Brian Rast already comes to the Poker Hall of Fame fight with a heaving trophy cabinet. Five World Series of Poker bracelets (including the 2011 $50k PPC), one World Poker Tour final table, and $23 million in live cashes. And this is in spite of being a cash game player almost exclusively for most of his early career.
Rast started playing poker in high school, taking it seriously when he joined the Stanford Poker Club in 2003. By 2005, he had dropped out of school, quit his job, and was making his daily bread on the felt at the Barona Casino.
He fell in with Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak sharpening up his game the whole time. In 2009, he helped found a poker site with Dan Bilzerian, Victory Poker. Unfortunately, it was not a rousing success and Black Friday eventually put Victory Poker out of its misery for good.
In the last decade he has continued to dominate online while adding more live tournaments to his schedule, becoming a regular on the high roller circuit and rising to 28th on the Hendon Mob All Time Cashes list.
Can Rast win it?
All that to the good then. In order to be nominated, players must meet the Poker Hall of Fame’s criteria of:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition;
- Be a minimum of 40-years-old at the time of nomination;
- Played for high stakes;
- Played consistently well;
- Gained the respect of peers; and
- Stood the test of time.
Rast meets some definition of all these criteria and is certainly a deserving candidate. But so is everyone else on the shortlist — with big names like Isai Scheinberg, Kathy Liebert, Mike Matusow, and the late Layne Flack in the mix, it is hard to see Rast winning this year.
To win a place, the nominees have to collect the most votes from the 32 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame. Voters have ten votes each, and get to cast them in whatever distribution they think is fair.
This is the system Rast will have to navigate if he hopes to see his face up on the wall of the Poker Hall of Fame.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze