Poker Hall of Fame nominess – my picks [Editorial]

Poker Hall of Fame nominess – my picks [Editorial]

Friday, 7 October 2011

The 2011 nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame will see two more players entered into the prolific ranks. They must be over the age of 40; have played against top competition at high stakes; stood the test of time and gained the respect of peers. Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker with indelible positive and lasting results.

Let’s take a look at the nominees:

Annie Duke is the sister of Howard Lederer and 2010 NBC Heads-Up Champion. She also has a WSOP bracelet and a deep run in the Main Event with a total of $4.2m in tournament cashes. A former PhD student, she turned to poker after her brother and was the face of UB for years. She has through media appearances become one of the most recognisable poker players in the world and currently runs the Epic Poker League.

Barry Greenstein is a three-time WSOP bracelet-winner, double WPT champion and high stakes cash game regular, considered to be one of the top mixed games players in the world. He is known for his millions of dollars in direct charitable contributions and is called “The Robin Hood of Poker”. He is a Team PokerStars Pro and the author of the best-selling poker book Ace on the River.

Huck Seed became the youngest-ever WSOP Main Event champion in 1996 when he defeated Bruce Van Horn heads-up to win $1m. He won the 2009 NBC Heads-Up Championship and has four WSOP bracelets to add to his Main Event win. He is well-known in the poker and Las Vegas community for his prop bets.

Jack McCelland is a world-renowned tournament director, best known for his work at the Bellagio. He has certainly been at more final tables than anyone else on this list! He was Assistant Tournament Director at the WSOP from 1984-89 and became the Bellagio TD in the early ‘00s. He also has over $100,000 in tournament earnings himself.

Jennifer Harman-Traniello is a Limit Hold ‘em specialist who regularly competes in the biggest mixed cash games in the world. She has been playing poker for 38 years since she was eight and has two WSOP bracelets, the only female player with that honour. She competed with The Corporation against Andy Beal and was one of the biggest winners. She was a Full Tilt Pro and has raised over a million dollars for charity.

John Juanda is a five-time WSOP bracelet-winner, most recently defeating Phil Hellmuth heads up for the $10,000 2-7 Championship at the 2011 WSOP and in 2008 winning the WSOPE Main Event. He was a Full Tilt Pro and has earned more than $11m in live tournament cashes. He is widely considered to be the best 2-7 Draw player in the world.

Linda Johnson is a WSOP bracelet-winner and is known as “The First Lady of Poker”. She was the publisher of CardPlayer magazine for over eight years before it was bought by WSOPE 2009 champion Barry Shulman. She is the co-founder of the Tournament Directors’ Association and currently works as a consultant for the World Poker Tour. She founded in 2009.

Marcel Luske, aka The Flying Dutchman, is best known for his live tournament results including three deep Main Event runs with back-to-back final two table spots in 2003/4. He has over $3.7m in live tournament cashes and won the European Poker Awards Player of the Year in 2001 and 2004. He mentored David Williams and Kirill Gerasimov and recently founded the Federation International de Poker Association.

Scotty Nguyen is a five-time WSOP bracelet-winner and World Poker Tour champion who is best known for his 1998 Main Event win and his 2008 $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. victory. Unfortunately, he is also known for being very drunk and abrasive at said 2008 final table. He immigrated from Vietnam at 14 and began playing poker at 21. His game is well-respected though a number of 'tired and emotional' appearances at the table may count against him.

Tom McEvoy is the 1983 WSOP Main Event champion. He has four bracelets in total, the most recent coming in 1992. He was the first Main Event winner to qualify via satellite and won the Professional Poker Tour event at the Bay 101 Casino in 2006. He has authored and co-authored over a dozen poker books and is a Team PokerStars Pro. He won the WSOP Champions Invitational in 2009 and has 38 cashes at the WSOP.

Well I snap-call Jennifer Harman-Traniello and Barry Greenstein and it’s not even close. Well, OK, it’s kind of close. I think Scotty Nguyen is probably worthy of a place there but his display at the 2008 H.O.R.S.E. counts against him; Huck Seed is solid and qualifies under all poker criteria but I think he is pushed out by Greenstein and Harman-Traniello. Linda Johnson and Jack McClelland are also worthy nominees and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them get in, though it wouldn’t be my choice. Let’s wait until Matt Savage is 40 to put a TD in there. If he is 40, why isn’t he there already?

McEvoy and Luske have hardly stood the test of time against top competition at high stakes, to be honest, though McEvoy’s extensive literary portfolio is a count for him. John Juanda will almost certainly get in the Hall in the next few years but I don’t think 2011 is for him. His bracelet might push him ahead of Greenstein, though.

As for Annie Duke? Well, her poker accomplishments are impressive and she’s done good things for the game in terms of TV appearances and her overall voice. However, she is marred by a long association with UB; I’m surprised she was nominated given that Chris Ferguson has been de-nominated from last year. Full Tilt are arguably worse than UB but neither are references you want on your CV. If the Epic Poker League revolutionises the game then by all means put her in, but now? No way.

Tags: Matt Perry, Editorial, Poker Hall of Fame, Annie Duke, Barry Greenstein, Huck Seed, Jack McClelland, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, John Juanda, Linda Johnson, Marcel Luske, Scotty Nguyen, Tom McEvoy