The results are in and first-time nominee John Hennigan and poker television production executive Mori Eskandani made their way into the 2018 Poker Hall of Fame.
Members 55 and 56, respectively, Hennigan and Eskandani received initial nominations from the public. These nominations, were slimmed down by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council.
Here were the 10 finalists:
- Chris Bjorin
- David Chiu
- Mori Eskandani
- Bruno Fitoussi
- John Hennigan
- Mike Matusow
- Chris Moneymaker
- David Oppenheim
- Matt Savage
- Huckleberry Seed
Eight of the 10 were previous finalists, with Oppenheim and Hennigan being the only new nominees. The other finalists will still be eligible for future inductions.
Then, the candidates were voted in by the 28 living Poker Hall of Fame members and an 18‑person Blue Ribbon Media Panel.
The Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council announced the 2018 Hall of Famers on July 12 as part of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table coverage on ESPN.
The members of the Poker Hall of Fame must meet the following criteria, according to the WSOP:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
- Be at least 40 years old at time of nomination
- Played for high stakes
- Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
- Stood the test of time
- Non-players: Contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker with indelible positive and lasting results
‘Johnny World’ dominates WSOP
Hennigan, known to many as “Johnny World,” has had a successful World Series of Poker run. Beyond that, he remains low profile, often frequenting cash game, but his wins speak for themselves.
Here’s how he fared in the 2018 World Series of Poker:
- 1st – $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. (Event #27) – $414,692
- 2nd – $50,000 Poker Players Championship (Event #33) – $765,837
- 7th – $10,000 Razz – Championship (Event #56) – $40,817
- 7th – $10,000 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship (Event #23) – $32,796
- 7th – $1,500 Dealers Choice 6 Handed (Event #12) – $11,930
- 11th – $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. (Event #76) – $11,456
- 12th – $2,500 Mixed Big Bet (Event #40) – $6,874
- 16th – $3,200 No Limit Hold’em Online High Roller (Event #63) – $11,090
- 16th – $10,000 Limit Hold’em – Championship (Event #52) – $14,615
- 28th – $2,500 Mixed Triple Draw Lowball (Event #8) – $4,942
- 176th – $1,000 No Limit Hold’em – Double Stack (Event #73) – $1,496
With over $8 million in career tournament wins and five WSOP gold bracelets, Hennigan, 48, has shown his expertise in all variants:
- Limit Hold’em
- Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo
- 2-7 Lowball
- 2014 $50,000 Poker Players Championship
His 11 cashes in the WSOP also keep him ahead of the pack in another race: The WSOP Player of the Year race.
“I’m very excited by this news and grateful that it came at a point in my career when I was mature enough to be honored by it because I am,” said Hennigan to WSOP.
Eskandani continually shows his producing prowess
While “Poker after Dark” went off the air in 2011, the show came back in 2017 under Poker PROductions with Mori Eskandani at the helm. He was the founder and original creator of the show and had this to say about its impact:
“‘Poker After Dark’ achieved some of the most breathtaking moments in poker by bringing the fans into an intimate setting up close and personal with the players. PokerGO is the perfect destination for the return of ‘Poker After Dark’ and we look forward to bringing back the same spirit of the show that made it such a hit in the past.”
Eskandani also took the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Third Annual American Poker Awards from the Global Poker Index in 2017.
At 61 years of age, Eskandani has produced much of the most influential poker television content, with everything from Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker, to the National Heads-Up Championship, the World Series of Poker on ESPN, and other poker content.
Eskandani was a notable cash game player when he first moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in the 1980s. Overall, his live earnings sit at $566,742 with his highest live cash at $68,040. He last cashed in the World Series of Poker in 2016.
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