Chip Reese Rule Shuts Out One of Poker's Greats - For Now
Earlier today, the Poker Hall of Fame announced that the "Chip Reese rule" is now in place. This means that a player must be at least 40 years old to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
What this also means is that the debate around Phil Ivey's induction will be effectively shelved for the next five years.
To me, this is one of the biggest travesties in the history of the PHOF's existence.
Phil Ivey is clearly one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, poker player in history. He has been playing poker since before he was legally allowed to play in casinos and has been a consistent winner.
He currently ranks either 2nd or 3rd on Poker's All-Time Money list, depending on which you look at, and has 8 WSOP bracelets along with a WPT title.
We won't even go into the millions that he has won both in online poker and in live play. I don't see any other casino in Vegas creating a Doyle's Room or a Chip's Room.
The debate for the last few years has been whether he is old enough to be in the Hall of Fame. For some reason, it almost feels that players find it sacrilege to put anyone in before him.
I thought that the Poker Hall of Fame was supposed to be about recognizing the greatest poker players in history. Ivey clearly meets all of the criteria established in the guidelines.
Are things going to change so much for Ivey in five years that people are not going to vote for him? No. Ivey has shown no signs of slowing down. In fact, he looks more competitive than ever.
The only thing before today keeping Ivey out of the Hall was a preconceived notion that nobody can get in before Reese. It is not objective and is reminiscent of the type of "questionable selections" made in the Poker Hall of Fame's past.
Some of you will say that Ivey himself is in favor of not getting in before Chip. What else is he going to say?
If you are Kobe Bryant, are you going to say that you deserve to be in the Hall of Fame before Magic Johnson? Would Lou Gehrig have said that he deserved to be honored before Babe Ruth?
Of course not, because they know how much those players were beloved. At the same time, Ivey may indeed feel that way. I can respect that, but I still do not agree with it. Induction is supposed to be based on merit and meeting the Hall criteria.
While this rule is meant to honor one of the greatest in poker, it effectively shuts out another. This may only affect Phil Ivey at present, but very well may affect some of the up-and-coming greats in the future, and that is not good for poker.
One question that I will pose in closing is, if he were still alive today, what would Chip Reese say regarding not letting Ivey in before him? Would he have cared about his age or would he have looked at the accomplishments?