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Poker Hall of Fame Nominations Open to Public

The World Series of Poker may be on hiatus until the fall, but the WSOP is determined not to let people forget about it during the down time. The WSOP Circuit will start back up in a week, but this week the big news out of WSOP HQ is that nominations are now open for the Poker Hall of Fame.

Caesars Entertainment bought the rights to the Poker Hall of Fame along with the World Series of Poker in 2004, hence why all things Poker Hall of Fame center around the WSOP’s website. While nominations are open to the public, there are certain criteria for players to be eligible. From WSOP.com:

• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
• Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
• 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 of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.

So, everything is essentially up for interpretation except for the age restriction, though if you were to nominate your local $1/$2 Fixed-Limit Hold’em grinder, you might get a little pushback.

The public can nominate players through August 15th, after which the list of names will go to a nominating committee, who will separate the wheat from the chaff and come up with an official list of nominees (the committee can also add names to the list). The list will be announced in September. From that point, the 21 living Hall of Fame members (of the 46 total) will cast their votes, as will a select group of poker media members (not me!). The two people with the most votes, as long as those votes comprise a majority, will be elected to the Poker Hall of Fame.

The induction ceremony will take place in conjunction with the WSOP Main Event final table in November.

In a press release, WSOP.com Editor-in-Chief Seth Palansky mentions that this year could be interesting because “a few notables will have turned 40 since last year’s nomination process” and are now eligible for the Poker Hall of Fame. Two of those notables to whom he is quite obviously referring have got to be Daniel Negreanu, who turns 40 on Saturday, and Gus Hansen, whose birthday was in February. Both have strong cases for nomination.

Gus Hansen has won over $11 million in live tournaments, putting him 19th on the all-time money list and first amongst Danes. He has one WSOP bracelet, three WPT championships, and seven WPT top ten finishes. Beyond that, though, he was one of the first stars of poker television, as casual poker fans were attracted to his seemingly reckless style of play and, frankly, his manly good looks. Not an over-the-top personality, but not totally stoic either, he was always an easy player for whom to cheer. Over the years, he has also become arguably the most intriguing player to rail at the online tables, as he throws money around in the highest stakes games like the world is about to end. That’s not to say he has done well. In fact, according to HighStakesDB.com, Hansen is the internet’s all-time biggest loser with a recorded $18.4 million in online losses.

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu

Daniel Negreanu, one would think, is a shoo-in to the Poker Hall of Fame. He is poker’s all-time live tournament money winner with nearly $30 million in earnings, has six WSOP bracelets and two WPT titles. He is also arguably the most popular poker player in the world, one of the few that many non-poker players know. Like Hansen, he rose to popularity during the poker television boom thanks largely in part to his outgoing, happy personality. He has long been an ambassador for the game, speaking out on issues he feels are important and generally being a very friendly, open person.

Even Negreanu himself thinks he’s an easy choice for the Hall of Fame. In an interview on WSOP.com, Nolan Dalla asked him if he’d feel guilty if he was elected as soon as he was eligible when there are other, deserving, older players who haven’t made it yet. Negreanu replied:

I wouldn’t feel guilty and the only reason is because when I look at the list of attributes to get in, I think I’ve met them. If I wasn’t selected, then I would think to myself, ‘so what exactly do I need to do to get in [laughter]? Like what exactly have I missed here?’ So, I guess I would be surprised if I wasn’t chosen. But I’ll respect the decision people make, either way.

He also said that he feels the Poker Hall of Fame is “way too American-centric.” When asked who from overseas he would put in the Hall Fame, he was quick to respond:

Easy. Bruno Fitoussi is the first. He’s done so much in France and all over Europe for poker. Everyone loves Bruno and respects him. He was one of the first people to bring Americans over to Paris to see the poker scene there. Also, John Duthie. He’s not only a great poker player who won one of the first majors but also started the European Poker Tour, which is huge. I think the positive impact both Bruno and John have had with all of their events helping to spread the game has been very valuable, on top of both of them being accomplished players.

Negreanu also said that 1996 WSOP Main Event winner and prop-bet king Huck Seed should be a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.

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