The first stage of the revamped election process for the Poker of Hall of Fame, with Harrah’s Entertainment and the World Series of Poker announcing the top ten votegetters for this year’s election in a press conference on Thursday. (Photo shows 2008 inductee Dewey Tomko receiving his award from WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack.) This year marked the first time that all poker players were able to submit nominations for induction, via an online nomination process at worldseriesofpoker.com. The online nomination period stretched for five weeks during the early portion of the 2009 WSOP, from May 26 – July 2.
The top ten nominees, in alphabetical order:
• Tom Dwan
• Barry Greenstein
• Dan Harrington
• Phil Ivey
• Tom McEvoy
• Men Nguyen
• Scotty Nguyen
• Daniel Negreanu
• Erik Seidel
• Mike Sexton
In the press conference, held as part of the WSOP’s annual Media Day at Café Martorano at the Rio, WSOP Commissioner noted that 41 eligible people had received multiple nominations. Others who received nominations 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 Harman-Traniello, Jay Heimowitz, Rob Hollink, Jesper Hougaard, Phil Laak, Howard Lederer, Marcel Luske, Mike Matusow, Chris Moneymaker, Luca Pagano, Greg Raymer, Matt Savage and David Sklansky. Three already-inducted Poker HoF members also received multiple (though irrelevant) nominations: Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Stu Ungar.
When asked about whether the online nomination process was a success, Pollack enthusiastic asserted that it was a “quantum leap forward” for the Poker Hall of Fame, and as promised, “more people were involved in the Hall of Fame selection process.”
While the players noted here received the most online nominations, they do not necessarily represent the official list of finalists for the 2009 Hall of Fame. From here the process moves to a vetting process by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, who will select the final list of candidates. From there the list of finalists moves to voting, with the election done by a 30-person panel – the 15 currently living Hall of Fame members and 15-person media panel. Criteria for election are as follows:
• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition;
• Played for high stakes;
• Played well, gaining the respect of players;
• 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 election process continues through the late summer and fall, with this year’s inductees, once determined, enshrined in a ceremony as part of the World Series of Poker Main Event festivities this November.