Get ready to nominate this year’s Poker Hall of Fame candidates. This is the second year that voting is open to the general public, and from now until August 31, fans will be able to submit nominations for their favorite players online right HERE.
They may also write up to 250 words in support of their choice. On September 1, we will announce the top ten nominees selected by the public. The Poker HOF committee will then review the nominations to see if any should be added.
On September 13, a “finalists” ballot will be sent to the 16 living Hall of Famers and a select group of media members who will rank the nominees in order of preference. After a final review by the HOF committee, the top two vote-getters (both of whom must garner a majority vote) will be inducted at an enshrinement ceremony at the Main Event final table in November, 2010.
The criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame is that a player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition; played for high stakes; played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers; and stood the test of time. Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting effects.
The Poker Hall of Fame was established in 1979 and acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment (along with the WSOP) in 2004. While criteria and selection methods in the earlier days may not have been nearly as rigorous as now, the 38 members who have received this honor represent some of the most memorable and influential contributors to the game of poker. All but two were 20th century card players.
Here is the complete list, starting with the seven charter members.
Felton "Corky" McCorquodale, 1979: McCorquodale was a noted no-limit gambler best known for introducing Texas hold'em to Las Vegas in 1963. Johnny Moss, 1979: The “Grand Old Man” was a three-time world champion in 1970, 1971 and 1974. Many believe his legendary (some say mythical) heads-up marathon match in 1949 with Jimmy “The Greek” Dandalos was the inspiration for the WSOP. Red Winn, 1979: Winn was noted for being a classic all-around player. Sid Wyman, 1979: Wyman, a noted high-stakes poker player, was co-owner of several casinos, including the Sands, Riviera and Dunes from the early 50s until his death in 1978, "Nick the Greek" Dandalos, 1979: Dandalos won and lost an estimated $500 million in his lifetime gambling on horses, dice and cards. After supposedly losing $2-4 million to Moss in their legendary match, he was said to have uttered the famous quote: “Mr. Moss, I have to let you go.”Edmond Hoyle, 1979: Though he predated poker, Hoyle wrote his classic book, “A short treatise on the game of Whist,” in 1742. It was used by Londoners to settle disputes, and ever since “According to Hoyle” has meant conformity to rules. "Wild Bill" Hickok, 1979: A 19th century gambler, lawman and later sharpshooter touring with the Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok was shot in the back and killed while playing poker in a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota. Legend says he was holding aces and eights, which forever became known as “The Dead Man’s Hand.” T. "Blondie" Forbes, 1980: A veteran road gambler who followed the big games all over Texas.Bill Boyd, 1981: A two-bracelet winner, Boyd is said to be one of the best five-card stud players of all time. He was such a legend that he was ceremoniously dealt the first poker hands at the openings of both the Golden Nugget and Mirage.Tom Abdo, 1982: A gambler and poker player, Abdo suffered a heart attack at the poker table, turned to another player and asked him to count his chips down and save his seat. But he died that night. Joe Bernstein, 1983: Another road gambler, dapper Joe Bernstein was always the best-dressed player at the poker table. Murph Harrold, 1984: Harrold was considered one of the best deuce-to-seven draw lowball players in history. Red Hodges, 1985: Hodges’ game was seven-card stud, and he was considered the best of all time at it. Henry Green, 1986: A road gambler originally from Alabama, he was skilled at all games and played all over the South.Puggy Pearson, 1987: This colorful, cigar-chomping gambler from Tennessee, Walter Clyde "Puggy" Pearson was considered a great seven-card stud player known for his aggressive style and erratic temper. He won three bracelets, including the championship, in 1973. Doyle Brunson, 1988: Acclaimed as “The Godfather,” Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson, one of the original Texas road gamblers, won back-to-back WSOP championships in 1976 and 1977. He was the first player to rack up $1 million in tournament play and now holds 10 bracelets. His “Super/System” strategy book is one of the most acclaimed in poker. Jack Straus, 1988: An aggressive gambler noted for imaginative play, Jack won the 1982 world title after being down to one chip. The yarn-spinning Strauss, nicknamed “Treetop” for his six-foot-seven height, died of a heart attack during a high-stakes poker game at the Bicycle Casino.Fred "Sarge" Ferris, 1989: Of Lebanese descent, Ferris became a professional gambler to escape the poverty of his youth. He won a bracelet in deuce-to-seven, and gained notoriety when the IRS seized $46,000 in chips from him during a high-stakes game at the Horseshoe. Benny Binion, 1990: After moving to Las Vegas, the colorful Texas cowboy, rancher, gambler and numbers-runner took over the El Dorado and renamed it the Benny Binion Horseshoe Casino. It became famous for its display of $1 million in $10,000 bills and for reducing the house edge in table games. In 1970, during an annual gamblers convention, he launched the World Series of Poker, and in 1979 started the Poker Hall of Fame. David “Chip” Reese, 1991: Reese was a Dartmouth graduate who began playing poker for baseball cards when he was six. He arrived in Las Vegas in 1974 and was quickly recognized as one of the best all-around high-stakes poker players of all time. Today, the winner of the WSOP $50,000 buy-in Poker Players Championship is awarded the Chip Reese Trophy, given to the best “all-around” poker player in the 8-game mix format.Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston, 1992: “Amarillo Slim” is as much renowned for his tale-spinning as for his poker-playing. After winning the WSOP championship in 1972, the flamboyant Texas gambler gained publicity for himself and for poker by going on national talk shows. Jack Keller, 1993: Often called "Gentleman Jack" for his pleasant demeanor, Keller arrived in Vegas in the early 80s, captured the WSOP Main Event in 1984, and over the next two decades was a consistent winner. Julius Oral "Little Man" Popwell, 1996: “Little Man” Popwell, who actually weighed over 300 pounds, was a well-known, near-mythical road gambler of the 40s and 50s who specialized in five-card stud. He was inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. Roger Moore, 1997: Moore has gained a solid reputation by doing well against most of the top names in poker. He played in his first WSOP in 1974 and reportedly hasn’t missed any since. He won his first bracelet in a $5,000 Seven-Card Stud event in 1994 and has had numerous other WSOP cashes including three runner-up and three Main Event cashes. Stu Ungar, 2001: Ungar is considered by many to be the greatest No Limit Hold’em as well as the greatest gin player of all time. His five WSOP bracelets include three Main Event championships. In his short lifetime he entered 30 major ($5,000 or higher buy-in) events and, amazingly, won 10 of them. He was only 45 when he succumbed to his drug addiction. Lyle Berman, 2002: Though he prefers high-stakes cash games to tournaments, Berman still has bracelets in Limit Omaha, No Limit Hold’em and Deuce-to-Seven Draw. He also has four seconds and won the Hall of Fame Poker Classic $5,000 championship event in 1992. A multi-faceted businessman, Berman is CEO of Lakes Entertainment, which has interests in various casinos, as well as chairman of the World Poker Tour.Johnny Chan, 2002: Chan, nicknamed “The Orient Express” and “The Great Wall of China,” won back-to-back World Championships in 1987 and 1988 and was first in money won all-time at the time of his induction. Chan was introduced to the general public and became the first poker-playing movie star in the Matt Damon movie “Rounders” where he is shown beating Erik Seidel. Only because of his youth was Chan not inducted earlier.Bobby Baldwin, 2003: Baldwin, celebrated as one of the classiest figures in poker, won his first two bracelets, in Deuce-to-Seven and $5,000 Seven Card Stud, in 1977, and the next year won the Main Event, the youngest to do so to that point. A top casino executive, his posts have included CEO of the Mirage Resorts and president of the Bellagio.Berry Johnston, 2004: Johnston has five bracelets and won the Main Event in 1986. As of the year he was inducted, he had the most all-time WSOP cashes, with at least one every year since 1982. Jack Binion, 2005: Benny Binion’s son became president of the Horseshoe in 1963 at age 26, and developed the downtown casino into a gaming Mecca. After selling his interest to his sister, he formed the Horseshoe Gaming Holding Company, operating several riverboat casinos, and continued to promote them after their sale to Harrah’s Entertainment in 2004. In 2008 he launched the World Poker Open.Crandell Addington, 2005: Renowned as a “poker ambassador” and “No Limit Hold’em legend,” Addington was a very successful and consistent winner in high-stakes games. From 1963 until his retirement in the mid-80s, he went up against the biggest names in poker and is considered one of the greatest players in the game’s history. T.J. Cloutier, 2006: Thomas James “T.J.” Cloutier, formerly a pro in the Canadian Football League, is a tournament specialist, notably No Limit and Pot Limit Hold’em. He is also the only player to have won bracelets in all three types of Omaha: Pot Limit High, Limit High and Limit 8-or-Better). He has finished fifth or better in four WSOP Main Events, including two seconds, in 1985 and 2000, when he lost on a bad beat to Chris Ferguson.Billy Baxter, 2006: One of the most consistent winners in WSOP history, Baxter has seven bracelets (all in lowball games), and at the time of his induction he trailed only Moss, Hellmuth, Chan and Brunson. Baxter is also famous for staking Stu Ungar from 1990 on. Phil Hellmuth Jr., 2007: The “Poker Brat” has gained unequaled renown in the poker world for winning a record-setting 11 WSOP bracelets, for taking down the Main Event in 1989, for most WSOP cashes and for most WSOP final tables. He is perhaps equally renowned for his admittedly brattish personality at the poker table.Barbara Enright , 2007: A pioneer for women in poker, Enright is best known for being the only woman to have made the Main Event final table. In 1995 she finished fifth, suffering one of the worst beats in WSOP history when her pocket 8s were outdrawn by Brent Carter’s 6-3. She is also the first woman to win two ladies championships, the first to win a WSOP major open event (Pot Limit Hold’em, 1996), and the only woman to win a best all-around, in 2000 at the Bicycle Casino. Duane "Dewey" Tomko, 2008: Tomko is a former kindergarten teacher who decided that poker paid better than teaching, invested some of his winnings into businesses and turned pro. He is best known for finishing second in the WSOP Main Event to Jack Strauss in 1982 and to Carlos Mortensen in 2001. Tomko has played every WSOP Main Event since 1974, the longest active streak to date. Henry Orenstein, 2008: Orenstein is a Holocaust survivor who spent years in concentration camps. He later became a toymaker who helped Hasbro to start producing robot toy Transformers. Orenstein holds over 100 patents, notably one for the hole-card camera, a major factor in the poker explosion. He also holds a bracelet in $5,000 Seven Card Stud and has produced such poker shows as “High-Stakes Poker.”
Mike Sexton, 2009: Sexton, admiringly known as “The Ambassador of Poker,” was a star college gymnast, U.S. Army paratrooper, and ballroom dance teacher who moved to Vegas in 1985 to pursue poker. He was a cohort of Stu Ungar and speaker at his funeral. Though he has numerous WSOP cashes and a bracelet in Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, he is best known for his various promotional activities, notably as main narrator for the World Poker Tour and spokesperson for PartyPoker. Earlier, he founded the Tournament of Champions, open to anyone who had won a tournament the prior year. Sexton also won the third annual WSOP Tournament of Champions, worth $1 million. In 2006, at a Card Player gala, he was recognized as the “Top Poker Ambassador.”
Please feel free to join the process, by nominating your Poker Hall of Fame candidate HERE.