Poker legends Jennifer Harman and Scotty Nguyen have achieved a great deal of success in their poker careers. Now, they’re about to get the ultimate validation from their peers after the two, together with other poker pros, have been named as finalists for the 2012 Poker Hall of Fame, as announced by the World Series of Poker.
Both Harman and Nguyen, together with John Juanda and Tom McEvoy, are actually previously nominated candidates. The quarter are then joined by six first-time nominees that include Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Eric Drache, Thor Hansen, George Hardle, and Brian “Sailor” Roberts. While being named a finalist doesn’t automatically mean immediate induction to the Poker Hall, Harman and Nguyen have the resume and the qualifications that certainly bears serious merit.
In any event, the 10 finalists, all of whom made the cut by passing a public nomination process on WSOP.com and getting their nominations approved by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, and their candidacy will now fall under the scrutiny of a panel that includes the 18 living Hall of Famers and 18 members of the poker media, all of whom will decide on who gets inducted based on the following criteria:
First, the player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition; second, the player must be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of nomination; third, the player must have played for high stakes; fourth, the player must have played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers; and fifth, the player must have stood the test of time.
In the case of a non-player finalist, he or she must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.
The panel will have until September 30 to decide which of the finalists will be inducted into the Poker Hall and up to two of the 10 will be inducted into this year’s class when the 2012 WSOP Main Event reconvenes this October.
Understandably, picking from these 10 finalists is like picking which of your heroes you admire the most. Not exactly an easy task. But if you ask us to pick the two we believe should be inducted, we’re going to go with Scotty Nguyen and the late Brian “Sailor” Roberts.
Nguyen is a pretty easy choice considering the impeccable poker track record that includes $11.6 million in career earnings, 19 WSOP and 8 WPT final tables and five WSOP bracelets. The man’s also one of the most beloved and charismatic players on the circuit, earning his nickname of “The Prince” with the flamboyance and panache that only he can exude.
“Sailor” Roberts’ induction to the Poker Hall is long overdue, especially when two-thirds of the legendary “Texas Rounders” – Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim – have been members of the Hall since 1988 and 1992, respectively. The late Roberts, he passed on in 1995, may not have the resume of Brunson and Slim, but he does have a number of titles under his belt, highlighted by a WSOP Main Event title in 1975. It’s about time somebody gives “Sailor” Roberts the honor and recognition he richly deserves.