By: Pocket Bullets Paris
I was debating with someone the other day about what it took to get into the Poker Hall of Fame when my wife walked by and said, “You mean, there’s actually a Poker Hall of Fame?” She seemed just skeptical enough to make me want to prove it to her; after all, why wouldn‘t there be a Hall of Fame for great poker players? So then she asked if getting in was based on total earnings or longevity or popularity or what, and since I had to look it up, I figured I’d share it with any of you who might have the same question.
The two latest players inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 were Jennifer Harman and John Juanda, who became the 49th and 50th members. The public nominated 10 potential inductees, and then Harman and Juanda were officially selected by a 39-person panel of existing Poker Hall of Famers. Their induction ceremony took place on November 6 at 7:00 pm in the former Benny’s Bullpen inside Binion’s Gambling Hall, which hosted the first final table of the WSOP in 1970. Both Harman and Juanda have played high stakes poker for more than 20 years with great success. (Incidentally, there has not yet been a European player who has garnered enough votes to get in yet.) But what, exactly, did it take for Harman and Juanda to make it?
To answer that question I turned to Hall of Famer and my personal favorite player, Daniel “The Kid” Negreanu. Before this year’s voting, he posted a list of the criteria that must be met in order to be considered a true Hall of Fame contender. I have “borrowed” his list to share with you: A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition; they must have played for high stakes; they must be a minimum of 40-years-old at time of nomination; they must have played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers and they must have stood the test of time. In addition, there is also a category for non-players, who “must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.”
So there it is. No flash-in-the-pans. No overnight successes. And no 22-year-olds! And my wife was satisfied because the answer came from Negreanu, who happens to be her favorite, too. Now I can get back to the tables and practicing my game.