Poker Hall of Fame--Who Shouldn't Make it... This Year only because only two get in

Well now we have trimmed the fat to five candidates: Dan Harrington, Chris Ferguson, Erik Seidel, Barry Greenstein, and Scotty Nguyen. Anybody questioning Harman and McEvoy's exclusion should just match their resume up with these five (or Negreanu or Ivey's for that matter). These guys are all great No Limit Texas Holdem poker and all can play other varieties just as well.

Let's go from least compelling to most. Shockingly, that forces me to start with Barry Greenstein. We aren't comparing some Sit'n go specialists so even the greats, though separated by the width of a hair have to be separated.

He is a cash game specialist and also known as the Robin Hood of Poker. Before the entry fees became too exorbitant Greenstein donated all his tournament winnings to charity, in 2006 he changed that up to earnings (minus buy-ins). Like Chip Reese, Greenstein realized as poker went mainstream to get the recognition he deserved he'd have to play tournaments.

Late to the game he's still amassed over seven million dollars. One of the all time leaders. He has three bracelets which is a bit on the light side but also has two WPT titles, which is on the high side. He's 55 and definitely contributed to the game by more than just playing it. By being so charitable he's helped remove the rogue stigma of poker, and by funding and starting PokerRoad with his step son Joe Seebok he's contributed a service to players and helped grow the game.

All that being said, while he's far more worthy than some of the other candidates he falls short of the others in ways that are not entirely his fault. He's probably one of the better cash games players on this list, and like Jennifer Harman suffers from excelling in a hard, maybe even impossible, part of poker to measure. Course, his bracelets, WPT titles, and winnings are nothing to sneeze at.

Chris "Jesus" Ferguson. The Main Event Champion just before the poker boom. Yes, he preceded Robert Varkoni too (who was Moneymaker one year too early without the catchy name) but Jesus' win was in almost total anonymity as it was not televised anywhere.

Ferguson is a cashing machine. He has over 8,000,000 million in lifetime winnings with 63 World Series of Poker in the money finishes, for a little over 4 million dollars. He has five total bracelets and two WPT titles (no wins). He's crushed National Heads Up Championship making three final tables and winning once. He can throw a playing card through a banana. He also created Full Tilt Poker and therefore contributed in a massive way to a billion dollar industry. He will make the Poker Hall of Fame. He is a icon in the game with his name and look. However. That day is not today.

Next up is Dan Harrington, and despite this article making a compelling case for him, in my opinion his time is not yet up. Obviously, with any of the top five, with all five making it sometime soon, who really cares who goes in this year, next year or the year after. Still if we are splitting hairs, Harrington despite his Main Event wins, his epic follow up deep runs, his bracelets and his 6.6 million in tournament winnings hasn’t quite transcended the game like the last two players Erik Seidel and Scotty “Just” Nguyen “Baby.” Action Dan could get in over those two this year but in our next post we’ll examine why Seidel and Scotty are the best candidates. And the Hall of Fame is only letting two in.


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