The ten finalists vying for entry into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2013 have been named, and the list shows a who’s who of legends of the game.
The players who have made it to the final stage of selections are; Chris Björin, Humberto Brenes, David Chiu, Thor Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Mike Matusow, Tom McEvoy, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen and Huck Seed.
Two of those final ten players will be inducted into the exclusive Hall of Fame following a vote by the 19 living Poker Hall of Fame members and 18 other significant figures in the game of poker. The nominees that end up being selected will be revealed just before this year’s World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table that takes place next month.
It is highly possible that history could be made this year in that a European player could very well be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame for the first time ever. Three of the finalists – Mortensen, Hansen and Björin – hail from the continent, and Björin and Hansen were both also nominated last year (both made the final ten but were ultimately not selected).
However, it could be the other 2013 European finalist who may have the biggest chance of making the Hall of Fame class of 2013. While all three players have poker careers that garner the utmost admiration of all poker lovers and enthusiasts, Mortensen is the only one to have won a WSOP Main Event, having done so in 2001.
The Spanish player has also made it to the final table in other WSOP events on nine occasions, one of them resulting in a WSOP gold bracelet. He also narrowly missed out on this year’s Main Event final table, finishing in tenth place. Mortensen has also seen success at the World Poker Tour (WPT), having won three titles and having made it to five final tables in WPT events.
Despite his long sheet of poker feats, Mortensen has not been in the professional poker realm anywhere near as long as Hansen and Björin, something that could work against him. Hailing from Sweden, Björin has been playing professional poker tournaments since the 1980s, and made his first WSOP final table at the 1991 World Series.
His two WSOP gold bracelet victories, 62 WSOP in-the-money finishes, and consistently great poker play over the last quarter-century certainly gives Björin a major case for being inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2013.
Hansen, who hails from Norway, has also been a consistent high-level poker player since the 1980s, having won his first WSOP gold bracelet in a $5,000 Seven-Card Stud event back in 1988. Like Björin, Hansen has also won two WSOP titles, and also has 46 WSOP in-the-money finishes to his name. His longevity and consistency on the professional poker scene also makes him a solid bet to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame this year.
All of the seven non-European finalists are also very highly-accomplished in their own right, which makes the final stage of the vote for this year’s Hall of Fame inductees highly competitive. There will likely be much debate over who the selections could and will be, but whoever gets the nod this year will certainly be deserving of the honor.