This year, the Poker Hall of Fame will induct the organization’s 43rd and 44th members, Eric Drache and the late Brian “Sailor” Roberts. The ceremony will take place on October 30 at 3:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio prior to the finale of the World Series of Poker’s Main Event final table.
Drache actually created the idea for the Poker Hall of Fame along with Benny Binion. In addition to managing several Las Vegas cardrooms, he has served as the WSOP tournament director from 1973 to 1988 and came up with the concept of satellite events that would award seats into the larger events.
Drache has also reached five WSOP Seven Card Stud final tables where he finished in top three spots each time.
“I’m not only surprised and honored to have been selected,” Drache said. “When Jack Binion and I worked on creating the Hall of Fame, I never considered myself a potential candidate. I’m particularly happy for the family of Sailor Roberts. Sailor by everyone’s account, including my own personal observations, was a great player and played many games very well.”
Brian “Sailor” Roberts won the World Series of Poker’s $10,000 buy-in No Limit Hold’em World Championship in 1975 and $210,000 where there were a total of 21 players in the event. In the previous year he had captured his first bracelet in the $5,000 buy-in no-limit 2-7 draw. He finished 8th in a second WSOP Main Event in 1982.
Roberts was an old school player before passing away in 1995. He was part of the famous Texas Road Gamblers and was particularly close to Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim.
“In a time 50 years ago when poker players relied on luck, Sailor was developing sophisticated strategies that would enable him to make his own luck,” current Hall of Famer Crandell Addington said. “At a time in which professional poker players were viewed as outlaws and poker was illegal, he formed a partnership with Doyle and Slim and they traveled across the country from poker game to poker game. They deployed advanced strategies unknown at the time that featured playing their opponents hands on many occasions rather than their own hands. More often than not, they got the money.”
The pair were voted in by a 36-member panel including Hall of Famers and members of the media. Other nominees included Chris Bjorin, David Chu, Thor Hansen, George Hardie, Jennifer Harman, John Juanda, Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen.