abdo1982Barry Greenstein2011Johnny Moss1979
Crandell Addington2005Jennifer Harman2015Daniel Negreanu2014
Bobby Baldwin2003Dan Harrington2010Scotty Nguyen2013
Billy Baxter2006Murph Harrold1984David Oppenheim2019
Lyle Berman2002Phil Hellmuth2007Henry Orenstein2008
Joe Bernstein1983John Hennigan2018Walter "Puggy" Pearson1987
Benny Binion1990James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok1979Julius Oral Popwell1996
Jack Binion2005Red Hodges1985Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston1992
Bill Boyd1981Edmond Hoyle1979David "Chip" Reese1991
Doyle Brunson1988Phil Ivey2017Brian "Sailor" Roberts2012
Todd Brunson2016Linda Johnson2011Erik Seidel2010
Johnny Chan2002Berry Johnston2004Mike Sexton2009
T.J. Cloutier2006John Juanda2015Jack "Treetop" Straus1988
Nick Dandolos1979Jack Keller1993Duane "Dewey" Tomko2008
Eric Drache2012Jack McClelland2014David "Devilfish" Ulliott2017
Barbara Enright2007Felton McCorquodale1979Stu "The Kid" Ungar2001
Mori Eskandani2018Tom McEvoy2013Red Winn1979
Fred "Sarge" Ferris1989Chris Moneymaker2019Sid Wyman1979
Henry Green1986Roger Moore1997  
T "Blondie" Forbes1980Carlos Mortensen2016  

*Lead image courtesy of the Poker Hall of Fame. More information about the Poker Hall of Fame via WSOP.com/pokerhalloffame/ and Wikipedia.

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