The Australian Poker Hall of Fame (APHOF), which launched in 2009, was established to recognize those in the Australian poker community who have excelled and contributed meaningfully to the game. Australian players have a rich tradition in poker. Joe Hachem, Jeff Lisandro and Mel Judah, are among the members of the APHOF. Last night at the 2012 Aussie Millions Poker Championship, David Gorr and Jason Gray were announced as the APHOF’s latest inductees.
Gorr, a veteran poker player and Crown regular, is best known for winning the 2011 Aussie Millions Main Event for $2 million. At the moment, he is sitting in fourth place on the Australian All-Time Money List. Gray has amassed over $1.1 million in tournament winnings, including a win in the 2007 $25,000 Victorian Championships; third in the 2008 World Series of Poker Omaha Hi-Lo Split World Championship, runner-up at the 2008 Asian Poker Pacific (APPT) Sydney Grand Final.
So what does it take to be a member of the APHOF? To be inducted, nominees must meet the following criteria:
- Be a current or former residents of Australia or New Zealand,
- Have demonstrated outstanding and extended service to the game, bringing credit to Australian Casino Tournament Poker, and/or
- Have displayed significant player excellence.
Both Gorr and Gray not only met the criteria, they far exceeded them. PokerNews caught up with Gorr shortly after his induction ceremony at the Aussie Millions Welcome Party:
“Well, first of all, I didn’t know I was going to be inducted,” Gorr said. “I found out five minutes before. They said stay around, you need to be up at the front. I’m really honored and humbled that they have chosen me. I’ve been in poker a long time, that’s true, and I was the 1996 Adelaide Champion, but it took another 15 years for me to win a tournament, so you can see the stamina you need to hang around and hopefully win a tournament. It’s fantastic, it will be interesting to see what my wife says when I get home.”
A Look Back at the Australian Poker Hall of Fame
Both Gorr and Gray join the elite and talented Australian players and personalities who have contributed to a rich poker tradition not only in Australia, but the world around. The APHOF inductees have continued to achieve remarkable feats, including bracelet wins at the WSOP, Player of the Year awards, and dozens of tournament victories in the Asian-Pacific market.
The accomplishments of these players are what inspired Maurie Pears, chairman of the APHOF, to create an Australian Hall of Fame. As he explains: “In proposing this Australian Poker Hall of Fame, I have been driven by a long time desire to honor and set in stone, those poker players, casinos and promoters who have done so much to bring the game to the standard of excellence as it is today.”
The APHOF, created in 2009, originally inducted seven players including Pears, the creator of the APHOF and a veteran of poker; Gary Benson, winner of a WSOP bracelet in 1996; winner of the 2006 Aussie Millions and accomplished author, Lee Nelson; 2009 WSOP Player of the Year, Jeff Lisandro; Billy “The Croc” Argyros; the father of Aussie Poker, Mel Judah; and the ever-boisterous Tony Guoga. In addition, Joe Hachem was inducted as a “Legend of Poker” for his win at the 2005 WSOP and subsequent accomplishments.
With a solid foundation established, the APHOF began to add members over the next two years. In 2010, Lisandro, a four-time WSOP bracelet winner, became the only other player to join Hachem as a Legend of Poker, while Marsha Waggoner, a world-renowned poker dealer, promoter, and ambassador, became the first woman inducted into the APHOF.
Last year, two more Australian legends were inducted into the APHOF — Leo Boxell and Danny McDonagh. Boxell is a poker legend in Australia, having won the Crown Championship in 2000, banking approximately $500,000 in winnings at the Aussie Millions, and recently winning the Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) Melbourne. McDonagh spearheaded every major event at the Crown Casino from the day it opened until 2007 when he went on to become Tournament Director of the APPT and then to serve as Director of PokerStars’ Live Poker Operations for Asia Pacific.
Now, with the induction of Gorr and Grey, 13 members grace the halls of the APHOF. Look for both players to demonstrate exactly why they’re deserving of being the Class of 2011-2012 if and when they take part in the action over the next two weeks.
The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand at the Crown Casino in Melbourne bringing you all the action from the 2012 Aussie Millions, so be sure to visit our live blog for all the action.