Over the past 5 weeks, visitors to the official World Series of Poker website have been encouraged to nominate players they feel deserve to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. From May 26th to July 2nd, WSOP.com guests have been asked to submit their nominations for the 2009 inductee. With the votes received and counted the official 10 player shortlist has been announced.
The nominees are:
This list will now go before the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council who will vet each nominee for suitability. The list will then be passed on to the 16 living members of the Hall of Fame as well as a 15-strong media panel. Each member of these groups can cast one vote for any player who they believe should be inducted, including those not on the shortlist. In order to make it into the Hall of Fame, one player must receive at least 75% of the votes.
The WSOP have composed a set of basic criteria which potential inductees must fulfil:
* A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
* 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.
The most surprising nominee is undoubtedly Tom Dwan. Although he has earned a fearsome reputation online he is yet to truly establish himself in the live sphere. At only 22 years of age he is unlikely to be considered a realistic contender. It is a testament to his popularity with poker fans however, that he has made it onto such a prestigious list.
A number of players notched up multiple votes, but were unable to breach the 10 man shortlist. Patrick Antonius, Mike Caro, Ivan Demidov, Annie Duke, Sam Farha, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Gus Hansen, Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, Chris Moneymaker, and Matt Savage were just some of those who missed out. Oddly, Phill Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, and Stu Unger all received multiple votes despite already being members of the Hall of Fame.
Mike Sexton appears to have emerged as an early favorite, with Barry Greenstein another strong contender. Pokerati supremo Dan Michalski is a member of the media panel and revealed that he only considers two members of the shortlist worthy of Hall of Fame membership. He also confirmed that Tom Dwan was not one of those picks.
The Poker Hall of Fame has been in existence since 1979 and has so far enshrined 37 key figures in the history of poker. The 2009 induction ceremony will coincide with the WSOP main event final table in November.