2011 Poker Hall of Fame Nominees Announced
By Joss Wood, Rakeback.com Poker News Staff Writer
The November Nine will be the focus of attention at the final table of this year’s WSOP Main Event, but don’t forget the November Ten – the ten candidates being considered for this year’s entry into Poker’s Hall of Fame.
The winners will join legends like Wild Bill Hickock, Stu Ungar and Phil Hellmuth. Potential members are nominated by the general public, and the top ten finalists are scrutinised by the living members of the Hall of Fame and a media panel, to determine who should join the select group. The final decision will be announced at the final table of the WSOP Main Event in November.
Hall of Fame Induction Criteria
All nominees must have played poker against acknowledged top competition; played for high stakes; played consistently well; gained the respect of peers, and stood the test of time. Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible, positive and lasting results.
Hall of Fame Nominees
This year’s ten finalists and Rakeback.com’s estimates of their chances are:
Annie Duke – Barbara Enright is currently the only woman in the Hall of Fame. Is Annie Duke going to be the second? Annie famously appeared on Celebrity Apprentice, losing in the final to Joan Rivers despite raising three times as much money for charity as her skeletal opponent. In 2004 she won a WSOP bracelet in the $3,000 Omaha Hi/Lo 8 or Better event, and in 2010 won the National Heads-Up championship defeating Eric Seidel at the final table.
Barry Greenstein – Nominated in 2009 and 2010, there’s no denying Barry’s popularity among the general public and the poker community. He’s a heavyweight promoter of poker as well as being one of its best players straddling both the old and new online era. He is known as the “Robin Hood of Poker” for donating all his tournament winnings to charity. He has three WSOP bracelets, in No Limit Deuce to Seven Draw, Razz and Pot Limit Omaha and total tournament winnings of over $7.5 million.
Jennifer Harman-Traniello – After not one, but two kidney transplants, it is great to see Jennifer still mixing it up on shows like High Stakes Poker and in the WSOP. With two WSOP bracelets and $2.3 million in tournament winnings, we think her poker record will put her ahead of Annie Duke. Jennifer is also a relentless worker on behalf of organ donation and animal protection charities.
Linda Johnson – Probably the least well known as a player, Linda has done a huge amount for poker behind the scenes, and has the advantage of longevity. She started playing in 1974 and won a WSOP bracelet in 1997 in the $1,500 7 Card Razz event. She founded the Tournament Directors’ Association which sets the rules for poker tournaments, and was the publisher of Card Player Magazine for eight years. She also set up PokerGives.org, which helps poker players donate to charity. On top of all this she still manages to play 20-30 hours a week of online poker. She has to be an outsider from a marketing point of view, but the recognition would be well deserved.
John Juanda – You do not want to be sat on John Juanda’s right in a poker tournament. He is highly feared, with five WSOP bracelets including a win in the WSOP Europe Main Event. $11.5 million in tournament winnings puts him 8th on the all time list. Very much a poker player’s poker player, the panel may decide that John will achieve so much more that they will wait a few years before admitting him.
Marcel Lüske – The only European on the list, Marcel has over $3.7 million in live tournament winnings. He has two remarkable back to back WSOP Main Event performances, 14th in 2003 and 10th in 2004. He is popular and colourful, but he probably needs to win more headlining tournaments before the selection panel will give him a place in the Hall of Fame.
Jack McClelland – Jack has been at more final tables than anyone else on the list. He’s the tournament director at the Bellagio, and has had a significant influence in the way tournaments are run. At 54, he’s been making poker happen for 25 years. Much of the admired blind structure at the WSOP can be credited to him. Recognition would be well deserved for making the live game so much better to play.
Tom McEvoy – Tom has been winning big money tournaments for nearly 40 years including taking down the WSOP Main Event in 1983 and WSOP Champions Invitational in 2009. He is the author of 14 books on poker and through them has had a huge influence on the development of the game. As a vehement anti-smoker he can also take much of the credit for the smoke free atmosphere in today’s tournaments. Tom has achieved everything, contributed enormously and stood the test of time; he’s the odds on favourite for this year’s selection.
Scotty Nguyen – “Hall of Fame, I’m there Baby!” What else could Scotty say in his victory speech if he wins? Larger than life, Scotty has made and lost millions in a roller coaster career that has seen him win five bracelets including 1998’s WSOP Main Event. Older, wiser and with over $11 million in tournament winnings, Scotty brings emotion, enthusiasm and energy to every table he plays. If two are chosen, Scotty’s likely to be one of them.
Huckleberry Seed – The third winner of the WSOP Main Event on this year’s list, Huck Seed is one of the most likeable players in the game. As a former basketball player, he towers over the table, exuding good humour. He is well known for enjoying bizarre “prop” bets most notably on the golf course. With four other WSOP bracelets, his demeanour is deceptive as he has razor sharp poker instincts.
No matter who your own personal favourite is, we can all agree that these ten people deserve their place. Congratulations to the November 10!