Most poker players dream of the day they get to join one extremely exclusive club: the Poker Hall of Fame. Each year, multiple nominees fight for the chance to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, whether for their achievements at the best online poker sites or their contribution to making the industry thrive.
This year, ten major poker players were nominated for the PHoF, but only one would be remembered forever as one of the best players of our time: Brian Rast. Who is he? What has he done to deserve this highly coveted position? And who are the other players he managed to overshadow?
Brian Rast: the Newest Poker Hall of Fame Member
Brian Rast, a 41-year-old poker player from Las Vegas, is the 61st person to join the prestigious Poker Hall of Fame. Like many of today's poker pros, Rast began playing poker professionally during his university years, deciding to drop out of Stanford to pursue his dreams.
Also known as 'tsarRast' in the online poker circuit, Rast climbed up the poker ladder by participating in online cash games instead of frequenting live tournaments. But while he didn't seem to be a big fan of tournaments, he still played in some from time to time, landing himself decent wins.
In fact, one of his latest wins occurred at this year's WSOP event, as he won first place in the $50,000 7-Handed Championship, adding $1,324,747 to his wins.
Rast has made $25,258,945 in live earnings so far, making him one of the most profitable poker players in California. But his financial achievements are not Rast's only accomplishments throughout his career.
He won six WSOP bracelets over the years, in addition to being the only player in history to make more than $1,000,000 a year for seven years in a row (between 2011 and 2017).
Rast was voted into the Poker Hall of Fame by the 31 living members of the same club, and he was clearly a strong favorite straight from the beginning. His successful poker career made him stand out from the crowd years ago, but since he only turned 40 a year ago, he wasn't eligible to join the PHoF until recently.
2023 Poker Hall of Fame Candidacy List
While it is clear why Rast made poker history, the nine other PHoF nominees are also worth mentioning.
- Josh Arieh – A six-time bracelet winner from Atlanta, who made more than $12m in live earnings throughout his career.
- Jeremy Ausmus – Another WSOP veteran with six bracelets under his belt, Ausmus made more than $16m over the years.
- Ted Forrest – Residing in Las Vegas, Forrest also won six bracelets while participating in WSOP events, while his live earnings remain rather modest at $6,392,893.
- Kathy Liebert – Liebert made over $6m by playing poker, in addition to winning one WSOP bracelet, and was previously inducted into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame.
- Mike Matusow – Nicknamed "The Mouth" for trash-talking at the tables, Matusow is a four-time WSOP winner and the 2005 winner of the WSOP Tournament of Champions.
- Lon McEachern and Norman Chad – The two ESPN commentators have made a name for themselves over the years, even though their actual poker experience is minimal.
- Matt Savage – A respected tournament director and the conductor of the Tournament Director's Association, Savage certainly left his mark on the poker industry.
- Isai Scheinberg – The founder of PokerStars online poker site, Scheinberg doesn't need to play poker to affect the game we love so much.
- Bill Smith – A former WSOP champion, Smith won the 11985 WSOP Main Event. Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 61 and wasn't able to enjoy the nomination like the rest of the players on the list.
Not everyone gets the honor of being nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame, not to mention being inducted into it. Congratulations to Brian Rast!