As you’ve probably read elsewhere, the following players all made this year's list of finalists: Chris Björin, Humberto Brenes, David Chiu, Thor Hansen, Jennifer Harman, Mike Matusow, Tom McEvoy, Carlos Mortensen, Scotty Nguyen, and Huck Seed.
Of those, McEvoy and Nguyen have both been nominees for each of the past five years -- indeed for every year since they instituted this new process by which fans were able to nominate candidates over at WSOP.com and then the panel of living Hall of Famers and poker media then vote on finalists culled from those who were nominated. Harman has also been nominated each of the last four years.
Meanwhile four of this year’s nominees are back for a second go-round, with Björin, Chiu, and Hansen on the ballot for a second consecutive year while Seed is on for a second time after being a finalist once before in 2011. The other three candidates this year are all first-time nominees -- Brenes, Matusow, and Mortensen.
Matusow won his fourth WSOP bracelet this past summer and has the unique distinction of also having made a couple of WSOP Main Event final tables (in 2001 and 2005). Mortensen of course won the WSOP ME back in 2001 and very nearly made another final table this year before being ousted in 10th.
Brenes, meanwhile, might surprise some as a nominee, but I knew his nomination was a distinct possibility after learning about a groundswell of support for him when at LAPT Peru a couple of months ago, something I noted in one of my reports from Lima for the PokerStars blog. Brenes’s standing in that part of the world as an important ambassador of the game is not unlike that of Hansen in Norway where Hansen is viewed as the “Norwegian Godfather of Poker.”
Interestingly, six of the 10 nominees were born outside of the U.S. (Björin, Brenes, Chiu, Hansen, Mortensen, and Nguyen). Four won WSOP Main Event titles (McEvoy, Seed, Nguyen, Mortensen). And all 10 have won at least two WSOP bracelets.
Gotta think McEvoy, Nguyen, and Harman will have an edge when it comes to the voting, given their having been on ballots for several years running by this point, but like I say those voting will have a tough decision to make. Only two at most will be voted in to join the other 44 already inducted in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Say you could only pick two of these candidates... how would you cast your vote?