Nominations are currently being accepted for the 2015 class of the Poker Hall of Fame. Players can submit the name of the player they feel best fits the Hall of Fame criteria. Controversy recently arose over whether PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg should be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
While it is unlikely that Scheinberg will be inducted due to lingering legal matters from Black Friday, there are other players and contributors that deserve enshrinement but may not receive nominations for various reasons. Below are nine people we believe should be in the Poker Hall of Fame.
There are many that believe Jennifer Harman should already be in the Poker Hall of Fame. Here’s a brief rundown of her career:
- $2.7 million in career earnings
- Two open-field WSOP bracelets
- Two WPT final tables
- The only woman to consistently play high stakes in Bobby’s Room for years
- Member of “The Corporation”
Harman is considered to be one of the primary influences on many modern day female poker players. Presently there are only two women in the Poker Hall of Fame and Harman certainly qualifies to become #3. In fact, some may argue that she is one of the few candidates annually that actually meets the HOF guidelines for enshrinement.
French poker players view Bruno Fitoussi as their Godfather of Poker. Fitoussi was the man to introduce Texas Hold’em to France in 1995 and worked tirelessly to grow the game over the years.
Fitoussi was the man responsible for getting poker on television in France and soon became the face of French poker TV as both a player and commentator. He is the ultimate ambassador for the game for French players.
Fitoussi fits into the Poker Hall of Fame more as a player-contributor due to his impressive poker resume. Here’s a quick rundown of his poker career:
- $2.79 million in tournament earnings
- Five WSOP final tables
- Runner-up in 2007 WSOP $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event ($1.27 million)
- Eight place in 2012 WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship
Player-contributors such as Tom McEvoy and Linda Johnson have been enshrined in the past, so it makes sense that Fitoussi should get the nod in the near future.
There are few players currently in the Hall of Fame with better tournament stats than Carlos Mortensen.
- $11.91 million in tournament earnings
- Two WSOP bracelets
- 2001 WSOP Main Event Champion
- Three-time WPT Champion
- Six WPT final tables
Mortensen is the last big name pro to win the Main Event prior to the Poker Boom. Up until recently, the majority of Main Event winners since the Boom have been amateurs or up and coming pros.
The main knock on Mortensen has been the lack of action given by him in the cash game arena. However, with the poker world now dominated by tournaments and tournament pros, Mortensen’s career should be worthy of enshrinement.
Casual or “TV poker fans” will probably not know Chris Bjorin but most of the big name players know him well. The Swedish pro is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner with over $5.55 million in tournament earnings.
His tournament resume dates back to the late 1980s and includes final tables at venues all over the world. Bjorin has kept a very low profile since the Poker Boom but has been a model of consistency throughout his career.
Since the Poker Boom in 2003, Bjorin has averaged over $250,000 a year in earnings. In 2014, he was forced to step away from the game due to health reasons but returned with a vengeance at the 2015 WSOP. He cashed six times including a deep run in the Main Event.
Bjorin is one of the nicest players you will meet in the game and always a gentleman whether he’s winning or losing. His consistent performance over the years deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
The average poker fan will not have heard of John Duthie but many are familiar with the tour he founded. John Duthie and PokerStars created the European Poker Tour in 2004 and Duthie served as the CEO of the tour until 2012.
Some contend that the EPT is the second most prestigious poker tour in the world outside of the WSOP. Duthie was instrumental in growing the tour during his eight years as CEO and executive producer of EPT TV productions.
If Duthie is ever enshrined, it would be as a contributor but we cannot overlook his career as a player. He has $2.79 million in career earnings that includes a victory in the 2000 Poker Million. Duthie also finished runner-up in the $10k Heads-Up Championship at the 2009 WSOP.
David Sklansky and Mike Caro
It is amazing that neither David Sklansky nor Mike Caro have been enshrined into the Poker Hall of Fame. No, neither player has won “life changing” money playing the game but both have been instrumental in educating players and growing the game for decades.
Sklansky is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and author of 13 books on gambling and poker. His Theory of Poker is still considered a must-read for any player wanting to improve their poker psychology.
Caro has authored over a dozen books on poker and contributed to Super System. He also helped develop Poker Probe, the first commercial PC program used to analyze poker. Caro was also one of the early proponents of online poker and believed that the game would explode when others did not.
Neither has been enshrined because their playing days were before the Poker Boom and they don’t have sexy poker stats to back up their books. That doesn’t mean they should not be enshrined as contributors and each year they are not does an injustice to the game and to the Poker Hall of Fame.
Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
While it may seem strange to see the broadcast team of ESPN’s World Series of Poker listed on a Hall of Fame candidate list, it is actually fitting considering the modern era of the game.
How many poker players discovered the game through ESPN’s broadcasts of the World Series of Poker. Every time you watch an episode, you hear the voices of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.
While neither qualifies for their ability at the poker table, one could argue that they have been instrumental in influencing the modern generation of poker. How many poker players took up the game in hopes of having their game broadcast by this trio or hoping to become one of Norman Chad’s bad jokes?
McEachern and Chad contributed to the growth of poker and televised poker through their dedication to the WSOP brand. Both should be honored at some point as contributors.