Make your voice heard
The World Series of Poker has opened the public nomination process for the 2020 Poker Hall of Fame class. It is only open until December 11, so submit your nominations quickly if you want a say in one of the few good moments of this trash heap of a year.
As is always the case, there are the criteria a person must meet to be eligible for the Hall:
• 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.
There is nothing surprising there. Everything is reasonable. Clearly, a poker player needs to have played against the best and have played well for a long time to even be thought of as a possibility for the Poker Hall of Fame. Nobody is about to nominate their $10 home game buddy.
The age floor speaks for itself, plus it goes hand-in-hand for standing the test of time. While there are a few players that most people would not have had a problem with being nominated before age 40 (like Phil Ivey), it is a reasonable requirement.
The non-player criteria is more subjective, and while we can always argue about who deserves it more than someone else, there usually isn’t much debate on whether a particular non-player should even been in the conversation.
It’s not always the biggest names
Last year’s Poker Hall of Fame inductees were Chris Moneymaker and David Oppenheim. Moneymaker, while not at the level of traditional poker legends when it comes to poker skill, is clearly one of the most important players in the history of the game. His 2003 WSOP Main Event win helped jump start the poker boom and he has been a fantastic ambassador for the game ever since.
Oppenheim is largely unknown to casual poker fans, but is regarded as one of the all-time greatest high stakes cash game players.
The other eight finalists in 2019 were Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, and Huckleberry Seed.
The process will move fast
Those who wish to nominate someone can go to https://www.wsop.com/phof/ and fill out the web form, including the reasons they believe the person should be a Hall of Famer. The top ten vote-getters will be reviewed by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council to be sure all are eligible; it is possible a person or two could be removed.
From there, the list of finalists will be sent to the 32 living Poker Hall of Fame members, who will each have ten votes to divide among the nominees however they would like. They could give all ten votes to one person or split them among multiple finalists.
In previous years, a select group of poker media members also voted, but assuming the information provided by the WSOP in its news release and on the Hall of Fame page is correct, it seems like the voting is only for Hall of Fame members this year. That’s good, because I didn’t want this to be the 15th year in a row where I didn’t get a ballot. My friend and colleague, Earl Burton, has been voter, which is total crap, if you ask me.
Caesars Entertainment will announce the finalists on December 16. There will be just one person inducted this year, the name of whom will be revealed on December 30.