The Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2012's new inductees have been announced by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, they are: Eric Drache and Brian "Sailor" Roberts. Nominated by the public, the two were voted in by a 36-person panel that consisted of the living Poker Hall of Famers and various members of the media and become the 34rd and 44th individuals to be inducted.
“I’m not only surprised and honored to have been selected, I’m also a bit embarrassed considering the other nominees,” Drache said. “When Jack Binion and myself worked on creating the Hall of Fame, I never considered myself a potential candidate. I’m particularly happy for the family of Sailor Roberts. Sailor by everyone’s account, including my own personal observations, was a great player and played many games very well.”
Drache is known for much more than being a very accomplished seven card stud player, he's made five WSOP final tables and served as tournament director for the WSOP - 1973 to 1988 - developed the concept of satellite tournaments, helped in establishing the Poker Hall of Fame, and has also filled the shoes of card room manager at the Silverbird, Mirage, and the Golden Nugget. Drache has also been very active with the poker boom's explosion into television where he served as a consultant on numerous poker productions.
Roberts was the 1975 WSOP Main Event champion and part of poker's original poker road warriors - the Texas Road Gamblers - who traveled the unbeaten path of perfecting his game with advanced strategies while everyone else hoped to get lucky as the miles ran out in road trips with Doyle Brunson and "Amarillo Slim" Preston. Both Brunson and Preston are members of the PHoF.
The WSOP had this to say about Roberts:
"To anyone who knew him, Brian 'Sailor' Roberts was truly one of the ‘good guys’ of the game. Along with his poker skill, Roberts’ wit, charm and reputable integrity served him well in cementing his place as one of poker’s legends. A gambler at his very core, the 1975 WSOP Main Event champion grew up in the small town of San Angelo, Texas, where at age 12 he made his first winnings shooting dice while working as a caddie. After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, Roberts returned home to Texas, where he met Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. The three traveled throughout the south and Midwest in search of poker games and became known as the famous “Texas Rounders,” whose exploits have been romanticized over the years in both film and literature. A pillar of poker’s old guard, Roberts was beloved by his fellow gamblers. The two-time WSOP champion also finished eighth in the 1982 WSOP Main Event won by fellow Hall of Famer Jack “Treetop” Strauss. Roberts passed away in 1995."
Roberts passed away in 1995. Crandell Addinton, current Hall of Famer and good friend, said:
“In a time 50 years ago when poker players relied on luck, Sailor was developing sophisticated strategies that would enable him to make his own luck. At a time in which professional poker players were viewed as outlaws and poker was illegal, he formed a partnership with Doyle and Slim and they traveled across the country from poker game to poker game. They deployed advanced strategies unknown at the time that featured playing their opponents hands on many occasions rather than their own hands. More often than not, they got the money.”
A group of 10 finalists that included Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Thor Hansen, George Hardie, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, John Juanda, Tom McEvoy, and Scotty Nguyen, were also nominated but Drache and Roberts were the chosen ones based on the following criteria:
- 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 nonplayers, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.
The induction ceremony for Drache and Roberts will be held on Tuesday, October 30th at 3:30 p.m. at the Riot All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas before the finale of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event.
Article Image courtesy of gaming.unlv.edu. Eric Drache image courtesy of Linda Geenen