Monday, October 26, 2015

The Hall Picks Up Another Pair

Results from this year’s Poker Hall of Fame voting were announced today, with John Juanda and Jennifer Harman the newest two members named.

I’ve written here before about how I had the privilege of being involved with the PHOF voting for a few years. I was one of the “poker media” picked to vote alongside the living Hall of Famers (always tend to want scare quotes around those two words, for a variety of reasons). We were all given 10 names (finalists) from which we could pick up to three to whom we doled out our allotment of 10 total points, then the top two points-getters would make it through.

I’ll point out again that having a PHOF vote only meant being able to pick from the 10 names the panel was given. I never could suggest nominees myself, although I believe the living PHOF members were able to do just that (which is how Brian “Sailor” Roberts got on the ballot, I believe).

That said, during the years I voted (2010-2013), I was essentially okay with the individuals who made it through to be named PHOFers. While I sometimes gave points to players who didn’t ultimately get inducted, I didn’t disagree too greatly with what the final results were.

Back in early September when this year’s finalists were announced, I guessed Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott would get picked with either Carlos Mortensen or Juanda getting the other spot. Was mainly just trying to predict what the current voters would do, and not suggesting who I thought should get in out of the 10 nominees.

I don’t disagree with either Juanda or Harman getting in, although Mortensen is certainly one that seems like he should get the nod sooner than later. In fact if I were to predict again I’d say next year it will probably be Mortensen and Phil Ivey, as Ivey turns 40 in February and so cannot be denied one of the two spots, unless they manage to change the process around somehow between now and then.

Which I suppose could happen, given some of the clamor that appears to have resulted from this year’s vote. It’s necessarily always going to be a flawed process, ultimately unsatisfactory to some if not the majority of those who care a lick about it.

For more on the topic, including some discussion of the lack of non-Americans in the PHOF, see Chris Tessaro's piece over at All In titled “Did the Poker Hall of Fame Pick the Right Inductees?

(EDIT [added 10/29/15]: Yesterday European Poker Tour founder John Duthie added another op-ed regarding problems with the current nomination/voting process and the glaring lack of non-Americans in the Hall over at PokerNews -- check it out.)

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