Daniel Negreanu has made the short list for the Poker Hall of Fame (PHOF), but the outspoken pro has an axe to grind with how the entire process is determined. Negreanu says the criteria used to select nominees is outdated, and should be strictly reflective of a player’s skills at the felt, not their likeability, niceness, or even irascibility factor.
The popular player, who himself just hit the minimum age of 40 this year, noted his criticisms of the process in his latest blog post on his own website.
The Poker Hall of Fame has started receiving a lot more attention from fans, players and poker media in the last few years. Fans are now a major part of the nomination process, and there’s plenty of spirited debate over who should be in and who doesn’t deserve to make the cut. And each year, there are 10 finalists who are nominated for one of the greatest honors in the poker world.
This year’s finalists for the PHOF were announced by the World Series of Poker last week, and include some of the world’s most famous players, a few lesser-known names, and one of the most prominent tournament directors in the industry. The list is the result of a nominations process that saw fans submit ideas as to who should get a shot at a Hall of Fame induction, followed by a vetting process by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council to come down with the final list.
Five New Nominees Join Five Returning to the Ballot
This year’s list of nominees features an even mix of returning names and those new to the process. Five players are holdovers from last year’s ballot: Chris Bjorin, Humberto Brenes, Jen Harman, Mike Matusow and Huck Seed, all of whom will be hoping to take the final step and earn induction into the Hall of Fame this year.
But among the five new names on the list, one name has gathered the most attention: Daniel Negreanu. The Canadian poker superstar certainly has everything you could ask for in a Hall of Fame resume, from a consistent level of success in high-stakes cash games to a wealth of tournament accolades. He’s a six-time bracelet winner who has won two WSOP Player of the Year awards and leads the all-time live tournament money list. Considering he’s also a popular figure who has done plenty to grow the game of poker, Negreanu seems like a clear favorite to be inducted.
Ted Forrest is also new to the list of finalists, and is nearly as accomplished as Negreanu. Forrest is another six-time WSOP bracelet winner, but may be best known to many poker fans for winning the 2006 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He boasts $6.2 million in lifetime tournament earnings, but also spent a good part of his career as a cash game specialist.
McClelland is Only Non-Player on Ballot
There is only one non-player on the list this year: tournament director Jack McClelland, who was influential in the spread of tournament poker from the 1980’s through his retirement in 2013. 1975 WSOP Main Event runner-up Bob Hooks and French poker pro Bruno Fitoussi are also among the ten finalists.
Daniel Negreanu posted a reaction to the list of nominees, pointing out that several players he thought should be considered did not make the list.
“Too many to mention, but a few highlights would include players like Gus Hansen, John Juanda, and Carlos Mortensen,” Negreanu wrote. “Regardless, any list will always be open to scrutiny and second guessing, but it is surprising to see these names not on the ballot in 2014.”
The nominees will now be voted on by the 21 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame, as well as a 20-member media panel. Up to two players may earn induction, with the inductees being announced during the final table of the WSOP Main Event this November.