With the 2022 World Series of Poker in action, it also means that it is time for the Poker Hall of Fame to consider expanding its rolls. To get that process started, the Poker Hall of Fame has opened its public nomination process today that will establish the roster of contenders for 2022. In reality, however, there are only two choices that can really be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame.
Website Open to Cast Your Nomination Vote
The nomination process for the Poker Hall of Fame has been in the public’s hands for the past several years. By going to WSOP.com and heading to the specific page, a person can nominate ONE individual for the Hall. The WSOP is monitoring this situation by ensuring that the email addresses being used are live and that they can only have one nomination during the process.
Through this process, the Hall can judge what the people think as to who is worthy of induction into poker’s Valhalla. But people who put in a nomination also must be aware that there are set criteria for induction that must be followed. These criteria are as follows (and in no particular order, despite the numbering):
1. A player must have played against acknowledged top competition;
2. Played for high stakes;
3. Be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of induction (the “Chip Reese Rule”);
4. Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers;
5. Stood the test of time;
6. For non-playing nominations, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.
After the ten nominees have been vetted by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, they will be presented to the 32 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame. ONLY those members of the Hall will have a vote in the process – in the past, they have had ten votes that they could dole out as they saw fit. Whoever gets the most votes is the next inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame.
Only Two Real Choices to Consider – And Neither Is a Player
For as many players that might be considered for the honor of induction into the Poker Hall of Fame, there are only two men who should be considered and neither is a player. Even though players like the late Layne Flack, Michael Mizrachi, David ‘Chino’ Rheem, or Brian Rast are more than deserving of being enshrined, all these men (save for Flack) have not yet written the final chapters on their career. There are two men, however, that stand out from the pack and have been more than patient for their induction into the Poker Hall of Fame.
First is the man who would be aptly called the “godfather of internet poker.” Isai Scheinberg, the founder of PokerStars, has arguably done more for the overall game than many around today (save Doyle Brunson). Without PokerStars, online poker might not have achieved the level of notoriety (for good or evil) that it has. It has also turned nearly anyone into a poker superstar, utilizing practicing and tools through a few months of work that used to take decades to learn.
If there were a downside to Scheinberg, it is that his creation ran him afoul of the law. Charged as a part of the “Black Friday” crackdown in the U. S. in 2011, Scheinberg pled guilty in 2020 to a singular charge of operating an illegal gambling operation. He was spared jail time because of the COVID pandemic and his age at the time of arrest.
The only other choice that would be logical is tournament director extraordinaire Matt Savage. The creator of the Tournament Directors Association, Savage has been responsible for many of the innovations and creations (both good and bad – reentry tournaments, anyone?) that have come forth in the world of tournament poker. He has worked with both the WSOP and the World Poker Tour and is also the director of tournament operations at the largest poker room in the world, the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Savage continues to be at the apex of his game today, continually trying to make the game bigger.
The downside to Savage is – well, there is not a downside. From all appearances, Savage has been above board and has an impeccable reputation. He has the respect of everyone, players, media, fans, and fellow employees, and would make a very worthy addition to the Poker Hall of Fame.
Alas, there can be only one. Unlike past years when two nominees were inducted, over the past few years only a solo induction has been deemed worthy. The nominations are open now for poker fans around the world to make their choice. Who will be the ten players who have the chance to be the sole inductee in 2022 for the Poker Hall of Fame?