Lyle Berman is the first member of the newly formed Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame. The announcement was made Friday at Canterbury Park Card Casino in Shakopee, Minn.
Berman, at the forefront of several successful Minnesota businesses, has been a key player in the gaming industry since co-founding Grand Casinos Inc. in 1990. He is a professional poker player with three World Series of Poker bracelets and more than $3 million in poker tournament winnings.
"Lyle is not only a fierce competitor at the highest limits, he completely and indelibly changed the world of poker when he co-founded the World Poker Tour," Canterbury Park’s Senior Director of Card Casino Operations Michael Hochman said. "We talked to a great deal of people about inaugural nominees into the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame, and literally everyone’s first answer was Lyle Berman."
Berman, 72, is a University of Minnesota graduate and is chairman of the board and CEO of Lakes Entertainment. He lives in Plymouth, Minn.
"Poker certainly has exploded throughout the world, and Minnesota has been no exception," Berman said. "Creating the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame is really a good idea. Being the first member is a great honor and I’m very thankful."
The Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame is governed by a board consisting of industry professionals, poker players, and poker media.
"There are numerous Minnesotans that have contributed in a big way to the game of poker and many talented players," Running Aces Tournament Director Tristan Wilberg said. "These people and their accomplishments deserve recognition and that is what the Minnesota Poker Hall of Fame is all about. No one is more deserving than Lyle Berman."
Although poker has been played in Minnesota since the 19th century, gambling on the game did not become legal until 1999. The Canterbury Park Card Casino opened the following year. Running Aces opened its card room in 2008.