Intense debate over Poker Hall of Fame finalists

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 13, 2012 Posted in Op-Ed, Poker Player News | No Comments »

poker hall of fameOn Wednesday the Poker Hall of Fame announced the 10 finalists for the Class of 2012, and as is typically the case with anything in poker, the opinions were flying throughout the day. One Facebook thread featured some of the most outspoken and in the know people in poker, as Allen Kessler asked where Ted Forrest and Huck Seed were on the list of finalists. The post received responses from people like Daniel Negreanu and Nolan Dalla, and emphasized the need for reform to the voting process.

Negreanu made the point that the initial round of nominations (conducted on the website and open to the fans) doesn’t give old-time players a chance against the more popular players of the modern era, and called on Dalla to reform the system: “revise the system. The public putting forth nominees is a weak way to come up with the top ten because the fans of today don’t really know enough about the old school players who should be considered. Not sure any other HOF comes up with nominees this way?”

Dalla responded by saying: “That’s a fair criticism, but we are trying to create a balance between the public, media, and current inductees. This allows all of those to have a voice in the process. We would like to see this discussed and debated more so the public can be educated about some of those who deserve an induction. Hopefully, you, Allen, and others will be advocates for those you support.”

While I feel the system could be improved, this points to a larger issue with the Poker Hall of Fame; the Poker HOF only recently become more than a curiosity, as original inductees ranged from the bizarre to the unknown, and the entire Hall of Fame seems to be in need of a makeover.

For instance, the Poker Hall of Fame has only 42 inductees at this time, why couldn’t the living Hall of Fame members add 10 or so deserving “old-school” players to the rolls, while still having the regular Hall of Fame voting and induction ceremony (along the lines of the MLB Veterans Committee)?

Additionally, where is the Poker Hall of Fame? What is it? Is it an abstract thing or a real Brick & Mortar area in some Las Vegas locale? Nobody really knows, and it’s time we established a real address for the Poker Hall of Fame. I’ve said this before, but the Poker HOF needs wings for accomplishments and not just inducted members:

* The Hall of Champions: Where WSOP Champions’ banners hang, Triple Crown winners are recognized and so on.

* Absorb the Women in Poker Hall of Fame and create a separate wing for the female players that have helped shape the game (obviously women inducted into the main Poker Hall of Fame would be in that area).

* A European, Latin American or Asia-Pacific wing for players from around the globe, incorporating the European Poker Hall of Fame, the Australian Poker Hall of Fame and any other that exists.

 You can see the current finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame at

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