5 Reasons Poker HOF Needs Veterans Committee
While all are completely deserving, some players or contributors do get in over more deserving candidates.
PokerJunkie blogger Compncards has advocated for a Veterans committee for the for the Poker Hall of Fame and below are his five reasons why:
1. Most Fans are not Educated on Poker History
If you went up to the average poker fan and asked him why the Super Seniors final table was so stacked, he would look at you as if you're an alien.
The reason is that most players have never heard of Perry Green, Rod Pardey, Hippie Jon Andlovec or probably 1,545 of the 1,553 players in the event.
Like the average American players don't know their history and this leaves some well-deserving candidates out of consideration for the Hall of Fame.
I'm not saying to induct every big name old-school gambler from the pre-Boom era, but every 2-3 years maybe induct a couple of influential players from the past.
Get the historians and older players together and talk about the past and find out who is missing among the enshrined and get them in there.
2. Nominees Too Dependant on Fan Voting
My biggest gripe about the current nomination process is that the majority of the finalists are selected by popular vote from the fans.
By and large this means that you will have well known "celebrity pros" and pros that have recently come into the public eye.
For example, the only time that Carlos Mortensen has been on the list of finalists is in 2013 when he near-missed the WSOP Main Event final. He wasn't on the list last year.
As long as the fans control the majority of process for nominating finalists, this cycle of "popular picks" will continue.
3. Vote in the Contributors via the Veterans Committee
I have no problem whatsoever voting contributors into the Poker Hall of Fame, but the primary voting should be for players who earned entry based on their playing careers.
In recent years we have had several player-contributors nominated. Players such as Tom McEvoy and Linda Johnson who may not have done enough based on their on-felt career.
However, if you consider their body of work on and off the felt, they certainly deserve induction. With that said their spots should have gone to a player first.
A veterans committee would allow candidates like Johnson and McEvoy to be inducted without taking a spot for players such as Jennifer Harman, Carlos Mortensen, Chris Bjorin and John Juanda.
4. Proper Weight Can Be Given to Careers
Something that will need to be addressed by the Hall of Fame in upcoming years is qualifications based on tournament performance. The era of the best players also being dominant at high-stakes cash games is dying.
Say what you will, many of the best players are chasing tournament glory over cash-game glory. There are few that would agree that Phil Hellmuth plays consistently well at high stakes but nobody would doubt he is among the greatest tournament players ever.
The Veterans Committee is needed to give appropriate weight to careers from the past and maybe even some modern-day careers that are overlooked because they aren't consistently winning tournaments.
Should a dominant cash-game player from the 50s through 80s be left out because he came along before tournament poker became popular?
Should someone with $6 million plus in career earnings be left out because he or she chooses not to play in Bobby's Room or the nosebleed's online?
5. Time to Start Recognizing International Players
If you look at the Poker Hall of Fame you will see that it is very American, but the game is hardly an "American" game anymore.
A veterans committee could start filling in some of the gaps from past decades and include players from outside the United States that were influential in growing the game globally.
Maybe even have an International Wing of the veterans committee that meets every couple of years or so to induct international players from the past and current players that just aren't getting the proper press.
Chris Bjorin, Bruno Fitoussi, Gary Benson, Dave "DevilFish" Ulliott and Mel Judah are some modern-day players that come to mind. There are many more players that poker historians can name that deserve enshrinement.