LAS VEGAS, NV – Erik Seidel and Dan Harrington were officially inducted as the 39th and 40th members of the Poker Hall of Fame Monday evening.
Seidel and Harrington were presented with poker’s highest honor in front of hundreds of attendees inside the Rio’s Penn and Teller Theater.
On hand at the historic event were Jack Binion and fellow poker hall of famers Phil Hellmuth and Doyle Brunson along with a number of other notable poker pros and dignitaries.
Seidel and Harrington are former tournament backgammon players who played regularly at the famed Mayfair Club in New York, which originally was a backgammon and bridge club that became more famous for the poker players it produced.
Seidel is an eight-time WSOP bracelet champion and WPT title holder with over $10 million in lifetime tournament earnings. After a short career as an options trader, he turned to poker after the stock market crash of 1987. Seidel’s first major tournament cash came a year later, at the 1988 WSOP Main Event, where he outlasted 165 competitors to face Johnny Chan for the world championship.
In his first major tournament cash, the then 28-year-old finished runner-up to Chan. The final hand of Seidel’s matchup with the poker icon was filmed for the movie, “Rounders,” a film that inspired generations of professional and amateur players.
Poker's living legend, Doyle Brunson, gave a few introductory words on behalf of Seidel, saying that he most admired his demeanor and how he treated others at the table. “He reminds me most of Chip Reese,” said the ten-time WSOP bracelet winner.
In line with his persona both on and off the felt, Seidel expressed humility as he addressed those in attendance.
“I don’t know where my life would have taken me without poker”, said Seidel. “I am lucky to have found this world.”
Longtime poker journalist and noted historian, Nolan Dalla introduced Harrington to the audience.
In his acceptance speech, Harrington drew parallels between the past and present as he talked about his days playing poker at the Mayfair Club and the challenges faced by many of today's younger pros. Harrington's voiced cracked with emotion with his closing words.
“Action” Dan, whose nickname runs counter to his conservative style of play, is a two-time WSOP bracelet champion and WPT title holder with well over $6 million in lifetime tournament earnings.
In addition to his on-the-felt success, Harrington has influenced legions of players with his highly acclaimed “Harrington on Hold’em” series of instructional poker books that he co-authored with Bill Robertie.
The nomination process for the 2010 Poker Hall of Fame began in August with the public invited to submit their selections for this year’s class. From a list of ten finalists, Seidel and Harrington were selected by a committee of 18 living Hall of Fame members and a select panel of media.
The eight other well-deserving finalists for this year’s Poker Hall of Fame were:
The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004. Though the Hall of Fame is virtual in nature, its membership includes poker's most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are now 18 living members.
The main criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame is as follows:
- 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 entire list of 40 Poker Hall of Fame members includes (alphabetical with year of induction in parenthesis):
o Tom Abdo (1982)
o Crandell Addington (2005)
o Bobby Baldwin (2003)
o Billy Baxter (2006)
o Lyle Berman (2002)
o Joe Bernstein (1983)
o Benny Binion (1990)
o Jack Binion (2005)
o Bill Boyd (1981)
o Doyle Brunson (1988)
o Johnny Chan (2002)
o T.J. Cloutier (2006)
o Nick Dandolos (1979)
o Barbara Enright (2007)
o Fred “Sarge” Ferris (1989)
o T “Blondie” Forbes (1980)
o Henry Green (1986)
o Dan Harrington (2010)
o Murph Harrold (1984)
o Phil Hellmuth (2007)
o James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok (1979)
o Red Hodges (1985)
o Edmond Hoyle (1979)
o Berry Johnston (2004)
o Jack Keller (1993)
o Felton McCorquodale (1979)
o Roger Moore (1997)
o Johnny Moss (1979)
o Henry Orenstein (2008)
o Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson (1987)
o Julius Oral Popwell (1996)
o Thomas Austin “Amarillo Slim” Preston (1992)
o David “Chip” Reese (1991)
o Erik Seidel (2010)
o Mike Sexton (2009)
o Jack “Treetop” Straus (1988)
o Duane “Dewey” Tomko (2008)
o Stu “The Kid” Ungar (2001)
o Red Winn (1979)
o Sid Wyman (1979)
ABOUT THE POKER HALL OF FAME
The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004. Though the Hall of Fame is virtual in nature, its membership includes poker's most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are now 18 living members, and 38 members have been bestowed the honor of Poker Hall of Famer. The Poker Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held in concert with the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP, held each November in Las Vegas.