Poker Hall of Fame needs to eliminate fan voting

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Sep 26, 2013 Posted in Op-Ed, WSOP News | No Comments »

poker hall of fameChris Bjorin, Humberto Brenes, David Chiu, Thor Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Mike Matusow, Tom McEvoy, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen, and Huckleberry Seed. Those are the 10 names that were announced by the WSOP on Wednesday as finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

40 Is Too Young

While I think virtually all of this year’s finalists deserve to be in the Poker Hall of Fame, I simply don’t feel like the Poker Hall of Fame (AKA Caesars Entertainment) is nominating and inducting people in the right order, and the main hindrance is the decision to take the initial round of voting to the general public.

So how can I say that on the one hand the general public is nominating people I think are Hall of Famers, but on the other criticize their selections? Here is an example: Nobody is a bigger fan of Carlos Mortensen than yours truly, but the idea that Carlos Mortensen would be elected into the Hall of Fame before the likes of Terry Rogers, Marcel Luske, Bruno Fitoussi, Barry Shulman, Mike Caro, Andy Glazer, Nolan Dalla, or David Sklansky makes me cringe.

If we spend the next 10 years inducting the greatest players from the previous decade, how will the players of the bygone eras ever get inducted? Basically once we finish up with the superstar players during the Poker Boom era, the online generations’ early adopters will suddenly be 40 and we’ll go from inducting Daniel Negreanu, Allen Cunningham, and John Juanda to inducting Phil Galfond, Tom Dwan, and the Dang brothers. While Luske, Shulman, et al. are left out in the cold.

The Fans Who Vote Don’t Know the Game’s History

Most of the people who are nominating players apparently think the first hand of poker was dealt sometime in 2003, and if not for his heart wrenching fight with cancer would Thor Hansen get a nomination? What if David Chiu didn’t win a bracelet this year at the WSOP? Did Matusow’s WSOP have an impact on his sudden nomination? The players that were nominated this year are a clear indication that the nomination process is flawed, in that players have to be in the news to get nominated.

The Poker Hall of Fame Screwed the Pooch for Far Too Many Years

Let’s get something straight right up front; the Poker Hall of Fame was started as a gimmick; just look at the earliest inductees. Half were serious poker players and the other half had some marginal to anecdotal impact on the game. Now, thanks to the poker boom and Caesars taking over the Hall of Fame in 2004, it’s a serious honor.

The problem is that the Poker Hall of Fame doesn’t induct enough people each year to overcome the farce it was in the early days, when players were inducted on what seems to be whims.

Can someone give me one solid reason why only two players can be inducted each year? The Poker Hall of Fame was founded in 1979, so we not only need to make up for the nearly 150 years that there was no Hall of Fame, but we need to compensate for the 25 years that it was more of a carnival sideshow. We need to start putting in five or more players each year; otherwise the following people may never receive the honor they so richly deserve, players and contributors like:

Andy Glazer, Nolan Dalla, Barry Shulman, David Sklansky, Mike Caro, Marcel Luske, Bruno Fittoussi, Matt Savage, Jack McClelland, James McManus, Titanic Thompson, Lee Jones, Lucy Rokach, Cyndi Violette, and Terry Rogers.

There is a place for these people in the Hall of Fame, just as there is a place for the game’s greatest and best-known players like this year’s 10 finalists.

 



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