Posts Tagged ‘Devilfish’

Phil Ivey, David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott Inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

 Phil Ivey, David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott Inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

During the broadcast of Friday night’s action at the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event final table, the two latest inductees for the Poker Hall of Fame were announced. With congratulations, one of them was a first-ballot inductee in Phil Ivey and the other was a well-deserved and beloved choice in David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott.

“I want to thank the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame as well as the media who voted for me to be part of the Poker Hall of Fame,” said Ivey. “It’s an honor to be inducted alongside legends like Chip Reese and Doyle Brunson. I love the game of poker and the game has done a lot for me.  I am one of the lucky people who has been able to make a living playing a game which was always my passion. Thankfully, I’m just as passionate about the game today as when I first stepped into Binion’s Horseshoe to play my first-ever WSOP. Thank you to my family, my friends, and all the poker fans across the world that supported me on this journey.”

Ivey was considered a shoo-in for nomination for the resume he has built over the last 20-odd years. From the days he played in the New Jersey poker rooms using a friend’s identification – which brought him the nickname “No Home Jerome” for the amount of time he spent playing on the Boardwalk – and over the next two decades, it is arguable there isn’t a more feared player in the game. His first tournament cash dates to 1998, when he won a Customer Appreciation event for $ 1000, and he certainly has gone on to greater things in the years that followed.

In Ivey’s first serious foray into a tournament schedule in 2000, he would final table four events at the First Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica, MS, before moving on to Las Vegas for the WSOP. In the span of 10 days that year, Ivey cashed three times and made two final tables, including winning his first WSOP bracelet in Pot Limit Omaha. Phil Ivey was now known to the world and he took full advantage of it.

He holds the record for most final tables on the World Poker Tour with 10, winning one of those opportunities in 2008 at the L. A. Poker Classic. Ivey has also cashed 59 times at the WSOP, with 10 bracelet victories that put him in second place all-time (only behind Phil Hellmuth and tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan). More impressive than his tournament record, however, is his cash game statistics.

It is conceivable that Ivey has made twice as much playing cash games around the world than his $ 23 million-plus that he’s won on the tournament circuit. In fact, over the past few years, those cash games have infringed on his play at the WSOP, slowing down his pursuit of Hellmuth. Still, one of the qualifications for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame is to have “played for high stakes,” and Ivey has played for the highest possible.

The Ulliott family commented to WSOP officials regarding the induction of their loved one. “As a family, we would like to thank the general public, media and current Poker Hall of Fame members that voted David into the Poker Hall of Fame.  We know he will be up there strumming on his guitar and probably asking what took so long! How he might say it – I think you all know!”

“There isn’t a day that goes past when we don’t think of him and miss him but today we are so proud and delighted that he takes his rightful place in poker history – the legend of the Devilfish lives on!  One thing we know he would be happy about is the progress of John Hesp in the Main Event, a regular at Napoleon’s in Hull, David’s home city in the UK.  John represents what poker is all about – a true game of the people.”

“There are too many people to individually thank but we would particularly like to thank Rob Yong and Simon Trumper of Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham for their support and also we would like to thank Leon from Kings Casino in advance for offering to commemorate David’s induction into the Poker Hall of Fame at the WSOP Europe in October.  Just remember, as the Devilfish would say – ‘Life is a blast. It doesn’t last. Live it long and live it fast’.”

Ulliott, who passed away in 2015, was a popular sentimental choice that year but had the qualifications to be there previous to his passing. Once a safecracker who served time for his offenses, Ulliott changed his life as he poured himself into his passion, poker. He became such a feared competitor in his hometown of Hull that he found it nearly impossible to find a cash game to play, which sent him into the casinos of the United Kingdom. His first tournament cash was in a Seven Card Stud event at the Grosvenor Spring Classic in London in 1993, where he won £200 for his sixth-place finish.

There would be much more for Ulliott in the world of poker after that. In 1997, legend has it his nickname of ‘Devilfish’ came into being after defeating Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen in Pot Limit Omaha at the Four Queens Poker Classic. Reports with the headline “Devilfish Devours The Master” circulated following that win and Ulliott would embrace it head-on, including having a set of ‘knuckle dusters’ (a form of brass knuckles) with ‘Devil’ on the right hand and ‘Fish’ on the left made for him personally.

1997 was also the year of Ulliott’s one and only WSOP victory, in the $ 2000 Pot Limit Hold’em competition. He would come close on several occasions after that, but would never taste of WSOP gold again. ‘Devilfish’ would also win on the WPT, taking the championship of the 2003 Jack Binion World Poker Open Main Event during the tour’s inaugural season.

Once again, while the tournament record is outstanding (227 cashes for over $ 6.1 million in earnings), it is the cash game arena where Ulliott made his mark. He also was one of the biggest characters in poker, taking such poker programming as Late Night Poker to unprecedented heights with his roguish personality. When he passed in 2015, not only the British poker community but the international poker world mourned the passing of a truly one of a kind character.

Congratulations to Ivey and the Ulliott Family for their inductions into the Poker Hall of Fame.

