Poker Hall of Fame Nominees announced

by , Jul 9, 2009 | 11:25 am

Hundreds of people voted online at to create the 2009 nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame, with the top 10 to be voted on by the living Poker Hall of Fame members and 15 members of the poker media. Here’s the list of the 10 nominees, in alphabetical order:

Tom Dwan
Barry Greenstein
Dan Harrington
Phil Ivey
Tom McEvoy
Men Nguyen
Scotty Nguyen
Daniel Negreanu
Erik Seidel
Mike Sexton

The entire press release after the jump:


by: Harrah’s(Bluff Media)

After a five-week process that saw hundreds of votes cast weekly on, the public has made clear who they think should be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. It will now be up to the current Hall of Famers and a panel of media members to determine who actually does join this exclusive club.

The following represents the Top 10 nominated individuals at from May 26-July 2.












*Listed alphabetically without correlation to amount of nominations received

Now the process moves forward with the vetting of these candidates by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, who will select the final list of candidates eligible for induction in 2009. That will be followed by the voting of the final nominees by current Hall of Fame members and a 15-person media panel. Only the 15 current Poker Hall of Fame members and the 15-person Media Panel cast votes for induction.

The criteria they will consider in their vote are as follows:

* A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
* Played for high stakes
* 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.

The 2009 Class of the Poker Hall of Fame will be inducted as part of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table festivities in November.

41 different names received multiple nominations during the public nomination process. All of these individuals are still eligible for future consideration. Among the people receiving nominations, but not enough to continue on in the process this year were:

* Patrik Antonius
* Humberto Brenes
* Mike Caro
* Norman Chad
* Allen Cunningham
* Ivan Demidov
* Eric Drache
* Annie Duke
* John Duthie
* Sam Farha
* Chris Ferguson
* Ted Forrest
* Andy Glazer
* Bertrand Grospellier
* Gus Hansen
* Jennifer Harmon-Traniello
* Jay Heimowitz
* Rob Hollink
* Jesper Hougaard
* Phil Laak
* Howard Lederer
* Marcel Luske
* Mike Matusow
* Chris Moneymaker
* Luca Pagano
* Greg Raymer
* Matt Savage
* David Sklansky

An interesting side note to this process. Existing Poker Hall of Fame members still received multiple votes! Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Stu Ungar each had public nominations despite the fact they are already in the Poker Hall of Fame!

22 Comments to “Poker Hall of Fame Nominees announced”

  1. Ed

    “Tom Dwan”

    WTF? You gotta be shitting me?! I will stop playing poker if he makes it. Give him another 10-15 years and then we can talk.

  2. Kevin Mathers

    This was the first half of the process, 75% of the Hall of Famers and poker media have to approve the nominee to get into the Hall of Fame. I’m sure at least 50% of that group will either say “No!” or “Who?”

  3. Johnny Hughes

    Kevin….set a morning line. The age of the voters, and certain long friendships give Barry Greenstein, and Dan Harrington the edge.
    Right? I wouldn’t bet against Phil Ivey if he said the sun was going to come up in the West tomorrow morning.

    Age will be a factor, because the young guys can wait. Greenstein deserves it for his poker, and his charities. Harrington for his staying power. Ivey, because he plays the game the best, and is a real all around gambler. If I had one vote, he’d get it. I like the fact he is press shy.

    I’ll take those three and give you the field. How many are going in?

  4. Kevin Mathers

    Of the 10, I’d consider Sexton and Seidel the morning line favorites.

    Harrington and Greenstein belong in the second group of contenders.

    Ivey and Negreanu are sure Hall of Famers, but haven’t been around long enough for consideration.

    The Nguyens each have their share of issues which delay their chances of getting inducted.

    If this was 2019, Tom Dwan would be considered. Him making the top 10 says that there wasn’t a lot of votes, or there’s a lot of people watching HSP who saw the HOF ballot and decided to vote for him.

  5. Johnny Hughes

    The top four you mention are all known as really nice guys, especially Sexton. That probably counts.

  6. Aaron A.

    Ed! That’s exactly what I said… Tom Dwan are you kidding me??!! I vote for Erik Seidel and only Erik Seidel because he is a great player, tons of bracelets and has been around a long time.

  7. DanM

    As one of the 15 media who actually will be voting, I can tell you upon cursory evaluation, I see only two names on that list whom I think almost definitely deserve a vote, and durrr is not one of them.

  8. DanM

    There are also five people on the extended list whom I wouldn’t recognize if we were in the same room … so they probably don’t belong in the hall of fame either.

  9. Pauly

    I get to vote as well. I wonder if any will try to buy me off?

    The bidding starts at a Mercedes 450.

  10. DicePanda

    FIVE you wouldn’t recognize on the extended list? I don’t cover poker tourneys, and I think there are only three I wouldn’t recognize on sight, and that may be a stretch. Pauly, help the one-eyed man, please.

