Poker Hall of Fame shortlist is out: why I feel Matusow and Seed will sneak in

Poker Hall of Fame shortlist is out: why I feel Matusow and Seed will sneak in

The short-list for the 2018 Poker Hall of Fame nominees is out. There are two new faces, eight old ones, and Lee Davy uses a high tech AI inspired algorithm to choose Mike Matusow and Huck Seed as his picks. 

When I’m on point, I wake up moments before my alarm kicks in; I’m talking seconds.

Poker Hall of Fame shortlist is out: why I feel Matusow and Seed will sneak inMy phone is my alarm. I leave it by the side of my bed. Airplane Mode, of course. I don’t want to catch Wi-Fi brain cancer. And when I’m blunt, it goes off, and reaches out to me, slowly, lava-like, the burn pulling me out of another dimension.

Sometimes, I am still in a hypnogogic trance.

The chemicals my brain uses to stop me from falling out of bed, prevent me from reaching my arm over and pressing the shut the fuck up button and the Old Hag sits at my feet with a toothy grin.

It wears off, eventually.

I get my shit together and am sitting in my office in Coffee #1, staring at the passers-by hoping for inspiration.

“How many articles do you write?” My new composer buddy asked me last night over a pizza that contained a rainbow of courgette.


“That’s insane.”

It is.

And sometimes I sit here and wonder what the point is? Not in a Lemming way, but a brief existential crisis way. It’s linked to my biological and psychological urge to leave behind a legacy.

But whose wall will I adorn?


You see, I’m not like these guys.

The Poker Hall of Fame 

The Poker Hall of Fame began in 1979 as a tourist gimmick to drag punters into Binions Casino in Downtown Las Vegas. It still works, today. It dragged me in.

I have to admit, it looked pathetic.

The modern-day heroes were missing.

It looked old; out of place.

Harrah’s Entertainment acquired the trademark/idea/call it what you will it when they bought the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2004.

54 members.

28 of them still alive.

Two more added each year.

The 2018 Short List 

The public nomination process is complete, and after a thorough vetting from the Poker Hall of Fame (PHOF) Governing Council, we have a short list of ten.

1. Chris Bjorin
2. David Chiu
3. Mori Eskandani
4. Bruno Fitoussi
5. John Hennigan
6. Mike Matusow
7. Chris Moneymaker
8. David Oppenheim
9. Matt Savage
10. Huck Seed

Of these ten, only John Hennigan and David Oppenheim appear for the first time. For this reason, I am going to cross them off my list as serious candidates.

The next stage of the process is for the 28 living members of the Hall of Fame, coupled with an 18-person Blue Ribbon Panel of media members (what the hell does that even mean?) to choose one or two.

Given that the vast majority of these people are American, it’s unusual for them to choose non-Americans. After incredible pressure from non-American media sources and players, and a little help from their American brethren, Carlos Mortensen found his way into the club in 2016, and voters posthumously inducted Dave ‘Devilfish’ Ulliot a year later.

That’s enough.

Close the doors.

Chris Bjorin, Bruno Fitoussi – you’re out.

So that leaves:

1. David Chiu
2. Mori Eskandani
3. Mike Matusow
4. Chris Moneymaker
5. Matt Savage
6. Huck Seed

Moneymaker’s inclusion divides opinion.

1. David Chiu
2. Mori Eskandani
3. Mike Matusow
4. Matt Savage
5. Huck Seed

The WSOP brief on Mori Eskandani reads, You may not know the name, but you definitely know the work.


1. David Chiu
2. Mike Matusow
3. Matt Savage
4. Huck Seed

My research assistant phoned in sick with Dengue fever this morning, so I am going to have to go with the thumb in the air. I believe Mike Matusow and Huck Seed have appeared on this list more than anyone.

So here’s my punt for this year’s Poker Hall of Fame based on the theory that the voting group won’t want to embarrass them year-after-year.

1. Mike Matusow
2. Huck Seed

The Next Stage 

The 28 living members of the Hall of Fame, and the 18 members of the media have until July, 8 to cast their votes in line with a criterion a tad more specific than the one I used to reach my conclusion.

• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
• Be a minimum of 40 years old at 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.

The induction ceremony takes place as part of the WSOP Main Event Final Table shenanigans on July 13, and ESPN will broadcast.

Ok, that’s it.

I’m off to find a wall.

Let’s hope the WSOP build one within the RIO so by the time the poker world next visits there will be 56 faces on there that remind us of how great this game is.