Poker News Daily

“Devilfish,” Moneymaker Head 2016 Poker Hall of Fame Nominees

 “Devilfish,” Moneymaker Head 2016 Poker Hall of Fame Nominees

After a two-month period, the public nomination period has closed and the final ballots have been tabulated. In an announcement from the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council on Friday afternoon, the final nominees for the Class of 2016 has been determined and, from a look at the overall list, it is going to be a difficult choice for the selection committee.

Overall, the ten men who make up the list of nominees for the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame have no flaws and all deserve induction. However, it is thought that only two of these ten men will be inducted during ceremonies surrounding the 2016 World Series of Poker “November Nine.” Of the ten men, seven have been previously nominated and three are new nominees.

Topping the list of new nominees (Phil Ivey, it was found after some research, was ineligible for election in 2016 due to the “Chip Reese Rule” of not being 40 years old at the time of nomination) is 2003 WSOP Championship Event victor Chris Moneymaker, who arguably sparked the “poker boom” of the early Aughts. Joining him on the “new nominee” list is Eli Elezra and Todd Brunson, two mixed game wizards who have been a longtime threat on the table.

Six of the remaining seven men – Chris Bjorin, Bruno Fitoussi, Carlos Mortensen, Max Pescatori, Matt Savage and David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott – were nominated for induction in 2015, giving them potentially a leg up as they are fresh in the minds of the voters. A previous nominee, Humberto Brenes, fills out the 10-man list for induction into the Hall.

So who has the best shot at making it to the dais come the beginning of November for induction?

Unfortunately, both Brenes and Bjorin are going to get overlooked due to the quality of the field that exists. This is one reason why there should be an expansion of the Hall’s rules to allow for three inductees per year; in the next decade, there’s going to be a tremendous backlog of players and contributors that should be in the Hall that won’t be there simply because of a silly cap (and, to add a thought, if the National Football League can come up with six nominees every year, think the history of poker can come up with three!).

The same comment made about Brenes and Bjorin could be said for Fitoussi and Pescatori. These two men, any other year, might be at the front of the line for induction. With some of the names up for induction this year, however, the “godfathers” of poker for both France and Italy will have to wait for another time to be inducted.

Both Brunson and Elezra are intriguing choices for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. While he has a lengthy career of high stakes play (the battle against billionaire Andy Beal as documented by Michael Craig’s The Professor, the Banker and the Suicide King), Brunson isn’t exactly first-ballot induction worthy. That could be said as well for Elezra, who has had a strong career of high stakes cash game play and tournament success (three WSOP bracelets), but lacks that “must be in the Hall” panache that you have to have to be voted in on the first ballot.

These eliminations leave us with four men –

Chris Moneymaker
Carlos Mortensen
Matt Savage
David Ulliott

Savage is more than deserving of the nomination, but even he I believe would contend that he’s not done writing his career book as of yet. Hence, he would even say “wait” on his induction into the Hall. With both Linda Johnson and Jack McClelland in front of him for their contributions to the poker world as tournament directors and innovators overall, it is only right that Savage join them…eventually.

This is going to be a controversial choice to some but, to me, this is a no brainer and you might even question if he deserves the nomination (nothing against him personally). Moneymaker’s inclusion on the nominee list is more of a tribute to his contribution for the “poker boom” rather than any outstanding achievement in the world of poker. Of his $ 3.6 million in career earnings, $ 2.5 million of them were garnered in his WSOP win in 2003. Moneymaker also has no other “major” tournament achievements to hang his hat on. While he has been an outstanding ambassador for the game, I would question whether Moneymaker belongs in the pantheon of the game.

With this method of elimination, we’ve now come to the two choices that I believe will be standing on the stage for induction into the Hall this fall.

I was against Ulliott’s induction last year simply because it was more of an emotional vote following his death from cancer in April 2015 than that of voting on his poker achievements. A year removed from the Devilfish’s untimely passing, it is now time to put him into the Hall for his “any game, anywhere in the world” attitude, his WSOP bracelet and World Poker Tour win and his general contribution to the game in the United Kingdom. (I’ve also come to the realization that it is going to be very difficult to get any historical Europeans, such as Terry Rogers or even Thor Hansen, into the Hall because few remember them.)

If Ulliott is going to go into the Hall, let’s make it an entirely European affair by also putting in Mortensen (as if he doesn’t deserve to go on his own merits). Mortensen is the only man to win both World Championship events at the WSOP and the WPT and he also holds the record for most WPT titles (three). Mortensen has also traversed the world playing at the highest stakes possible while being an ambassador of the game of poker to his fellow Spaniards. Alongside Ulliott, Mortensen is the only logical choice for induction.

So who do you see as the two inductees for the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame (and wouldn’t it be nice if there were a PHYSICAL Hall of Fame to visit and honor these inductees…but I digress)? It will definitely give us something to talk about over the next couple of months but, after the votes of the 25 living members of the Hall and a 20-member media panel are compiled, we will know for sure.

Poker News Daily



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