Public Nominations Open for 2016 Poker Hall of Fame

It’s July in the poker world, so not only is the World Series of Poker’s main event about to begin, it’s also time for another recent, annual tradition to return: the opening of the public nomination process for the Poker Hall of Fame.

hall-of-fame-logoThis year’s opening of the public-nomination process by Caesars Entertainment and the World Series of Poker comes amid one of the most entertaining WSOP runs in recent years.  As usual, the public-nominations process runs through July and August, at which time the leading vote-getters are vetted by the Poker Hall of Fame’s nominating committee, who make adjustments based on eligibility and typically add one or two veteran industry execs whose contributions would otherwise go unnoticed.  Seven or eight of the publicly-nominated “top ten” as referred below, usually end up on the final ballot; that’s the little fudge factor in the “will be reviewed by” phrase in the publicity stuff.

Per the WSOP’s announcement:

All submissions will be tabulated and the top ten nominations will be reviewed by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council. The existing — (errm, should be “living” there) — Poker Hall of Fame members and a blue ribbon media panel will then cast votes of the final list of nominees to determine the class of 2016. The Poker Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held in concert with the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP, held in Las Vegas.

The PHOF did make a couple of tweaks a few years back to ensure that at least one and probably two people will be elected every year, thus to ensure an extra ceremony to fill up the celebratory schedule surrounding the WSOP main event’s “November Nine” finale.

The general eligibility criteria remain unchanged from 2015:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition;
  • Played for high stakes;
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination;
  • 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.

All those interested in submitting nominations can click on over to the WSOP’s interactive nomination page.  Last year, two veteran players of the Vegas poker scene, John Juanda and Jen Harman, received the nod, and while both were both very deserving, the selections did little to silence critics who have complained that the WSOP remains far to Vegas- and US-centric.  Last year’s public-sympathy vote, for example, went to the late, very popular British poker star, David “Devilfish” Ulliott, but Ulliott ultimately did not receive the nod from the selection committee.

Phil Ivey is not quite eligible, being 39, though various online sources cite as being as old as 41, including a Wikipedia entry.  So, as for potential inductees this year, along with the aforementioned Ulliott and Irish Poker Open founder Terry Rogers, another possible 2016 selection is veteran tournament director Matt Savage.

Also, promoted exuberantly by the online-poker world will be PokerStars co-founder Isai Scheinberg, though Scheinberg has zero chance of making the official list of ten finalists, due to the “Black Friday” indictment against him, which remains outstanding.  (Isai couldn’t attend the induction ceremony, even if he was voted in, which would tend to make it a useless ceremonial enterprise.)

Here’s the entire list of enshrinees to date, in last-name alphabetical order, along with year of induction.

Tom Abdo ’82
Crandell Addington ‘05
Bobby Baldwin ‘03
Billy Baxter ‘06
Lyle Berman ‘02
Joe Bernstein ‘83
Benny Binion ‘90
Jack Binion ‘05
Bill Boyd ‘81
Doyle Brunson ‘88
Johnny Chan ‘02
T.J. Cloutier ‘06
Nick Dandolos ‘79
Eric Drache ‘12
Barbara Enright ‘07
Fred “Sarge” Ferris ‘89
Henry Green ‘86
T “Blondie” Forbes ‘80
Barry Greenstein ‘11
Jennifer Harman ‘15
Dan Harrington ‘10
Murph Harrold ‘84
Phil Hellmuth ‘07
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok ‘79
Red Hodges ‘85
Edmond Hoyle ‘79
Linda Johnson ‘11
Berry Johnston ‘04
John Juanda ‘15
Jack Keller ‘93
Jack McClelland ‘14
Felton McCorquodale ‘79
Tom McEvoy ‘13
Roger Moore ‘97
Johnny Moss ‘79
Daniel Negreanu ‘14
Scotty Nguyen ‘13
Henry Orenstein ‘08
Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson ‘87
Julius Oral Popwell ‘96
Thomas Austin “Amarillo Slim” Preston ‘92
David “Chip” Reese ‘91
Bryan “Sailor” Roberts ‘12
Erik Seidel ‘10
Mike Sexton ‘09
Jack “Treetop” Straus ‘88
Duane “Dewey” Tomko ‘08
Stu “The Kid” Ungar ‘01
Red Winn ‘79
Sid Wyman ‘79


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