Poker Hall of Fame--Who Shouldn't Make it...

There are ten candidates this year, almost all of them are wothy and almost all of them will eventually get in. They include World Series of P0ker Texas Hold'em poker Main Event Champions, poker authors, poker contributors, and poker greats. They are Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Jennifer Harman, Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Tom McEvoy, Dan Harrington, Linda Johnson, and Scotty Nguyen. Anybody who ever wanted to learn poker could model themselves after any of these players and have a long and successful careeer. Conceivably you could make a case that only Linda Johnson, Jennifer Harman (sorry ladies), and Tom McEvoy don't deserve to make it.

Real quickly, I'll give my thoughts though they are much better expressed on this blog. Let's elminate Linda Johnson from the won't deserve to make it one day. Fan ignorance of her is not enough to keep her out. Linda Johnson, which most people who don't bother to do a Wikipedia look up or google search won't know, is the first lady of poker. Annie Duke may self-describe herself as this, and Daniel Negreanu may call Duke something altogether different but Johnson's career around the felt deservedly garners her the nickname and inclusion. Look her up. She'll get in one day and deserves to be there.

She won't make it because the Hall of Fame is light in women members (it is) and they need to give out memberships for the good of the sexes, no, she'll get in because of all that she does off the felt and she's not too bad on it.

Unlike Johnson, Jennifer Harman may get in simply because she is a woman. Harman is probably a better cash game player than a tournament player. She alledgedly is a donator online. Harman has won two bracelets. Both were in non Texas Hold'em events. One was a 5k No Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw tournament and the other was a 5k Limit Hold'em event. The legend goes that she had never player Deuce-to-Seven and won the tournament after a five minute coaching session with Howard Lederer (maybe that should be on his Hall of Fame resume). She has over $2,300,000 in tournament winnings. She is the only woman to hold two bracelets in WSOP open events.

Great leeway should be given to cash game specialists, and Harman is respected by all the other players in the Big Game. That respect should be the most telling credential as cash results are so difficult to track. However, if you grade her only as a poker player, not as a woman poker player, the two bracelets pale in comparison to many candidates nominated (and not). Also, cash game players like Barry Greenstein and Phil Ivey still dwarf her in tournament winnings.

No offense to Jennifer, but her best reason to be included is that she's done things no other women have, but is that enough? Being the best in a sub-category is not the threshold for the Hall of Fame. Mugsy Bogues may be the best basketball player ever under 5'5 but that doesn't mean he should make the NBA hall of fame.

The third person on the may not ever make it list is Tom McEvoy. The guy had early success on the tournament trail, has been a respected co-author, and bounced back into relevance with his World Series of Poker Main Events Champions Championship win in a heads-up duel that had to leave ESPN poker executives crying with Robert Varkoni.

For all intents and purposes McEvoy is a great guy, an ambassador as a champion, a person instrumental in making poker rooms and tournaments smoke free (love him or hate him for it), but winning one Main Event, writing some books, and barely doing anything of note in the last 20 years does not a Hall of Famer make.

Only, by comparing his numbers to the other candidates, and he’s regarded mostly as a tournament player so it’s an easy comparison, can you easily suggest he shouldn’t get in any time soon as there are far more qualified knocking at the door.


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