Poker Hall of Fame Candidates Named
The nominees for the 2012 Poker Hall of Fame were released on Wednesday with several expected nominees and a few that many may have never heard of.
Poker Junkie blogger Compncards gives his opinion on the 2012 class and speculates on whether sentiment could tarnish what should be a long-deserved induction.
Harman, Juanda, Bjorin Highlight One of Strongest Classes in History
I must admit that I had two reactions when I read the list of nominees.
The first was "wow, that's a solid class" and the other I will talk about later.
Look at the list of names on this list:
- Chris Björin
- Thor Hansen
- Jennifer Harman-Traniello
- John Juanda
- Scotty Nguyen
- David Chiu
- Sailor Roberts
- Eric Drache
- Tom McEvoy
- George Handie
I've personally either played with or covered each of the players on the list and every person is deserving of nomination, even George Handie.
Björin and Hansen have been overlooked for many years by casual fans because they do not get a lot of TV time but anyone that knows poker or has played at the WSOP knows both of these players well.
Drache and Handie may be more known for their work in the poker industry than their play at the table but Drache is quite the accomplished player.
The only real "weak spots" are anything but.
Anyone that has taken up poker has probably read or at least heard of Tom McEvoy's books. In addition, he was quite the accomplished poker player pre-poker boom.
George Handie is well known in the industry and while I have not had a ton of personal experience with him, I know a lot of people that have been directly influenced by him in the industry.
Was Thor Hansen Nomination a Sympathy Vote?
My other reaction when reading the list of nominations, while unfortunate, was brutally honest.
Was Thor Hansen's nomination this year based on his successful poker career or because he is dying of terminal cancer?
The last couple of years, Hansen has not even been nominated and this year he happens to get the nod.
While I am happy to see him on the list, and he is clearly well deserving, would it have happened if he had not been diagnosed?
If you are looking for a player who has not only excelled in the game, but has also had a significant impact on the game globally, you can do no worse than Hansen.
The "Godfather of Norwegian Poker" is Norway's equivalent of Doyle Brunson and has had a successful career that has included over $2.9 Million in career earnings.
While I will be happy to see him get into the Hall of Fame, I would have much rather seen him get in before now so that there is no question as to its legitimacy.
Will Harman-Traniello Be the Odd Woman Out?
A few weeks ago, I pegged Jennifer Harman-Traniello to be the next player inducted into the Professional Poker Hall of Fame. It looks like that circumstances could force her into waiting another year.
Even with my questions on voter intentions, I now see Thor Hansen being inducted this year over Harman. It will be a nice sentiment by the poker world to induct Hansen while he can still enjoy it.
I'm still sticking with Tom McEvoy as being inducted as a player/contributor. With that said, Doyle Brunson is campaigning pretty hard to have Sailor Roberts inducted.
Unless you were involved in poker back in the old school days, you've only heard stories about Roberts.
He won two WSOP bracelets, including the 1975 WSOP Main Event. Brunson called him the best all-around player he has ever seen outside of Chip Reese.
Doyle's pull and influence could put Roberts over the top this year, but I just don't see it. Right now I'm sticking with Thor Hansen and Tom McEvoy as your 2012 Hall of Fame inductees.
The list of finalists will now be forwarded to the Hall of Fame voting committee who will have until the end of this month to make their selections.
As long as there is a majority, the two receiving the most votes will be inducted during the 2012 Octo-Nine final table next month.