5 Players That Have to Be Considered for Poker Hall of Fame
Every year, popular players tend to dominate the final list of nominees regardless of whether they are deserving or not.
Today we look past the popular picks and consider players that have truly excelled in professional poker or have helped it grow worldwide.
1. Maurie Pears
If you're from Australia, odds are you know Maurie "The Master" Pears or at least his body of work. Most consider Pears Australia's Godfather of Poker thanks to his promotion of the game over the decades.
In 2003 Pears started PokerNetwork.com and over the next three years developed the site into the top poker information site in Australia.
The site was instrumental in reporting on live and online poker events throughout Australia.
In 2006 Pears sold the site to PokerNews but stayed on as a consultant. Pears was largely responsible for much of the early growth of the game as well as early poker publications in Australia
In 2009 Pears decided it was time to create Australia's own Poker Hall of Fame. He not only created it but also served as its chair.
Pears didn't have the great poker stats that one would associate with a Hall of Fame players, so Pears would fit under the category of contributor. His contributions to the game helped grow poker throughout Australia and make it one of the world's hotbeds for the game.
2. Jennifer Harman
A player that should already be in the Hall of Fame Jennifer Harman is probably the best eligible female player not already enshrined.
Two WSOP bracelets, $2.7 million in career earnings and multiple WPT final-table appearances should be more than enough to get her in.
However, Harman is also one of the top high-stakes cash-game players in the world. She is the only woman to have regularly played in Bobby's Room and was part of the famed Corporation that took on Andy Beal.
Barbara Enright and Linda Johnson were the first two women to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and frankly didn't have the same qualifications. Harman should be inducted sooner rather than later.
3. Men Nguyen
This isn't going to be a popular choice among old school pros but Men "The Master" Nguyen is another player deserving of Hall of Fame induction.
Nguyen has $10.5 million in career earnings, seven WSOP bracelets and tournament earnings dating back to the late 1980s. The one thing that has held Nguyen back is his questionable past.
Nguyen has been accused of being a cheater in the past and certain tournament rules are rumored to have been created due to his antics.
However, during the poker boom there have been no reports of shenanigans by Nguyen and he continues to post solid numbers.
The fact is that Nguyen hasn't been banned from poker nor any true evidence been revealed about his "colorful past." Short of producing said evidence, his career should be considered based on merit and a spot awarded.
4. Bruno Fitoussi
If you're a French poker player then you owe Bruno Fitoussi a debt of gratitude.
In 1995 Fitoussi introduced the game of Texas Hold'em to the Aviation Club de France in Paris and was instrumental in getting the game on television in France.
After getting the game on TV Fitoussi continued to work to expand the game by playing, commentating or doing whatever was needed.
Let's also not forget that Fitoussi can actually play poker. He has over $2.79 million in career earnings and finished runner-up in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event at the 2007 WSOP.
Fitoussi would be more of a player-contributor but certainly has the pedigree of other player-contributors like Tom McEvoy and Linda Johnson.
5. Miami John Cernuto
The casual poker fan may not recognize the name "Miami" John Cernuto but most anyone in the poker community has heard of him or played with him.
Cernuto has been a veteran of the poker world since the middle 1980's and is one of the most consistent players in the game.
Cernuto has $5.5 million in career tournament earnings as well as three WSOP bracelets. Although recognized as an Omaha Hi-Lo specialists, he plays all games well.
Miami John has over 50 career first-place finishes on his resume. In 1999 Cernuto did the unthinkable by winning four tournaments during Legends of Poker.
Over his career he has performed well at every venue imaginable in the United States and has finished with six-figures in earnings in 20 out of his 28 year career.
The Poker Hall of Fame is supposed to award consistency against top talent in the game. There are few players that have showed the consistency that Miami John Cernuto has over the last three decades.