2019 Poker Hall of Fame Nominees: Where’s Moneymaker?


The 2019 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is in full swing over in Las Vegas, Nevada, and earlier this week the 10 nominees for the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame election were announced and they have split the opinions of the poker community.

A panel of 30 living Poker Hall of Fame and a select group of 21 industry experts are set to cast their votes before July 8th with up to two of the nominees being inducted into poker’s history books before the 2019 WSOP Main Event shuffles up and deals for the first time.

That panel will select from the following 10 poker players.

  • Chris Bjorin
  • David Chiu
  • Eli Elezra
  • Antonio Esfandiari
  • Chris Ferguson
  • Ted Forrest
  • Mike Matusow
  • Chris Moneymaker
  • David Oppenheim
  • Huck Seed

The criteria the panel must adhere to before voting for who they think should become part of the Class of 2019 has been altered in recent years, but it is still a topic that causes hot debate.

In 2009, nominations from the public were considered when it came to compiling the list of 10 finalists. This resulted in a then 23-year-old Tom “durrrr” Dwan becoming a finalist for the Poker Hall of Fame, although he missed out to the now partypoker Chairman Mike Sexton. As a result, further changes to the criteria were made stating nominees must be at least 40-years of age, something now known as “the Chip Reese rule”.

Poker Hall of Fame Criteria

  • Must have played against acknowledged competition
  • Be at least 40-years-old
  • Played for high stakes
  • Played consistently well, gaining the respect of their peers
  • Stood the test of time
  • For non-players, contributed to the growth and success of the game of poker with lasting and indelible positive results

Following the above voting criteria, it is hard to make a case against any of the nominees being inducted into the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame, although some sections of the poker community has been discussing the merits of Chris Moneymaker.

Moneymaker, a member of Team PokerStars, the world’s biggest online poker site’s roster of sponsored pros has a WSOP bracelet to his name after he won the 2003 WSOP Main Event, defeating Sammy Farha heads-up to secure the $2.5 million first-place prize. Since then, however, Moneymaker has cashed for an additional $1,763,401 over 16 years or an average $110,212 per year. These are hardly figures that are setting the world alight.

Poker community members are highlighting the fact that Moneymaker is considered to be a player and thus should be judged on his playing merit. If that was to be the case, the PokerStars ambassador should not even be on the list of finalists.

Moneymaker: The most apt name ever

Chris Moneymaker

Chris Moneymaker

The man with the most apt surname ever, should not only be on the list of the 10 finalists, but should also be welcomed into the Poker Hall of Fame with open arms. Here is why.

Having won an $86 buy-in satellite online at PokerStars that awarded a seat in the 2003 WSOP Main Event, Moneymaker, then an accountant from Atlanta, Georgia, was living the dream. Here was Moneymaker, a normal everyday man on the streets, rubbing shoulders with poker’s wily professionals in their own back yard. To make matters even better, this was Moneymaker’s first major live poker tournament.

Moneymaker found himself heads-up against seasoned pro Sammy Farha where he ran one of the most spectacular bluffs in WSOP history before finally defeating Farha to claim the bracelet, $2.5 million in cash and the title of World Champion. Moneymaker had taken on the pros and won, beating them at their own game and selling the dream to millions of wannabe poker players around the world; the “Moneymaker Effect” was born.

The Moneymaker Effect

Without Moneymaker’s victory in the 2003 WSOP Main Event there is every chance online poker would have fizzled out. His story created the Moneymaker Effect that saw online poker sites burst into life and and offered dozens of satellite tournaments into huge event. Attendances at the WSOP exploded to almost unbelievable levels. Moneymaker defeated a field of 839 players in 2003, the same tournament saw 2,576 enter in 2004, some 5,619 players buy into the 2005 Main Event and a still-record 8,773 hopefuls entered the 2006 edition of the WSOP Main Event. No field has been less than 6,352 since 2006. This would not have happened without Moneymaker’s influence.

He may not have stellar results to his name. He may not be battling it out with poker’s elite grinders week in week out, but PokerStars’ Moneymaker is a true Poker Hall of Famer and would be deserving of a place in the Class of 2019.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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