BY RUSS SCOTT
RELEASE: TUESDAY AUG. 24, 2010
Vote Now to Nominate Your Poker Hall of Fame Favorite
Phil Ivey or Huck Seed? Erik Seidel or Daniel Negreanu? And what about Tom McEvoy? So many choices, so little time.
Poker fans have just a few days left to nominate a player for induction this year into the game’s ultimate “final table” — the Poker Hall of Fame.
For just the second time since the HOF was established in 1979, public votes will determine the top 10 nominees. Last year, after easily making that list, Mike Sexton swamped the competition in final closed balloting and became the 38th person enshrined.
It was a deserving honor for ‘The Ambassador of Poker”, who earned great respect and rewards at the felt for decades but became a HOF shoo-in by popularizing the game as World Poker Tour television host, by championing poker players’ rights on Capitol Hill, and by taking a lead role in expanding charitable giving through poker.
This year, because of a rule change, we know that two players will be chosen from the fans’ nominees. But who should they be?
Before offering my picks, let’s review the qualifications that will guide members of the selection committee — the 16 living HOF members and a blue-ribbon poker media panel – in their final balloting:
– A player must have played against acknowledged top competition.
– Played for high stakes.
– Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers.
– Stood the test of time.
– Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game, with indelible positive and lasting results.
My sense of these qualifications is that the Hall of Fame should be reserved for those who don’t disrespect the game or opponents with their actions and words. This is an especially important consideration in a year when several fully deserving candidates sport resumes free of serious blemishes.
For that reason, the committee should skip over Scotty Nguyen and Men “The Master” Nguyen because of repeated controversies dotting their outstanding careers. Their “time” probably should come eventually, but not ahead of others who presumably will make the top 10 list this year.
Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu likely are the modern era’s two most popular players, sure to be nominated again. Both have mad skills, amazing competitive records and prize winnings, and are held in great regard by an overwhelming portion of the poker world.
With just a decade or so of championship poker under their belts, they already are a lock for induction at some point. But have they “stood the test of time?” Not yet.
What about Tom McEvoy and Barry Greenstein, also fan nominees last year? Both are deserving — McEvoy as the 1983 world champion and author of a dozen highly touted poker books, and Greenstein for his famous charitable donation of tournament winnings.
However, I’m not certain they’ll both even make the nomination list this year, and their competitive resumes are a little thin compared against the top two on my list.
Erik Seidel and Huckleberry Seed are the most worthy inductees this year.
Seidel’s 23-year career has yielded eight World Series bracelets. The only four players with more — Phil Hellmuth (11), Doyle Brunson (10), Johnny Chan (10) and Johnny Moss (9) — already are in the Hall of Fame. Seidel’s $10 million-plus in winnings is 10th all-time and he ranks fourth in all-time WSOP cashes.
Seed, a 20-year poker veteran, has amassed about $6 million in winnings and holds four WSOP bracelets including the Main Event title in 1996. He won this year’s Tournament of Champions and last year’s National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
Moreover, Seidel and Seed are two of the best role models ever for how players should conduct themselves at the felt.
So, who would you like to see enter the Hall of Fame this year? Cast your nominating vote at WSOP.com/PHOP/ before Sept. 1.
E-mail your poker questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org for use in future columns. To find out more about Russ Scott and read previous LuckyDog Poker columns, visit www.creators.com or www.luckydogpoker.com.
COPYRIGHT 2010 RUSS SCOTT
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Erik Seidel at 2010 National Heads-Up Championship
Huck Seed hoists NHPC trophy.