Tom McEvoy Deserves to Be In the Poker Hall of Fame

Hall of FameOriginally you were going to read 800 words on why Tom McEvoy’s induction into the Poker Hall of Fame was a travesty. But a funny thing happened as I was writing it; I completely changed my mind.

When I saw Tom McEvoy’s name on the short-list (for the fifth straight year) I didn’t think he had a chance at being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame –for all intents and purposes, McEvoy was the poker version of Jack Morris. And I suppose that much like Jack Morris you have to dig a little deeper than the numbers to see where their support comes from.

When I discovered that McEvoy was going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame I was quite surprised. And to say I found Tom McEvoy undeserving of the Poker Hall of Fame would be putting it mildly, but I now see Tom McEvoy as a very deserving Hall of Famer. Here is why.

McEvoy the Poker Player

Even with a World Series of Poker Main Event championship to go along with his three other WSOP bracelets (that’s four bracelets if you have trouble counting); by itself McEvoy’s poker resume is far from Hall of Fame worthy.

His WSOP bracelets were won in 1983, 1983, 1986, and 1992, and other than a win on the short-lived, invitation-only, Professional Poker Tour (PPT) in 2005 he hasn’t won a major tournament.

According to the Hendon Mob, he has four cashes of $100,000 or more (his best cash was the $540,000 score for winning the 1983 WSOP Main Event) and career tournament earnings of just under $3,000,000 –which works out to about $93,000 in tournament winnings per year.

In this regard I’m with all his critics, he lacks anything approaching a Hall of Fame resume as a player, but let’s take a look at his contributions to the game as well.

McEvoy the Contributor

Everyone knows Tom was the first player to win the WSOP title after winning a satellite into the WSOP Main Event, and everyone knows that Tom is a prolific writer of poker strategy books –at least a dozen by my count. But did you know that the reason you can sit comfortably in a poker room without inhaling cigarette and cigar smoke is mainly because of Tom McEvoy?

Also, Tom didn’t just win a satellite into the Main Event, he actually promoted this accomplishment. Anyone could have gone down as a footnote on Wikipedia as being the first player to win the WSOP Main Event through a live satellite, but it would take a person like Tom McEvoy to promote the idea that anyone could play in the WSOP Main Event; just play a satellite!

And yes, McEvoy has flooded bookshelves with poker primers over the years (and yes, a lot of these titles are quite out of date now) but he was also a long-time featured columnist for Cardplayer Magazine, which was basically the 2+2, Cardrunners and of its day.

For me, McEvoy’s crusade to make poker rooms smoke-free is the most important thing he ever did in poker. Honestly, if poker rooms were still filled with smoke and ashes I don’t think there would have been a Poker Boom.

McEvoy the Person

For the above reasons I think McEvoy is definitely a Hall of Famer. He has a solid –if unspectacular– playing resume and his contributions to the game are on par with anyone’s. If you still are unsure that he deserves to be honored, there is another factor that should put Tom over the top: He simply loves poker. He is passionate about the game.

When you go to some poker event in Las Vegas Tom is there and he’s happy to be there. He is a great ambassador for the game and I have no doubt that Tom McEvoy will be promoting the Poker Hall of Fame as vigorously as he did his WSOP satellite victory and his campaign to make poker rooms smoke free. He’ll take his Hall of Fame vote very seriously and be there to congratulate the new inductees.

And realize that Tom has survived in the cutthroat world of poker of poker for over 30 years without scandal or even a blemish to his character, which as we’ve seen is no easy task.

The Poker Hall of Fame needs more players like Tom McEvoy.


I once posited that a key factor for a player to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame was that their name was synonymous with poker, and I’d say McEvoy fits the bill.

I was definitely wrong about Tom’s Hall of Fame credentials, and I’m extremely happy that the original version of this article is in my recycle bin… and go ask any writer how hard it is to scrap 800 words to get a better idea of what that means.



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