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Isai Scheinberg a Candidate for the Poker Hall of Fame



Isai Scheinberg is on the shortlist to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. The founder and former owner of Pokerstars is well-respected throughout the poker community and many are already starting to ask just why he hasn’t been inducted already. The answer is, of course, kind of obvious.



A Little History


Isai Scheinberg founded PokerStars in 2001 with his son Mark. The family had moved to Toronto from Israel in 1986 and Isai worked as a senior programmer at IBM.


When the UIGEA 2006 prevented US-based customers from playing poker on most platforms, PokerStars, along with Ultimate/Absolute Bet and Full Tilt Poker, continued to service players from any region, much to the chagrin of the law.



In 2011, when Black Friday decimated the online industry, PokerStars came under the watchful glare of the US justice system with the Scheinbergs becoming fugitives. In 2014 PokerStars was sold to Amaya Inc., headed by David Baazov for a whopping $4.9 billion, and the Scheinbergs faded away into retirement. 


However, it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that Isai Scheinberg finally settled his scorecard with the US lawmakers.


After being arrested upon entering the US the Israeli-Canadian took a deal of a $30,000 fine and time served while he waited for his court date. A bit of a joke really, but there we are.


“I am pleased that Judge Kaplan has determined today not to impose a prison sentence in my case,” 


“PokerStars played an important role in creating today’s global regulated online poker industry by running an honest and transparent business that always treated its players fairly,” Scheinberg continued. 


“I am particularly proud that in 2011, when PokerStars exited the United States, all of its American players were made whole immediately. Indeed, PokerStars reimbursed millions of players who were owed funds from other online companies that could not or did not repay those players.”


Scheinberg was the last of the 11 defendants being sought by the US criminal justice system, marking an end to the sorry saga.


Can He Make it into the Hall of Fame?


The rules for entry are:


  • Must have played poker against the best players consistently
  • Played high stakes
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of nomination
  • Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
  • Stood the test of time during their career
  • Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker.

No doubt about it that Scheinberg ticks all the boxes. Question is does he have the forgiveness for selling what was the best place to play poker online to the devils incarnate that Amaya turned out to be.

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