Mori Eskandani, John Hennigan Elected to Poker Hall of Fame
Two of the most popular poker world veterans, Mori Eskandani and John Hennigan, have been announced as the newest inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame. The big reveal came with relatively little fanfare during a break at the final table of the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event.
To be eligible for induction, people must meet a set of criteria:
- 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.
Granted, some of these are fairly subjective, but that’s kind of what the Poker Hall of Fame is. If it was just a mathematical process based strictly on tournament results or something, that would be boring.
The process to lead us here began with a public nomination process conducted online. The Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council vetted the nominees and came up with a list of ten finalists. At that point, it was up to the 28 living Hall of Famers and a group of 18 media members to submit their ballots based on the finalist list. They had ten votes to spread around however they would like, whether that would mean one per finalist or all ten to one person. The top one or two vote-getters (we don’t actually know if there is a vote threshold required) were then named as Poker Hall of Famers. Obviously, it was two in this case.
Mori Eskandani is responsible for most of poker television as we know it today. A former high stakes poker player (who still plays, just not as much), Eskandani created the Poker Superstars show with Henry Orenstein (inventor of the camera that shows players’ hole cards) in 2004. He then went on to produce such hits as Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, and the WSOP on ESPN with his company, PokerPROductions.
Universally loved in the industry, Eskandani was told of his election live on the air at the Main Event final table. He was emotional, saying, “I don’t know what to say. I’m in shock…I will definitely cherish this moment the rest of my life. This is amazing. This is amazing. And John Hennigan, he knows how much I love him.”
John Hennigan is a guy that the casual poker fan probably hasn’t heard much about. He was a fixture on televised poker tournaments during the poker boom, but he has never been one to market himself, nor has he been a big online poker star. During the WSOP broadcast the other night, Nick Schulman interviewed him, saying that he had been in the “Underground Poker Hall of Fame” for a long time, incredibly respected by his peers.
Not even 48-years old yet, Hennigan has won five World Series of Poker bracelets, including one this year in the $10,000 HORSE Championship and the 2014 $50,000 Poker Players Championship. He has more than $8 million in live tournament earnings.
And though he isn’t a household name outside of those who are very in tune with the poker world, Hennigan is probably drawing more attention right now, as he sits in second in the WSOP Player of the Year rankings. He was first until Saturday night, when Shaun Deeb won his second bracelet of the summer to overtake him.
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