In the world of poker, there are several organizations that recognize those that have achieved greatness in the game. There is supposedly the Seniors’ Poker Hall of Fame, which recognizes players over the age of 50 (I say “supposedly” because I can’t seem to find anything online about who is currently enshrined in the group). There is also the Women in Poker Hall of Fame which, as it says in the name, honors the achievements of women in poker. Then there’s the venerable Poker Hall of Fame, by far the oldest of those in the poker world since its creation in 1979. While it was probably inevitable, there something out there that makes you ask…is there REALLY a need for the “Online Poker Hall of Fame?”
CalvinAyre.com’s Erik Gibbs brought the “Online Poker Hall of Fame” to people’s attention because, honestly, otherwise no one would have ever found it. Right now, the website is a rather sparse one, featuring a group of “nominees” that apparently people are supposed to vote on (you have to register with the site to be able to vote). There are the usual suspects there that achieved greatness in the online game – Chris ‘Moorman1,’ Annette ‘Annette_15’ Obrestad, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan are just a few of the 31 names that are listed on the site. But what isn’t there is a REASON for the site to exist.
Don’t get me wrong. Online poker has had a huge part in formulating change in the way poker is played today. Look back to the old videos from before the advent of the “Internet Age” and you’ll see a game populated by older gentlemen – while there have been women in the game, they aren’t exactly thrust into the spotlight in the “old days” – and a very dry approach to the game. The legendary Doyle Brunson documented the way to play in those days with Super/System, simply sit back and wait for the cards to come about and take aggressive action rarely.
When online poker came to the fore in 1999, it brought a breath of fresh air into the game. After Chris Moneymaker’s win in the 2003 World Series of Poker Championship Event, the poker rooms were flooded with young internet wunderkinds looking to recreate Moneymaker’s success. Some achieved greatness while others, admittedly, failed to meet their goals. The biggest thing about the online game is it brought the game of poker to EVERYONE and they could all play with other wherever they were.
There are several problems with an “Online Poker Hall of Fame,” however. First, what are the creators of this Hall looking to honor? Plenty of these players – including Cliff Josephy, who is on the list – are still going strong today not only in the online world but also in the live poker world. They have by far not achieved their full greatness.
Second, what is the purpose of honoring something that, by age, isn’t even old enough to drink yet? Online poker in the grand scheme is but an infant. While the Poker Hall of Fame was created by the Binions (the originators of the WSOP), poker itself dates back to the 1800s in the U. S. and, if you want to get technical, reaches back into the 1600s (India had a game called as nas which closely resembles the game of poker). Even baseball, which legend states was created in the 1860s, didn’t open a Hall of Fame until 1939 (it was established in 1936). When you’re barely 19 years into existence, it might be a bit early to have a Hall of Fame.
Finally, Gibbs points out arguably the biggest question – just WHO is in charge of this operation? If they are looking to simply scoop up a bunch of e-mail addresses, there’s much easier (and arguably more legitimate) ways to go about that task. Rather than create a website and say you’re going to offer a “vote” on who should be inducted into a “Online Poker Hall of Fame,” perhaps you should establish your credibility for awarding such accolades.
Perhaps it will be up to the audience as to whether there’s any legitimacy to this. To be honest, however, some of the people on the “nominee” list are going to get consideration for the Poker Hall of Fame once they are eligible (and that’s a discussion for another time). And those that don’t make the grade? Well, there’s a reason it is called the “Poker Hall of Fame” and not the “Hall of Pretty Good.” There have to be standards and there will be some – whether they played live or whether they played online – who won’t make the grade…and perhaps the same can be said for an “Online Poker Hall of Fame.”