The World Series of Poker announced this year's Poker Hall of Fame nominees. The introduction ceremony will take place during the WSOP final table in November giving either one or two poker players the honor of becoming the latest members of poker's most prestigious club. The 10 candidates have been selected from a huge number of distinguished poker personalities, but only one or two of them will become Poker Hall of Famers. The new members will be selected by the newly established Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council consisting of 18 living Hall of Fame members (out of 40) and 17 representatives from the poker media.
This year's list of candidates includes John Juanda, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Barry Greenstein, Annie Duke, Scotty Nguyen, Marcel Luske, Huck Seed, Tom McEvoy, Linda Johnson and Jack McClelland. The 10 nominees have been selected according to the established criteria applied to all players and poker personalities who are considered for entering the Hall of Fame. These are the requirements:
• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
• Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
• Played for high stakes
• Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
• 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.
Let's take a short glance at all of the pros nominated into the Poker Hall of Fame and their lifetime accomplishments.
John Juanda is by far one of the best poker players around and continues to show great results at the tables in major poker events. He recently won his fifth World Series of Poker bracelet after defeating the Poker Brat Phil Hellmuth in the 2-7 Lowball event earning a cash prize of over $350,000. His lifetime tournament winnings exceed $11.8 million and that puts Juanda in the #6 spot of the all time money list. With his poker resume Juanda is definitely one of the favorites to make it into the Poker Hall of Fame in November.
There is no doubt that Jennifer Harman-Traniello is one of the top female poker players in history. Not only does she have two WSOP bracelets in her collection, Harman also made 27 WSOP cashes, played two WPT final tables and cashed 11 times. She now places 6th in the all time women's rankings with more than $2.6 million in tournament winnings.
The Robin Hood of Poker Barry Greenstein is known for both being a great poker player and donating his winnings to charity. An amazing player and a good man, Greenstein is one of this year's top candidates for the Poker Hall of Fame. With over $7.5 million in lifetime tournament winnings, three WSOP bracelets, 52 WSOP money finishes, two WPT titles, and 19 cashes, Greenstein has everything and perhaps even more, to be introduced into the Poker Hall of Fame.
Annie Duke – arguably the best female poker player in history. A former UB Poker Team pro, now commissioner of the Epic Poker League, she owns only one WSOP bracelet, recorded 38 WSOP money finishes, plus another four WPT cashes, a Tournament of Champions title, and the National Heads-Up Poker crown. She is one of the three most successful female poker players with more than $4 million in carrier winnings.
The 1998 WSOP champion and one of the most outstanding poker personalities in the business, Scotty Nguyen has been nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame for the second year in a row and this time he really has a chance of making it all the way. With $11.4 million in lifetime tournament winnings and #8 position in the all time money list, Nguyen proves to be one of the top players in the world. Five WSOP bracelets, 37 money finishes, one WPT title, and another 17 cashes, plus the $50,000 HORSE title at the 2008 WSOP – Nguyen's accomplishments suggest he's a perfect candidate for a place in the Hall of Fame.
Although the name Marcel Luske is not the one that stands out among the other Poker Hall of Fame nominees, it does not diminish his contribution to the game of poker. His part in creating the International Poker Rules and helping standardize tournament procedures and guidelines in order to make tournament poker a global phenomenon are of much bigger importance than his results at the tables. Still, Luske has had his moments and managed to gather almost $4 million in tournament winnings with 21 cashes scored at the WSOP tables. His most memorable performance was in the 2004 World Series when he busted out in 10th place just before the final table.
He won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1996, the Tournament of Champions in 2010, the National Heads-Up Poker championship in 2009 and has four WSOP bracelets – if that counts for something then Huck Seed is a decent contender for a spot in the Poker Hall of Fame. Seed is also considered to be one of the top tournament poker players in the world with his lifetime tournament winnings exceeding $7.2 million.
Although it is not the first time the 1983 WSOP champion Tom McEvoy has been nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame, it seems that this year might just be the time he takes the next step and finally joins his peers in the Hall of Fame. The four-time WSOP bracelet winner has also recorded 42 WSOP cashes and a total of $2.9 in tournament winnings.
Linda Johnson started playing poker professionally almost 30 years ago and has made a huge impact on the world of poker during that time. Johnson, who is also known as the “First Lady of Poker,” has a WSOP bracelet in her collection which she won in 1997 and her tournament winnings exceed $340,000. Although that may not seem much, Johnson's contribution to poker cannot be measured by the usual standards. She started a poker-dedicated magazine – Card Player magazine – making it into one of the leading resources in the industry. She also participated in creating the Tournament Directors Association, published poker books, and ran seminars.
And last, but not least is Jack McClelland – the poker pro who played more final tables than anyone else and is one of the best tournament directors around. He worked with the world's major poker events, the World Series, World Poker Tour, as well as other tournaments and casinos. At the moment McClelland resides at the Bellagio and continues to make a positive impact on the poker industry and raising the game to a higher level.
The newly selected members of the Poker Hall of Fame will be officially announced during the month of October with the official ceremony taking place during the WSOP final table in November.
*Image courtesy of WSOP.com