In case you missed it, nominations for the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame are now being accepted at WSOP.com. For those unfamiliar with the process, each year fans get to nominate one person that they feel should be enshrined for their body of work in poker.
Last year, Jennifer Harman and John Juanda were enshrined. This year, it is safe to say that Phil Ivey will easily be inducted into the Hall of Fame. In recent years, the Hall of Fame committee has selected two for induction.
That leaves the question, who will be the other player or contributor to be inducted. Today we are going to examine that question along with whether it is really still a slam-dunk that Phil Ivey gets in this year.
Is Ivey Still a Slam-Dunk First Time Inductee?
A couple of years ago, Daniel Negreanu was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame the first time that he appeared on the ballot. Most assume that Phil Ivey will follow in his footsteps and receive the same honor. Then again, some may argue whether Ivey is still deserving to be a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Personally, I believe that Ivey should have been inducted years ago. In fact, I believe he would have already been inducted back in 2011 or 2012 if not for the adoption of the Chip Reese rule that requires that potential nominees be at least 40 years of age.
I opposed this rule back when it was introduced and I still do. If you are as dominant a player as Ivey has been in his career, you should be allowed induction when your peers feel appropriate, not based on an arbitrary number. Yes, I know that Ivey did not oppose this rule and I applaud him for taking the high road.
Let’s go back to the original question. Is Phil Ivey still deserving of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer. If you’re a casual poker fan, you might argue that he isn’t because he hasn’t been featured in many final tables or posted many wins in the last few years.
However, you have to look at the quality of his wins versus the quantity. He won his 9th bracelet in 2013 and followed that up with his tenth in 2014. Ivey went 0 for 2015 at the WSOP but he skipped the majority of the series for other endeavors and high stakes cash games.
Next, let’s look at his stats since coming back from his yearlong hiatus in 2011. Since returning in 2012, he has posted just shy of $10 million in earnings – an average $2 million each year.
He won the $250k Challenge at Aussie Millions in 2012, 2014 and 2015 for over $7 million of that total. Over the last two years, Ivey have played a very limited schedule but still managed almost $2.4 million in earnings. He has a single cash in 2016, but that was for $656,500.
Ivey has been focusing less on tournaments and more in cash games and other ventures over the last couple of years. Even so, he is still pulling down more money than the majority of live poker pros. The Hall of Fame is all about lifetime performance, not about how many times you’ve been on TV. As such, he should still be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.
Related: 2016 is the Year of Phil Ivey
Who Should Join Ivey in the Hall? Moneymaker or Someone Else?
Only once since 2004 has the Hall of Fame committee failed to induct at least two new members. As such, it’s a safe bet two more will be inducted this year. The question is who will that other person be?
Personally, I wrote a piece a while back on how that Chris Moneymaker should be the other person inducted into the Hall in 2016. After all, how many of us would even care if not for the Poker Boom that came about after his win. While he wasn’t the only influence, he is largely credited for being the catalyst.
With that said, I can understand if many feel that he should be inducted in a later year or after several other more legitimate players have been enshrined. So that begs the question, if not Moneymaker, then who?
Expect another solid push for David “DevilFish” Ulliott this year. Just one year after his death, there are many that are going to want him inducted posthumously. His influence on the game of poker internationally some feel is greater than Moneymakers and the DevilFish was truly one of the first true characters of the poker world during its rise in the early 2000’s.
If you’re going to talk influences on the game internationally, then you have to include Bruno Fitoussi in the conversation. “The King” is not only an accomplished player but he is the person that introduced Texas Hold’em to France in the mid-1990s. Couple that with is how to grow the game in France, both at the table and in front of the camera, and one has to wonder why he hasn’t already been inducted.
One of the players most deserving of induction but still waiting for the call is Spain’s Carlos Mortensen. The 2001 WSOP Main Event Champion was considered the last “true pro” to win the Main Event before the explosion of the Poker Boom produced a long line of amateur champions.
Mortensen has two WSOP bracelets and three WPT titles. He ranks first all-time on the WPT for career earnings and is tied with Gus Hansen and Chino Rheem for most titles. His $11.9 million in career earnings has him 22nd All-Time and we should point out that his earnings are not skewed by a bunch of high roller results.
Some of you may have noticed that with the exception of Moneymaker, the majority of those mentioned are non-American players. Over the last couple of years, fans from all over the world are beginning to decree that the Poker Hall of Fame needs to do more to acknowledge the growth of poker worldwide and recognize those players and contributors that helped to grow the game. Poker is a global game and the Hall of Fame needs to reflect that fact.
Make Your Nomination Count – Vote Today!
If you’re ready to make your nomination for the 2016 Poker Hall of Fame, go to WSOP.com/pfhof to submit your ballot. Remember, those that you feel are deserving of induction need to meet the following criteria:
♠ A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
♠ Played for high stakes
♠ Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
♠ 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.
Also, please don’t let our words prevent you from voting for your favorite player. If they meet the criteria, vote for them. If you poll 10 different poker writers, you will probably get 10 different answers on who they feel should be inducted (or who should be inducted besides Ivey.)
Nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame Class of 2016 are now open. Register your nomination at https://t.co/tDm0FrhpuQ— WSOP (@WSOP) June 22, 2016
Your vote is important, so go over today and submit your ballot. Once the ballots are tabulated and verified, a list of finalists will be presented and subsequently forwarded to the Hall of Fame voting committee.