33 candidates for the Poker Hall of Fame

Hall of FameWe are at T-minus one-month until the World Series of Poker begins and one of the highlights of the WSOP for me is the nomination, selection, and induction process for the Poker Hall of Fame.

Every year I like to make the case for a few deserving people, and I almost always have some thoughts on how the Hall of Fame nomination and induction process should go and how the Hall of Fame should be configured.

Since these are little more than my idealized version of the Poker Hall of Fame and I have no way of making any of this a reality, this time around I’ll just make a list of about 30 people who should be in the Hall of Fame.

The question of character

Let me explain something off the bat; I don’t buy into the “he wasn’t a nice guy” or “he was a cheater” stuff when it comes to whether or not a person belongs in the Poker Hall of Fame. Let’s state the facts as they are; the place is like the Mos Eisley Cantina, “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy,” as Sir Alec Guinness would say.

So really, what’s another scoundrel or two, or ten?

The Poker Hall of Fame is full of cheats, drug addicts, mean ornery SOB’s, and even a murderer or two, so let’s put an end to the “character” argument. I’m not really interested in a person’s sins unless it directly impacted the game’s public standing or potential growth.

Shoe-ins are also not included

I’m also not picking future shoe-ins like Jennifer Harman, or John Juanda, or Carlos Mortensen.

This list I have compiled is about players from a bygone era that have slipped from memory and contributors whose efforts are far too often overlooked and disregarded.

It’s a travesty these 5 people are not in the Poker HoF

Barry Shulman

I’ve made the case for Shulman in the past and for the life of me I can’t figure out how someone who was as important to poker media as Shulman (Cardplayer Magazine), as well as someone with a solid record as a player is not in the Hall of Fame –Shulman won the 2009 WSOP Europe Main Event, finished 3rd at the 2010 PCA, and won a WSOP bracelet back in 2001.

Terry Rogers

Rogers is another person I’ve lobbied for over the years, and I’ll continue to do so until he gets in. This was the guy behind the guy of Irish poker. Rogers created the first real Texas Holdem poker club in Ireland, the Eccentrics Club, where just about every major Irish Holdem player got their start; he also created the Irish Poker Open and enticed names like Doyle Brunson and Stu Ungar to come to Dublin to play in the tournament; and he was responsible for the 1999 Irish invasion of the WSOP.

Colette Doherty

A true pioneer. Doherty won the inaugural Irish Poker Open in 1980 and in the process got a ticket (from Terry Rogers) to play in the WSOP Main Event, becoming one of the first women to play in the tournament and first European to do so.

She doesn’t have an extensive resume, but she did win the Irish Poker Open a second time in 1991, and was a part of the 2002 Late Night Poker season.

Mike Caro

Prior to the poker boom the most famous poker players were the people who wrote about the game and nobody was more active than Mike Caro, who was also one of the top draw poker players of his day.

Before poker was “mainstream” Caro was perhaps the game’s best ambassador, evidenced by Planet Poker choosing Caro to rep their brand in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.

The younger generation may find him “out-of-touch” but throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s Mike Caro was one of the best known poker players.

David Sklansky

My selection of Sklansky is similar to my reasoning behind selecting Caro; did anyone do more to promote the game of poker during the 80’s and 90’s than David Sklansky? His books are classics and have likely started more poker careers than even Doyle Brunson’s Super System.

And like Caro, Sklansky was a pretty good player in his day. He has three WSOP bracelets and 14 Top 10 finishes.

12 players that should be considered

  1. Ken Flaton
  2. John Bonetti
  3. Pascal Perreault
  4. Bobby Hoff — Had he won the Main Event in 79 he’d already be in
  5. Mickey Appleman
  6. David Ulliott — people hate him, but this guy was the face of English poker for a long time.
  7. Men Nguyen — a lot of allegations but he’s also a poker lifer with an impressive resume.
  8. Bruno Fittoussi
  9. Cyndi Violette
  10. Danny Robison
  11. Marcel Luske
  12. Liam Flood

7 contributors that should be considered

  1. Jack McClelland
  2. Nolan Dalla
  3. James McManus
  4. Mark Twain –was there another contemporary of his generation who wrote about poker in such a positive light as much as Mark Twain?
  5. Anthony Holden
  6. Andy Glazer
  7. John Duthie

10 trailblazers that should all be inducted at once

  1. Doc Holliday
  2. “Canada” Bill Jones
  3. George Devol
  4. Richard B.S. “Dick” Clark
  5. Ben Thompson
  6. Wyatt Earp
  7. Bat Masterson
  8. Luke Short
  9. Alice “Poker Alice” Ivers
  10. Titanic Thompson

When it comes to this category my feeling is just put them all in this year. Just add their names.

All of these people are long gone, as is anyone who could speak on their behalf, and the stories surrounding their poker and gambling exploits are as much myth as reality.

That being said, all of these people are the legends of their era, and I find it to be somewhat of a slight on past generations that when we speak of Hall of Famers our minds can’t go back further than the 1970’s. Use the Google and look up some of these names, you’ll get a very interesting read!


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