As the 2012 World Series of Poker “October Nine” quickly approaches, one of the ceremonies that is a part of the festivities surrounding the event – the induction of the latest members of the Poker Hall of Fame – has opened up the nomination process for the honor.
At WSOP.com, poker fans from around the world can nominate one person (per e-mail address) for the honor of joining the 42 men and women who make up one of poker’s greatest clubs. Once the nomination process has closed, the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame (20) and selected members of the poker community will cast their votes as to who should be the honorees for 2012. Those that nominate players have a difficult task as the criteria for consideration is one of the strictest when it comes to a particular Hall of Fame.
Up until last year, there were only five criteria for enshrinement, but they were stringent in their requirements. A nominated player must have played poker against “acknowledged to competition” and at high stakes. The potential inductee would have to have played consistently well over a long period of time and, through their performance and demeanor, have gained the respect of their playing compatriots. If the nominee is from outside the “playing” area of poker, they must have contributed to the “overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.”
A sixth criterion was added just last year as a result of some honestly odd nominations. In 2009, online player Tom “durrrr” Dwan was one of the ten players nominated for the prestigious honor (he was not put to a vote due to his failure to meet the “test of time” requirement) and, in 2011, the Poker Hall of Fame looked to prevent a future occurrence such as this by establishing what has become known as the “Chip Reese Rule.” The late Reese, 40 at the time of his enshrinement in 1991, has been consistently recognized as one of the finest players in the history of the game and, as such, a player now has to be at least 40 years old before they can even be nominated for entry into the Poker Hall of Fame.
With this in mind, a few players who have had outstanding careers to this point will not be eligible for the Poker Hall of Fame for a few years yet. Players such as Phil Ivey (who turned 35 this year) and Daniel Negreanu (who is 38) will be ineligible for election until 2017 and 2014 (respectively). That doesn’t mean there aren’t several excellent choices that could show up on the nominees list once the public voting closes.
There should be some returning contenders from last year’s class that will be under consideration again this year. Jennifer Harman, John Juanda, Huck Seed and Scotty Nguyen are all strong potential nominees, while Annie Duke, Tom McEvoy, Jack McClelland and Marcel Luske might have a more difficult fight to get on the ballot. There is a solid reason why some of them might not make it back and it deals with the view of the poker public about those individuals.
Coming off of “Black Friday” last year, many in the poker world were appalled at the inclusion of some of the major players from the Full Tilt Poker stable (Harman, Juanda and Seed) considering the closure of the room. Duke, who had been one of the faces of UB.com, also found some irritation from the voters. In the end, Barry Greenstein and Linda Johnson were able to garner enough support from the nomination process and the voting members of the Poker Hall of Fame to be inducted.
Duke might have a difficult time getting back to the ballot this year as the failed Epic Poker League venture has seemingly raised the ire of the poker public against her once again. Ironically, Harman, Juanda and Seed haven’t received the same vitriol that Duke has. McEvoy, who ended his sponsorship with PokerStars earlier this year, won’t have the same marketing campaign behind him this year that pushed him to nomination (although there is great sentiment that, by virtue of his playing success and his literary works, he should receive the honor).
If having an impact on one of poker’s venerable institutions is something you’d like to have a hand in, go to WSOP.com/phof to place your nomination.