On Tuesday, Caesars officials announced the 10 finalists for this year’s Poker Hall of Fameclass. There are four newcomers to this year’s ballot: Italian poker ambassador Max Pescatori, Irish Open founder Terry Rogers, highly influential tournament director Matt Savage, and longtime British poker player David “Devilfish” Ulliott (pictured).
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Ulliott passed away in Aprilafter a battle with colon cancer and, almost immediately, players from around the world began clamoring for him to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, either through the traditional process or via a special exemption. Ulliott appears like a strong candidate regardless and should have plenty of support among voters.
Three players who appeared on last year’s ballot but were not inducted are back in the top 10 this time around: Chris Bjorin, Bruno Fitoussi, and Jennifer Harman. Bjorin and Harman have now been finalists for four consecutive years, but have not yet been inducted. They’ll join three finalists from previous years to round out the final 10: David Chiu, John Juanda, and Carlos Mortensen.
The fate of the 10 finalists is now up to the 23 living Hall of Fame members and a 16-person media panel, who will together determine up to two inductees. The induction ceremony will take place during the November Nine weekend in Las Vegas.
As a reminder, in order to be considered for the Poker Hall of Fame, a player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition, be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of nomination, played for high stakes, played consistently well, gained the respect of peers, and stood the test of time.
Non-players like Savage (pictured) can get in as long as they have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker with indelible positive and lasting results.
Daniel Negreanu and Jack McClelland were inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2014, bringing the total number of members to 48. Here’s a look at the existing Poker Hall of Famers:
Brian “Sailor” Roberts
Duane “Dewey” Tomko
Stu “The Kid” Ungar
Julius Oral “Little Man” Popwell
Thomas Austin “Amarillo Slim” Preston
David “Chip” Reese
Fred “Sarge” Ferris
Jack “Treetop” Straus
Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson
T “Blondie” Forbes
Nick “The Greek” Dandolos
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok
Felton “Corky” McCorquodale
In the past, the voting panel has received 10 votes each that they can allocate however they see fit (i.e. all 10 votes for one person or six for one person and four for someone else). The top two vote-getters have typically been inducted in recent years. Ballots are submitted electronically and voters are free to discuss who they backed if they’d like to. This author has been on the voting panel for the past several years.
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