Poker News

The ten finalists for the 2015 Poker Hall of Fame class were announced by the World Series of Poker yesterday after a public nomination period and a vetting process conducted by the PHOF Governing Council. Six of the nominees have been on this list before, while four (yes, I just checked, the math works out) are first-time finalists.

Here is the list of finalists, in alphabetical order:

Chris Bjorin
David Chiu
Bruno Fitoussi       
Jennifer Harman
John Juanda
Carlos Mortensen
Max Pescatori
Terry Rogers       
Matt Savage       
David “Devilfish” Ulliott    

Bjorin, Fitoussi, and Harman were all finalists last year and Chiu, Juanda, and Mortensen have also been nominated in the past. First-time nominees include Pescatori, Rogers, Savage, and Ulliott (all at the bottom of the alphabetical order, coincidentally).

At this point, the voting is now out of the public’s hands. The Hall of Fame class will be determined from the above list of ten nominees by a select contingent of the 23 living Poker Hall of Fame members and a panel of 16 poker media members (another parenthetical comment: I am not one of them. *sigh*). The selection process from there is a little bit murky; the WSOP does not publish what the actual procedure is that the voters use, nor does it say how many votes a nominee needs for induction. From information this writer has gleaned over the last few years, it seems that each voter gets ten votes to distribute how he or she pleases. In past years, a nominee was required to receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be inducted, but again, that information has not be offered up by the WSOP. About two people are inducted, on average, each year.

It would be nice if the voting process was completely transparent. There has been some question as to whether or not the finalists were all truly the top ten public vote getters or if the Governing Counsel massages some of the nominations to put together a list that it likes. But assuming that’s all on the up-and-up, it would be preferable if the final voting was also detailed in full to the public. We aren’t told exactly how it works from this point. We don’t even know who comprises the media panel.

And in the end, we never find out how the voting broke down. While the Baseball Hall of Fame’s process is less than perfect, at least it is straightforward: the voters can select up to ten players on their ballot. Anyone who is named on 75 percent of the ballots is elected to the Hall of Fame. The ballots are even made public afterward, so we can see which self-important morons didn’t vote for Greg Maddux. With the Poker Hall of Fame, we just find out who made it and say, “Ok, that’s cool.”

Criticisms aside, when all is said and done, those who are selected to be part of the 2015 Poker Hall of Fame class will be inducted during a special dinner ceremony at Binion’s in early November. The November Nine will also convene to play for the 2015 WSOP Main Event championship during that same time.

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