It is a bad day for the poker community. Henry Orenstein, an inventor and poker hall of famer, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 98. Apart from being an ardent inventor, Henry Orenstein’s contribution to poker cannot be understated. Way before the poker boom, Orenstein invented the Hole card cam which is an integral component of modern-day poker television.

Orenstein was born in 1923 in Poland. Unfortunately, Orenstein and his family were intermittently held in concentration camps where his parents and two siblings were killed. Only two of his brothers, Fred and Sam, were able to survive and immigrate to the United States.

In the U.S., Orenstein instinctively ventured into the toy industry where he was nothing short of a revolutionary. To that end, among his many contributions, he is credited with creating the Transformers and bringing the idea to his then-employer Hasbro. As of today, he holds more than 100 patents.


Hole Card Cam

In the ’90s, televised poker was boring, to say the least. The excitement factor was simply non-existent. The viewing audience was not able to see the hole cards. However, to increase the excitement, Orenstein invented the hole-card camera which took the poker world by storm. The invention played an integral role during the poker boom and has since influenced how we see poker on TV.



Due to his notable contributions to the poker community, Orenstein was inducted into the New Jersey inventors Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2008.

Additionally, he has one World Series of Poker bracelet which he won in 1996 after taking down the $5,000 Seven-Card Stud tournament for $130,000.

He is survived by his wife, Susie.




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