2010 Poker Hall of Fame Nominees Analyzed
THE WEEKLY SHUFFLE, 2010-10-10, by OzoneThe 2010 Poker Hall of Fame (HOF) voting is taking place soon. A thirty-three member panel consisting of the 16 living HOF members and 17 media representatives will soon vote to determine two new inductees. The HOF made a change to it's voting criteria this year. In my opinion, it's a change for the worse. Last year, a player needed to be nominated from at least 75% of ballots in order to be elected. That system allows for the possibility that no one will be enshrined which is perfectly acceptable for any true hall of fame.
This year, voters receive 10 points that they can distribute as they see fit. For example, a voter could allocate all 10 of their points to Phil Ivey or split them among multiple players in any fashion. The two individuals who receive the most votes will be enshrined into the hall. If this system is maintained moving forward, it will somewhat dilute the prestige of what it means to be in the hall of fame since two players have to be enshrined every year even if there are not two worthy candidates.
The requirements for being elected into the hall are: played poker against top competition for high stakes, played consistently well to gain respect of peers and have done so by standing the test of time. For non players, they must have contributed to the growth and success of poker with undeniable and lasting results.
This year, ten finalists are thought to be worthy of consideration for having done just those things.
One can't deny that Daniel Negreanu is worthy of the HOF according to its requirements. However, at age 36, he is probably still a bit young. I wouldn't expect to see him inducted this year, but in another four or five years, especially if the current voting system is maintained, Negreanu is a shoo-in. He just has to make sure not to go on a coke and hooker binge for the world to see in the meantime.
The "First Lady of Poker" has made many lasting contributions to the game through her decades long involvement. Already a member of the "Women in Poker Hall of Fame", Johnson has now been nominated for the gender-neutral poker HOF. While her contributions to the game have been significant and positive, I can't help but question if her gender is the only reason she is on this ballot. She is well liked by most every HOF voter, so it wouldn't be a shock if she gets in.
The Tiger Woods of Poker has accomplished so much that one might question if Tiger Woods should be referred to as the Phil Ivey of Golf. He is perhaps the most well-known poker player in the world. On paper, Ivey is fully deserving of the HOF. If he doesn't get in, it will only be because he is just 34 years of age.
The 1995 World Champion is the only player to reach the final table of the WSOP Main Event in three different decades. His achievements are extraordinary. His series of books, Harrington on Hold'em, have shaped the way thousands play the game. There is no doubt that Harrington is deserving of the HOF, but I would be fairly surprised to see him get in.
This is a tricky nomination because while Jennifer Harman is an incredibly good player, probably the best female player of all time, she probably isn't deserving of the HOF on merits alone. If she gets in, it will be because her gender gave her a huge boost. I believe the HOF should be gender-neutral which means Jennifer has more work to do before she should be voted in.
What hasn't Barry Greenstein done for poker? Once known for donating all of his tournament winnings to charity, Greenstein has perhaps done more good for poker's image in the eyes of the general population than any other person. His website PokerRoad.com has given fans an inside look at the lives of high stakes players. His book Ace on the River is thought of by many as the best poker book ever published. Deserving? 100%. Will he get in? Probably not this year.
Chris "Jesus" Ferguson has used his savvy mathematical mind to win millions playing poker. His influence in developing the software for the second largest online poker room is felt by tens of thousands of players on a daily basis. Ferguson is deserving of the HOF and will one day be in it, just probably not this year. He just has to avoid having the DOJ arrest him for a few years and he'll get in.
The 1983 World Champion and poker author is the weakest of this year's nominees in my opinion. Although he has certainly stood the test of time, he is not exactly the most feared guy at the tables. I would expect McEvoy to be outclassed in most high stakes cash games. I tend to think he shouldn't be inducted and I don't think he will.
You can't deny that the "Prince of Poker" has a resume worthy of the HOF. But the reason he shouldn't get in is because of his behavior at the televised $50k HORSE final table in 2008. Nguyen has always been known for being a heavy drinker and sometimes lets that compromise his behavior at the tables. For that reason, he is a poor ambassador for the game and should not be voted into the HOF until he restores his reputation.
Eight-time bracelet winner Erik Seidel has probably been the most consistent live tournament player since he finished 2nd in the Main Event to Johnny Chan in 1988. His graceful demeanor at the tables is something every poker player should strive to duplicate. I would rate him as the favorite to be voted in this year.
If the editors of PokerTips were given a HOF vote, which we are not, we'd allot six points to Seidel and two each to Greenstein and Harrington.
The Weekly Shuffle is our Sunday column with our observations and commentary on the poker world. Have an idea for an article? Leave a suggestion on the feedback page.
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