After a month of nominations from the poker community and a couple of weeks of review by the Nomination Committee, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame has put together an outstanding list of nominees for induction this year. The 11 nominees run the gamut of the poker world, from working behind the scenes as important cogs in the machine to being some of the most visible performers on the grandest stages. Unfortunately (at least at this point), they cannot all go in, with the responsibilities of selecting the inductees on a select panel of past inductees and media members – including this writer’s opinion.
Having a vote on anything as important as a Hall of Fame is a badge of honor. In essence, you are structuring how the history of (in this case) women in poker will be remembered. It is something that should not be taken lightly and, as such, I’ve been studying the nominees extensively to determine how my votes would be distributed.
As pointed out by my friend and colleague Dan Katz last week (who deserves a vote here also – we’ll work on that for 2020, Dan!), each of the panelists on the WiPHoF panel have ten votes they can hand out. They can give them all to one person or break them up however they would like (no, Dan, I won’t give each nominee a vote – that WOULD be wishy-washy!). With these criteria in mind, I set back to learn about the nominees (in alphabetical order):
As you can see from the list, this is not an easy decision. Any of these ladies would be a fine addition to sit beside such legends of the game as Barbara Enright, Jennifer Harman, Linda Johnson or Cyndy Violette (and that’s just a short list). But the voter must do the unfortunate task – choose the inductees – and I’ve decided to look at my votes in the following manner.
Hermance Blum, Mandy Glogow and Angelica Hael – These ladies have been instrumental in bringing poker “to the people” with their work behind the scenes on the World Poker Tour and with PokerStars. But all three of these women are young and, in this writer’s opinion, they haven’t yet achieved their “pinnacle of greatness.” I see these three women at some time making their way into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, just not in this year’s election.
Maria Ho and Kara Scott – Once again, we have two great professional poker players who are still in the midst of their highly successful careers. To say that either Ho or Scott have achieved all they will ever achieve in the world of poker (and let’s be clear here – this isn’t a slight to these women, just as it isn’t a slight to those ladies who are further down this list that have a bit more “experience” on their resumes) is doubting their skills and experience in the game. Once again, I see these two women definitely making the Hall, just not this year.
Lupe Soto and Jennifer Tilly – I will make this statement here and now – I believe that these two women will be inducted this year. Soto has been one of the biggest advocates for women in the game of poker that you will ever find. Tilly brought attention to the women’s game with her World Series of Poker Ladies’ Tournament championship back in 2005. But I am not voting for them; as what I view as the “frontrunners” for induction, they’re not going to need my vote. Not that I would be ashamed for voting for either of these ladies, I believe there are other potential inductees on this list that need my vote a bit more.
With this process of elimination, we have the four women who will receive my votes for induction. Longevity is an important part of my selection process, as is having made a significant mark on the game. In my humble opinion, these women have.
Haley Hintze – Hintze has been around the game of poker as a journalist as long as this writer has, and we’ve often trod the same ground in working for the same outlets. While she has made an outstanding career writing about the players and the “entertaining aspects” of the game, Hintze was instrumental in bringing information to the players regarding the Absolute Poker/UB “Superuser” scandals of the mid-2000s. Without Hintze’s work, there is plenty that probably would have never come to light regarding that sordid time in the industry; she deserves recognition for that effort, even if she’s not as active today as she used to be (2 votes).
Karina Jett – Jett has been a part of the professional poker scene for almost two decades, demonstrating her skills in the game on a variety of stages. She has earned almost $500,000 in tournament cashes over the past 20 years, including four trips to the WSOP Ladies’ Championship final table with a runner up finish in 2011. Jett has also shown the philanthropic side of the poker industry, serving as the hostess and organizer for the popular Ante Up for Autism charity event (3 votes).
Terry King – Not known perhaps to the “general” poker community, King has a long history in the game. A 1978 WSOP bracelet winner, King played in cash games throughout the 1970s, battling against the biggest players in the game, most if not all of them male. While her playing exploits might have been enough to get her in the Hall, King has also served as a dealer (first woman to deal the Championship Event of the WSOP), a floorperson and a tournament organizer and helped open the Hollywood Park Casino in its heyday. She is a wealth of knowledge as to the history of poker, something that is the base reason for honoring someone in the Hall – to preserve the history (2 points).
Shirley Rosario – The number of hats that Rosario has worn in the poker world would fill any closet. A former proposition player at the Bicycle Casino, Rosario parlayed that into a successful cash game career and built an excellent tournament poker resume. In her career, Rosario has earned $506,484, mostly built around the difficult mixed game and non-Texas Hold’em disciplines of poker.
It is arguable, however, that Rosario’s work outside the poker room is more notable. In the past two decades plus, Rosario created the website Poker-Babes.com that was THE place to go for information on players from 2004 to 2011. A breast cancer survivor, Rosario also was a part of the PokerStars family, helping the company to write their search engine optimization guidelines as the site became the biggest online poker site in the world. Add in the fact she was one of the original hosts of Live at the Bike and she’s basically covered every base you can hit in the poker world (3 votes).
So, there you have it, this writer’s selections for the 2018 Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction class – Haley Hintze, Karina Jett, Terry King and Shirley Rosario. While I would like to see all four ladies get in this year, as I stated previously I believe that Soto and Tilly are all but a lock (thus, I am looking forward to the vote again in 2020, when Betty Carey finally gets a nod!). But we will see who the 2018 inductees will be when the voting closes on April 15 and the official inductees are announced.