Six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and $25 million man Brian Rast is the 2023 inductee of the Poker Hall of Fame.
“I am very pleased to receive this recognition for the work I have put into my craft during my entire adult life,” Rast said at the announcement ceremony that proceeded the $1,979 buy-in Poker Hall of Fame bounty tournament. “I am deeply honored to be chosen.”
He spoke to a crowd that included friends, family, and a handful of players with their pictures already hanging on the wall of the poker room at Horseshoe Las Vegas. They were Scotty Nguyen, Barbara Enright, Mori Eskandani, Johnny Chan, Barry Greenstein, Todd Brunson, Berry Johnston, Eli Elezra, and Jack McClelland.
The Poker Hall of Fame now has 72 players.
Rast has the resume
Rast put himself at the top of the list after winning the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship for a third time this Summer. Michael Mizrachi is another three-time winner of that tournament.
He has more than $25 million run tournament winnings since 2005. His biggest cash came when he won the $500,000 Super High Roller Bowl in 2015 for $7.5 million.
Three of his largest cashes came in the Poker Player’s Championship. He has more than $8.9 million in cashes in WSOP events alone.
“With a nearly 20-year-long career riddled with record-breaking wins and historic runs, Brian Rast is one of the best poker players we’ve ever seen,” said WSOP Vice President Jack Effel at the ceremony. “With the 2023 WSOP breaking records left and right, it only makes sense to put a record-setter himself amongst some of the greatest of all time. We are honored to induct Brian Rast into the Poker Hall of Fame and look forward to his successes to come.”
At 41, he entered the Hall in only his second year of eligibility. He also easily ticked off the other boxes that the WSOP asks the public to consider when nominating players:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
- Be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of their nomination
- Played for high stakes
- Played consistently well, gaining the respect of their peers
- Stood the test of time
- Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results
Joining Rast on the nominee list were Josh Arieh, Jeremy Ausmus, Ted Forrest, Kathy Liebert, Mike Matusow, Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg, Bill Smith, and Lon McEachern and Norman Chad (Broadcasters Lon McEachern and Norman Chad were nominated as a pair).
The nominations came from a combination of public voting and from WSOP representatives.
All 32 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame had 10 points to distribute between the 10 nominees, and the person with the most points got in.
Since 2020, the Poker Hall of Fame made the decision to induct only one person, creating a sort of bottleneck of arguably deserving players and industry leaders.
With so many players on the outside looking in, it will be particularly hard for industry members — like World Poker Tour Tournament Director Matt Savage and PokerStar’s founder Isai Scheinberg — to find the votes.
Rast acknowledged the bottleneck in his speech, and vowed to encourage the WSOP to make some changes.
“Now that I’m in, I have votes,” he said. “I’m going to do my duty to make sure the Hall gets the incoming generation right. There are a lot of amazing players in the poker world who deserve recognition for their careers.”
Poker Hall of Fame members
The Poker Hall of Fame was founded by Benny Binion. It was included in the sale of the WSOP to Caesars in 2004.
|Wild Bill Hickok||1979|
|Jack “Treetop” Straus||1988|
|Amarillo Slim Preston||1992|
|Julius Oral Popwell||1996|
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