Two new players just cemented their place in poker history as the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council announced the Class of 2016, inducting Todd Brunson and Carlos Mortensen to the exclusive group. Brunson, 47, and Mortensen, 44, have been playing poker for over 40 years combined.
After dropping out of Texas Tech University to play poker professionally, Brunson became the proud owner of one World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet and 47 money finishes to go along with seven additional World Poker Tour cashes. He won over $13.5 million in just two days in a heads-up $50,000-$100,000 limit hold-em game and, as of 2015, his total live tournament winnings exceed $4,000,000.
“It’s a true honor to be inducted by my peers into this prestigious institution,” Brunson said in a release. “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.”
For Brunson, poker is a family affair. His father, Doyle Brunson, joined the hall in 1988 and currently runs the online poker room DoylesRoom.com.
Mortensen will be the Hall of Fame’s first true international member – he was born in Ecuador and moved to the United States from Spain in the late 1990s to pursue his poker career.
“I have been playing poker professionally for more than 20 years,” Mortensen told his fans in a 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.”
Both 2001 and 2003 saw WSOP bracelet wins for Mortensen, giving him the title of the first Hispanic Main Event winner of the WSOP. He has amassed 15 World Poker Tour money finishes and one European Poker Tour money finish. As of 2014, his total live tournament winnings exceed $11,400,000.
The Hall of Fame was founded in Las Vegas in 1979 and is now handled directly by the World Series of Poker. Brunson and Mortenson become just the 51st and 52nd members of the exclusive clubs, which only has 21 living inductees. In order to be considered, players must be a minimum of 40 years old, have played poker against top competition, played for high stakes, and “stood the test of time” (among other qualifications).
Jennifer Harman and John Juanda were the 2015 inductees.
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