On Sunday, the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame inducted their Class of 2016. This year the hall welcome six new members and each with their own storied history in the poker industry.
Let’s take a quick look at the six new members of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.
Mark Tenner has been a major influence in the poker world for decades both on and off of the felt. For over 40 years, he has been a player, coach, industry expert and more.
Tenner is known by many Omaha players as an accomplished author, teaming with Lou Kreiger to pen Winning Omaha 8 Poker and Mastering Omaha 8 Poker.
He is also listed as a co-founder and a partner for CardPlayer Cruises. Something that many poker fans may not know is that Tenner is listed as a co-producer on the pilot episode of the World Poker Tour.
As a player, Tenner has more then $400,000 in career earnings with results dating back to the mid-1980s. His largest score came in 2009 when he finished runner-up in the $2,500 Omaha Hi-Lo Event at the World Series of Poker.
While many younger poker players may not recognize Bob “The Coach” Ciaffone by name, his influence can be felt in just about every form of poker played. Back in 1984, Ciaffone authored “Robert’s Rules of Poker” and the book quickly became the authority of rules in most variants of poker.
The Coach dedicated his life to gameplaying in one form or another. According to his website, he supported himself in the 1960s by playing pool, in the 1970s by backgammon and starting in the 1980s, he started making a living by playing, teaching and writing about poker.
Ciaffone is a noted author having authored multiple books and countless articles for various publications, including CardPlayer. However, his career has not been confined to the pen and coaching. He is also quite the accomplished poker player.
“It is not so much how many hands you play as how you play them that makes for winning poker" Bob Ciaffone. https://t.co/yCSQERaKa8— Titanbet Poker (@Titanbet_Poker) December 23, 2015
Ciaffone’s greatest accomplishment in pro poker is his third place finish in the 1987 WSOP Main Event. Yes, the same Main Event that Johnny Chan won the first of his back-to-back Main Event titles.
Looking at his profile, the majority of his cashes in his career were final table appearances. And he shows no signs of slowing down. In 2015, he ran deep in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 276th. This year, he has two WSOP cashes, including the Seniors Championship.
Younger poker players have no clue of the impact that Wendeen Eolis has had on the game of poker both on the felt and off. On the felt, she set several milestones for women in poker.
Eolis was the first woman in poker history to cash in the WSOP Main Event, doing so in 1986 and the first to do so twice when she cashed in 1993. In addition, in 1990 she was the first woman to win an open field European Poker Championship event, defeating Poker Hall of Famer Eric Drache heads-up.
Away from the table, she has been an activist for improving the poker world and promoting it as a game of skill. She has reported extensively about the legal climate of live and online poker, most notably for Poker Player Newspaper in the past.
Perhaps one of her most important causes was her advocacy to make poker rooms in America smoke free. She became one of the first in the poker industry to speak out against allowing smoking in poker rooms and helped change the poker landscape to make a healthier environment for all players.
If you’ve read CardPlayer Magazine in the last three decades, odds are that you’re familiar with the comedic style of Max Shapiro. Shapiro is known affectionately as “the world’s foremost poker humorist” and has regaled the poker community with larger than life stories about “Big Denny” and anything from his delightfully twisted mind.
Max has traveled the circuit for decades writing about everything poker. I met Max during my very first live poker event in Tunica, MS and got to know him a bit better in Los Angeles, mostly because I found myself quite frequently at the same table as his wife Barbara Enright. Many know Max as “Mr. Barbara Enright” and the two make the most adorable poker couple in history.
They say poker is a zero-sum game. It must be, because every time I play my sum ends up zero. – Max Shapiro #Poker— Ivey Poker (@IveyPoker) October 2, 2013
While Max will often refer to himself as “dead money,” that’s not always the case. He has a respectable poker resume that’s primarily final table appearances. His last victory came in a evening event at a WSOP Circuit event in 2006. The majority of his deep runs have come in Omaha or Omaha Hi-Lo events.
Lyle Berman is easily the most accomplished player among those inducted on Sunday. A member of the Pro Poker Hall of Fame, Berman has $2.67 million in lifetime earnings along with 3 WSOP bracelets. He also finished 5th in the 1989 WSOP Main Event.
Of course, we cannot forget that he has a major influence in the poker industry away from the tables. He was a co-founder of Grand Casinos, Inc in 1990 and proceeded to build several casinos before merging with Hilton Hotels.
Hilton then created Lakes Gaming, now Lakes Gaming and Berman became CEO. A subsidiary of the company then purchased a majority of the common shares of the World Poker Tour and Berman then became the Chairman of the Board of the WPT.
Berman also co-authored his autobiography I’m All In: Lyle Berman and the Birth of the World Poker Tour.
Tex Morgan is a mountain of a man, reportedly standing at 6 ft, 6 inches and has a poker resume that dates back to the early 1980’s. With over $300,000 in tournament earnings, the majority of his career seems to have been spent in lower buy-in events. However, his skill in those events is unmatched with over 70 final table appearances throughout the years.
Morgan’s most important contribution to the game is a computer program that he created to analyze tournament blind structures. His Tournament Evaluation and Rating System, aka TEARS, sought to standardize blind structures in tournaments.
Prior to this program, many tournaments were virtual crapshoots after a certain point because blinds doubled at the start of every level. The Tex’s TEARS system allowed tournament organizers to create events that allowed for more play but also allowed the events to end in a reasonable timeframe.
What is the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame?
The Seniors Poker Hall of Fame recognizes those players and industry members over the age of 50 that have greatly contributed to the game of poker. Oklahoma Johnny Hale is the official caretaker of the Seniors Poker Hall of Fame.
The SPHOF includes many old school poker pros and professionals and is a bit more low-key than either the Pro Poker Hall of Fame or the Women in Poker Hall of Fame. Regardless, induction into any Hall of Fame is a great honor and we congratulate the Class of 2016 on their achievements.