Poker Hall of Fame Breakdown (Part Deux)

by , Sep 20, 2010 | 3:24 pm

The Poker Hall of Fame voting is upon us, and with only two weeks until voting closes, its time to look at three more nominees for induction. Last time Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, and Jennifer Harman were analyzed and picked apart, ultimately resulting in a single number signifying my personal feeling toward that player’s admission to the hall. Overall, the three players received the following scores:

  • Chris Ferguson: 4
  • Barry Greenstein: 7
  • Jennifer Harman-Traniello: 2

This time around we look at Dan Harrington, Phil Ivey, and Linda Johnson, and you can see how they stack up after the jump.

Dan Harrington

Age: 64
Time Played: 25 years
Tournament/Cash Stakes: Known for his tournament play, although known to play cash games as well, just not the highest stakes

  • 1995 WSOP Main Event champion
  • 2 WSOP Bracelets
  • 1 WPT Title
  • 4 WSOP Main Event Final Tables
  • Tournament winnings: $6,608,000

Off the Felt:

  • Writer of the prolific “Harrington on Hold’em” series of books, initially covering just tournament play but then expanding to talk about cash games and online play in later books.

Thoughts: For someone that doesn’t appear on paper to have that many accomplishments, Dan Harrington sure knows how to show up the competition. Despite only holding 2 WSOP bracelets, he has made the final table of the $10k Main Event a whopping 4 times, accounting for most of the money he has made in the WSOP. This consistent play to the top, that culminated in a 1995 win and a strong run post-boom, gives Dan’s resume a big boost. But the biggest boost he could get is from his extremely popular “Harrington on Hold’em” series. Even players today say that they use Harrington’s models and playstyle as a building block for how they will construct their own strategies, which isn’t bad considering the tight-aggressive style is sometimes scoffed at by the internet crowd. The fact that he hasn’t cashed for much doesn’t seem to hold back the fact he has won over $6 million on the tournament circuit either. The only thing I can think of that is wrong with Dan’s resume is that he hasn’t been very active the past few years, and in fact, according to Hendon Mob, hasn’t cashed at all in 2010. While that may hurt him a little bit, its hard to think “Action Dan” isn’t a very strong candidate amongst this year’s crowd.

Final Points: 9

Phil Ivey

Age: 34
Time Played: Around 15 years
Tournament/Cash Stakes: Consistent presence in the highest tournaments and cash games in the world

  • 8 WSOP Bracelets
  • 40 WSOP Cashes
  • 1 WPT Title
  • Tournament winnings: $13,545,000
  • Untold millions in cash game winnings
  • Member of Team Full Tilt

Off the Felt:

  • Aside from being a poker god amongst mortals, nothing really.

Thoughts: On paper, Phil Ivey is just blowing everyone away. I mean, really, what else can I say about him. He wins or gets close to winning in everything he plays, has won tens of millions of dollars in cash games, and even if he lost a lot of that at the craps tables his fat distribution sponsorship checks from Full Tilt probably aren’t hurting either. There is just one issue that is going to have people wondering WTF Pokerati was thinking when they had me start contributing; he’s just too young. As I said in the first entry, I believe in the Chip Reese Rule, which states players should only be considered for the Hall of Fame if they are over 40 years old and have had more than 10 years of being a professional poker player. Ivey is going to get in, I don’t doubt that, and nothing is going to stop me from giving him high marks for his amazing accomplishments at the very young age of 34. But has he really “stood the test of time”? Yes, it would be the most ridiculous case of runbad ever if we see Ivey playing 1/2 at the MGM in 10 years time, but he just hasn’t been around this Earth long enough for me to feel he worthy of getting in this year. Ivey’s entry is all but assured, but when you’ve got some people forgetting there was poker before Ivey already, best to get some of the more old-school folks in while their long list of accomplishments are still in some folks’ minds.

Final Points: 6

Linda Johnson

Age: 56
Time Played: Over 20 years
Tournament/Cash Stakes: High level tournaments, though most play these days is online

  • 1 WSOP Bracelet
  • 7 WSOP cashes
  • Tournament winnings: $300,000

Off the Felt:

  • Extensive work for the WPT during the first few seasons
  • On the Board of Directors of the TDA (Tournament Directors Association)
  • Publisher for Cardplayer until she sold to Barry Shulman in 1998

Thoughts: This is our “non-player” nominee of the year, for sure. Yes, Linda has won a bracelet, and its a non-Ladies event bracelet (thank God because I don’t want to bring up that argument again), but her accomplishments are better seen off the felt. She helped get the WPT off the ground, which while I’m on record as saying it was on death’s door all of six months ago, is surging now with the lower buy-ins and was certainly one of the reasons poker is as big as it is today. Her work on the Tournament Directors Association helped smooth things out between TDs, and while we dont have just one unified payout/blind structure at the very least things are better off now then they could have been if no one talked to each other. Finally, she owned Cardplayer Magazine before it was cool and evil. Way before it was cool and evil. Her media and behind-the-scenes accomplishments are many, but the issue is that they are all behind-the-scenes. Mike Sexton was inducted last year because he has been the face of the WPT since the beginning, and people recognized him for that work. And I will have to confess something; I barely knew who she was until I did some research. You can bet that if my “generation” is coming up the ranks of the media, her chances are fading fast (believe me, we don’t normally do any research). This year’s group is way too strong to get a shot this time around, and while her contributions are great, I just can’t reconcile with the fact that she’s probably in the second half of the top 10 list at the end of the day. I do hope she gets in, but its not gonna go anywhere until some of the big players get filtered out.

Final Points: 4

Next time we round out the list with Tom McEvoy, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, and Erik Seidel. And the fourth and final piece will take the top 3 players and see how many votes I would give to each (out of 10 total) if I had a vote in the process.

Comments are closed.