Todd Brunson, Carlos Mortensen Elected to Poker Hall of Fame
Caesars Entertainment announced Thursday that Todd Brunson and Carlos Mortensen have been named as the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2016. The two will be formally inducted on October 26th at a dinner and ceremony in the Longhorn Room (formerly Benny’s Bullpen) of Binion’s Gambling Hall in downtown Las Vegas.
Brunson and Mortensen were two of ten finalists chosen during the public nomination process and subsequent vetting by the Poker Hall of Fame’s Governing Council this fall. After that, 44 voters – consisting of the living Poker Hall of Fame members and select members of the poker media – cast their votes. Each voter had ten votes which could be distributed however they liked. We do not know how the vote tallies ended up, but regardless of the final counts, Brunson and Brenes were the ones elected to the Hall of Fame.
The criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame, as detailed on its website, are:
- 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.
With the induction of Carlos Mortensen, an insane European drought in the Poker Hall of Fame has been broken. It was (and really, still is) so bad that every member of the Poker Hall of Fame was American (though some originally hailed from elsewhere) until now except for Edmund Hoyle, who passed away before the United States gained its independence.
It is difficult to measure the success of most poker players, as the only consistent accurate public records we have are of live tournament results. In that venue, though, Mortensen has been one of the all-time kings. He won the 2001 World Series of Poker Main Event and has nearly $12 million in lifetime live tournament earnings. Mortensen is the only player to have won both the WSOP Main Event and the WPT World Championship. Of course, we don’t have records of all the tournaments that he entered and didn’t cash, but according to the WSOP, he has one of the best hit rates of anyone in history.
“I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years,” said Mortensen in a WSOP press release. “This game has given me so many things that I have come to cherish. I’ve always wanted to be included among the great players who make up the Poker Hall of Fame. To be included with the legends makes me very happy. I want to thank my friends, the poker fans, and all the people who vote for me. I take this honor very seriously.”
The first thing that comes to most poker fans’ minds when hearing the name Todd Brunson is likely his father, Doyle Brunson. But Brunson is an elite player in his own right. He has 52 WSOP cashes plus a gold bracelet and more than $4 million in live tournament earnings. Where he has really shined, though, has been in high stakes live cash games, games in which he is known as a mixed games expert. His cash game prowess was documented in Michael Craig’s book, The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King; Brunson was part of a group of poker players called “The Corporation” which took on wealthy banker Andy Beal in a series of heads-up matches. Brunson won $13.5 million from Beal.
“It’s a true honor to be inducted by my peers into this prestigious institution,” said Brunson. “I literally grew up attending these ceremonies and have always respected and admired its members. To join their ranks is the honor of a lifetime.”
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