Why I Do Not Agree With Harrington's Hall of Fame Selection
Yesterday, I told you guys about the new nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame. I saved my opinions until today so to give them their moment as that moment is definitely earned. Now that we all have had a day to process, I will give my reasons that the fact that Dan Harrington got into the Hall before Phil Ivey is utter BS.
Reason #1. Player Superiority
Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that Phil Ivey is a superior player to Dan Harrington? He has more bracelets, won more money, and has been a high stakes phenomenon. One might point out that Harrington has more WSOP Main Event final tables than Ivey. Granted, I will give Harrington that. His record in the Main Event, especially in 2003 and 2004 is definitely hall worthy, but what else has he done outside of NL. Hear those crickets chirping?
Based on solely his career as a player, did Harrington deserve to be in the Hall of Fame? That is debatable to some. A lot of his career in many people's minds is based on, in all honesty, four poker tournaments. You take away his Main Event win, the 2003 and 2004 final table, and then his WPT win, what do you have? A player with 1 career bracelet and a WPT runner-up finish as his really only significant poker accomplishment. Take away Ivey's four best finishes money finishes, and you still have someone with 7 bracelets and around $9 Million in winnings. And then consider his high stakes play without even considering his online high stakes play, and Ivey easily stands out.
My view on the Poker Hall of Fame is as follows. Players who are primarily players and who are not getting consideration for other poker related matters should be in first. Clearly, Dan got points for his books, and rightly so. However, I don't feel he deserved to be put in first. Harrington was about half way down my personal list and should have been voted in around 2013 in my opinion.
Reason #2 So Called "Chip Reese" Rule
The "Chip Reese" rule keeps being brought up as a reason for not inducting Ivey. They keep saying that he isn't old enough and that in a few years he will have aged his way in. What kind of crap is that. Will he be any more deserving in five years than he is now? No. The Poker Hall of Fame should be based on MERIT, not on whether you think he is old enough. If he was Tom Dwan's age, that would be one thing because he would not have the track record. Ivey could never play another hand of poker and will go down as one of, if not the greatest ever.
Now, I realize that Ivey campaigned against himself. Some say he did it out of respect for the game etc. Had he said he did it out of respect for Chip or something like that, I couldn't fault him there, but I don't see how this honors the game. The best player alive is being held out of the hall due to his age?
What Needs to Be Done
The Poker Hall of Fame should consider changing the way that players are nominated and voted upon. First, do away with this popularity contest for the nominations and form a balanced committee of pros, media, and poker officials to comprise this panel. Next, consider forming some type of committee equal to the veterans committee in baseball and let them decide on non-player or player hybrid nominees. Next, either put this so-called Chip Reese rule in writing or do away using it to justify holding someone out that clearly deserves to be in.
Finally, I want to say something about all of these people that are speaking out against players like Men Nguyen and Scotty Nguyen. You are looking at their accomplishments and withholding voting on those accomplishments due to either something that was not done during the game or allegations that may or may not have been proven. People keep pointing to Men Nguyen being a cheat. All I have to say is, final three of the 1972 WSOP Main Event. Cheating has been a part of poker. Where is the body of evidence proving his cheating and if he has cheated so much, why aren't we treating him like Russ Hamilton? And regarding Scotty, if we are going to not vote him in due to his behavior, don't we have to hold other players to that standard? Phil? Mike? Daniel? Bonomo?
In closing, I would like to point out that while this seems like a rant about Ivey not getting in, he is just the easiest to argue for. Personally, I had Ivey, Seidel, and Greenstein as my top three. Had Greenstein been voted in over Ivey, I still would have thought that Ivey deserved it more, but I could not fault that choice the same as I do the Harrington over Ivey choice. I do think that the overall process is better than the process in the past, but with that being said, it needs improvement.