On Friday, the 2016 class for the Women in Poker Hall of Fame was announced. Debbie Burkhead and Victoria Coren Mitchell become the 18th and 19th inductees into this historic organization.
The WIPHOF recognizes outstanding female players and poker industry professionals. Since 2008, the organization has recognized the all-time greats of women’s poker along with industry professionals that helped pave the way for the women presently playing poker around the world.
Burkhead An Old School Pro Finally Receiving the Recognition She Deserves
When I saw Debbie Burkhead’s name on the list of inductees, all that I could say is “it’s about time.” Most of you probably have never heard of Debbie Burkhead but she has been part of the poker community since the early 1990’s.
She has served as both a player and journalists and is probably one of the best Seven Card Stud players in the game. She had a popular column called “Debbie Does Poker” in Poker Player Newspaper for a decade and is a co-founder of Poker Player Cruises.
Burkhead has diligently worked as an advocate of women’s poker for decades, largely behind the scenes or with very little fanfare. It is great to see her get the fanfare she deserves.
Coren Mitchell Was a No-Brainer Based on Accomplishments
I don’t think there is anyone that is shocked that Victoria Coren Mitchell received the nod this year. She easily outpaces the rest of the field in terms of on-felt performance with over $2 million in tournament earnings.
The WIPHOF is all about making history and Coren Mitchell did just that after becoming the first woman to win a European Poker Tour (EPT) title and then becoming the only person in history to win two EPT titles.
That accomplishment alone may have been enough to get her inducted but she is also a well-known broadcaster and poker author who has inspired a generation of female poker players.
More importantly, she becomes the first HOF inductee from the UK. It is great to see the WIPHOF become inclusive and start recognizing international players for their achievements. Now if we can get the Caesars version of the HOF to do the same.
I'm sitting down to play EPT Monte Carlo – my first EPT for 18 months. After that kind of gap, frankly, I'd be embarrassed not to win it.— Victoria Coren M. (@VictoriaCoren) April 30, 2016
There Were Enough Finalists that Three or Four Could Have Been Inducted
I am a bit surprised that the WIPHOF didn’t decide to induct more than two women this year, especially considering the number of women that will become eligible in upcoming years.
They could have easily inducted three or four this year and still had plenty of options for 2018. There are plenty of “big names” out there to keep fans interested in the product.
Just off the top of my head, I know that Maria Ho, Vanessa Rousso and Kara Scott will all be eligible in 2018, so there will be plenty of women to induct in the future.
Maybe it is Time to Go Back to Annual Inductions?
From 2008 until 2012, the WIPHOF held annual inductions. They then switched over to a two-year induction cycle. While that may have served a purpose when instituted, it might be time to reevaluate the frequency they induct new members.
Every finalist this year was worthy of induction into the WIPHOF and only two out of seven were inducted. There were other players that I pointed out earlier this year that could have been finalist that were not.
By the time 2018 rolls around, there may be as many as 15 women that are worthy of induction. At the rate, the WIPHOF is currently inducting members, they will never catch up.
Maybe it is time to go back to annual inductions, especially if they choose to stick with only inducting two a year.
Combine the women that presently have the resume for induction with those that will become eligible over the next couple of years, you could have annual inductions for the next decade and still have quality inductees every year.
I would love to see the WIPHOF become not just the premier organization that recognizes women in poker but also as a stepping-stone for the Professional Poker Hall of Fame.
Three of the inductees in the WIPHOF have gone on to be enshrined in the Caesar’s version and this is a trend I hope to see continue into the future.
Tickets for the Induction Ceremony Are Now Available
If you want to see the 2016 WIPHOF Induction Ceremony, tickets are now available online. The ceremony will be July 6 at 11 AM at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas. Jan Fisher will serve as Master of Ceremony and Maria Ho will present the keynote address.
If you want to attend both the ceremony and the luncheon, tickets are $45 or $90 for two. If you want to just attend the induction ceremony, limited seating is available for $25. Tickets are available at the door for $50 each but seating is “very limited.”