By Jason Lake
Last month, Jennifer Harman and John Juanda were enshrined in the Poker Hall of Fame. The accolade is well-deserved for both players. Harman was one of the leading figures in poker just before the Moneymaker boom, and Juanda has five World Series of Poker bracelets in five different games, from no-limit Hold 'em to A-5 triple draw. Their pictures definitely belong up on the wall next to the likes of Doyle Brunson and Johnny Moss.
So who should go into the Hall of Fame next? As of 2009, public nominations are part of the process, so consider this my nomination for any two of the following three players to join the 50 who are already in the Hall. Before we get started, a quick brush-up on the requirements, as per the organizers at the WSOP.
A player must have:
- Played poker against acknowledged top competition
- Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
- Played for high stakes
- Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
- Stood the test of time
- Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.
And now, the nominees:
If Ivey isn't put in the Hall of Fame next year, I'll eat a bug. He is the end boss of poker, the consensus No. 1 player in the world. Ivey has 10 WSOP bracelets, a WPT title, and the adoration of millions of poker fans. He plays the highest stakes all around the world, he's been on all the major television shows – it's a lock.
Mortensen is 43 years old now; he didn't quite make the cut last year, but we wouldn't be surprised if 2016 is his year. The Ecuador native won the 2001 WSOP Main Event, as well as three WPT titles and nearly $12 million in live tournament earnings. But it's entirely possible, maybe even probable, that Mortensen will have to wait one more year before being inducted.
How can you not put Chris Moneymaker in the Hall of Fame? This will be his first year of eligibility, and we might not even be here talking about poker today if Moneymaker hadn't won the 2003 WSOP Main Event. He's taken a lot of flak over the past decade for not being as good a poker player as some of the top pros, but this is the Hall of Fame, and Chris Moneymaker is the most famous poker player in the world. Okay, unless you count Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. They can get voted in later.