  11. melissa h

    i have to say mike sexton.
    i thinking of his tournament of champions here. that got alot of people interested in other kinds of big poker tournaments, which eventually lead to WPT.

    mike has always been a great (as you all like to say) ambassador for poker.

    his very early involvement with party poker shows his awareness of the poker boom that would come.

    hes been a great promoter and prolly the one he held the highest and made sure no one ever forgot was stu unger. to me he meets the criteria set by the HOF.

    action dan (harrington) a grt player has been around long enough.

    i think his books are a grt contribution.

    seidel who has all that bling, fits the player critera. so if you want to vote on only results then prolly him.

    ivey i think eventually, maybe after he wins the ME this yr! lol.

    because i started in the late 90″s and remember a few people working non-stop on what would become poker as we know it today,
    id like to see all them be inducted first.

    after that you can start hanging fan boy plaques!

  12. BJ Nemeth

    As someone who is *not* among the 15 voting members of the media, there are only two people on the extended list that I don’t know by sight, though I am familiar with them by reputation. (Jay Heimowitz is tied for 7th on the all-time list with six WSOP bracelets, and Jesper Hougaard is the only player to win a WSOP bracelet and a WSOP Europe bracelet in the same year.)

    Personally, I think a player needs to be competing at the highest level for at *least* a decade before they are even a part of the conversation. I’d also require a minimum age of 35. Those are bare minimums in my book.

    If somebody is currently competing at the highest level with regularity (at the height of their career), I would be less likely to vote for them. What’s the rush? I’d give more consideration to those who aren’t currently in the limelight, but have still earned the recognition.

    As Kevin Mathers alluded to, integrity and reputation *do* matter in this process. In my opinion, that severely hurts Men Nguyen’s chances. However, I only consider integrity and reputation to be much of a factor as negatives; a player’s chances don’t get much of a boost in my book for having high integrity and a strong reputation, because those qualities should be assumed in a Hall of Fame candidate.

    In the past, whenever I’ve thought about nominations for other sports Hall of Fames (primarily baseball), I always like to look at their record *without* their single greatest achievement — to me, that makes them too much of a one-trick pony. Would Hank Aaron still be in the Hall of Fame if he finished his career with fewer home runs than Babe Ruth? (Yes.) This line of thinking hurts someone like Tom McEvoy — if he finished 2nd in the Main Event in 1983, would he still be under consideration?

    If I only got to induct one player this year from that list, it would be MIKE SEXTON. As Melissa Hayden points out above, he has done far more for the industry than just host WPT final tables.

  13. BJ Nemeth

    As a bonus, I also know how to properly spell Jennifer Harman’s last name. 🙂

  14. Kevin Mathers

    When I posted the announcement on 2+2, I later added a poll asking when Dwan should get into the Hall of Fame.

    At the moment, with nearly 500 votes in under 24 hours:

    Now – 117
    In 15 years – 116
    In 10 years – 103
    In 5 years – 58
    Never – 54

  15. Johnny Hughes

    In the old West, when you said, “There is a one-eyed man in the game.”, that meant someone is cheating. Now we have a one-eyed man, with an agent who might sell two votes, and his big store is open for prop bets on the outcome.

    Poll the voters. Don’t put the results on your web sites. Hustle prop bets. Vote your bet.

  16. Earl Burton

    I don’t think there should be an age limit on how old someone has to be to gain entrance to the Poker Hall of Fame, but it is an embarrassment to see “durrrr’s” name included in that list. He is a solid two decades away from even being in the running. Let’s see him win a half dozen bracelets and a few other $10K events before crowning him.

    Sexton is a lock for election IMO. The second choice will be a tough one and should come down between Greenstein and Seidel. I think both would say they aren’t ready for the HoF yet as they still have some poker in them!

    Now there is a possibility that a second person doesn’t earn the 75% level and a non-player could garner enough support from the 30 voting members (23 of the 30 votes) to bypass the nominations. Perhaps that is what is necessary to allow some level of comprehension of what the HoF means. (On a side note: Dwan nominated and HoF mambers Hellmuth, Brunson and Ungar getting votes? Who was voting on this?!?!)

  17. Kevin Mathers


    It’s expected when the casual poker player gets involved: ballot stuffing, voting for people who are already enshrined, etc.

  18. Earl Burton


    You do have a point there!

    In an effort to help out with this problem, why has there never been a dedicated Poker Hall of Fame built or established? I know Binion’s had the photos up of all the HoF members before Harrah’s took it over and, to the best of my knowledge, has never added members elected after 2004 and could even not have the display up anymore (since they remodeled). Isn’t it time that the Poker Hall of Fame had a home?

    A small area on the Strip would be all it would take and it would probably draw a good crowd. Collecting memorabilia from all the HoF inductees, trace the history of poker, perhaps even have an occassional small tournament where one of the HoF members plays (and many more possibilities)…I think this would be a tremendous idea. Who’s with me?

  19. Kevin Mathers

    The Commish has mentioned having an actual location of the Poker Hall of Fame a priority in previous interviews with items similar to what you’ve suggested.

  20. DanM

    I now can recognize Elky (by face, or at least hair and sunglasses, not just by name) … so there are only four players left who are currently auto-eliminated on my ballot. Good job on Elky doing well enough in Day 3 to make him more famous than before.

  21. Kevin Mathers

    Aren’t you only able to vote for the top 10 and any other late additions made by HOF Committee?

  22. DanM

    I’m not sure about that yet. They have sent us rules and criteria, but I haven’t studied it yet. I think we can do write-ins on our own, but don’t put money on that.