Negreanu just turned 40 and is thus in his first year of eligibility, and seems an utter shoo-in to get voted in. Being at least 40 (the so-called “Chip Reese” rule) is one of the criteria for selection, along with playing against top competition, playing for high stakes, gaining peers’ respect, standing the test of time, and (for non-players) contributing to the game’s overall growth.
With the others it is hard to say who among them might earn the needed votes this year. Bjorin, Brenes, Harman, Matusow, Seed, and McClelland have been nominated before, while Negreanu, Fitoussi, Forrest, and Hooks are on the ballot for the first-time. Now a panel comprised of current PHOFers and poker media (totaling around 40 folks) will be casting votes to determine who makes it in.
The public nominates individuals for the PHOF via the WSOP.com website, then a group comprising the Poker Hall of Governing Council goes through the list to choose the 10 finalists. Current PHOFers also can write in candidates to be included among those 10, although I’m not exactly sure how the Council goes about both choosing from the public’s nominees and working in the written-in nominees.
In any event, as happens every year there are the usual calls to revise the criteria, the nomination process, and the system for voting. And as usually also happens, those calls are accompanied by references to those omitted from the ballot who some believe should be nominated. This year Carlos Mortensen, David Chiu, John Juanda, and Gus Hansen are among the several players folks are mentioning in this regard.
Negreanu was one mentioning Hansen as a candidate in a blog post this week, with the Dane also in the news for having crossed the $20 million-mark in online losses at Full Tilt Poker. Talk about contributing to the game’s overall growth!
Among the comments I saw scrolling by on Twitter as folks debated was mention (again) of creating some sort of physical “hall” or location for the PHOF. There is none, of course, nor would I imagine there really be much of a demand for something like that. Even so, seeing that mentioned again gave me an idea about the Poker Hall of Fame.
The WSOP could create some kind of temporary PHOF display each summer to show during the nearly two months that the World Series plays out in Las Vegas. They could set it up in the hallway at the Rio, making a literal “hall of fame” where players and the many visitors who come to rail the WSOP could get a look at photos of the inductees with attached bios. They could roll out the display again in November when the Main Event final tablists and others return and the ceremony for the new inductees takes place.
It would at least make the Poker Hall of Fame better known among those who play and attend the WSOP. And probably spark still more debates, too, in the Rio hallway.