The Poker Hall of Fame, owned by Caesars Entertainment and affiliated with the World Series of Poker, has opened its public nomination process, the first stage in the enshrinement of one or two individuals in the PHOF ranks this fall.
The World Series of Poker has announced that public nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 enshrinement class of the Poker Hall of Fame. The Poker Hall of Fame, or PHOF for short, annually honors one or two luminaries from the world of poker.
To date, 54 individuals from the game, largely star players and industry executives, have been added to the PHOF, which was founded back in 1979. Last year, two famed players, Phil Ivey and the late David “Devilfish” Ulliott, received the prestigious honor.
No clear-cut favorite
The 2018 enshrinement process promises a wide-open assortment of possible enshrinements. There’s no heavy inside favorite, as happened in 2017, when Ivey, one of the game’s most prominent stars, reached the age of 40, the minimum required for consideration.
Several prominent players and a couple of industry executives have made the list of 10 finalists in recent years, a possible indication of where the PHOF will find this year’s honorees. Famed World Poker Tour tournament director Matt Savage has made the finalists’ list each of the past three years and, given that the PHOF’s election committee hasn’t chosen a non-player in several years, it might be Savage’s turn.
While other industry execs are also worthy nominees, several prominent pros also figure to be high on the list for consideration. Among those who have already been finalists multiple times over the past five years are Huckleberry “Huck” Seed, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Thor Hanson, Max Pescatori, Bruno Fitoussi, David Chiu, Chris Bjorin, and Humberto Brenes. Other prominent pros, such as Chris Moneymaker and Eli Elezra, have also been recent finalists and will receive significant support in 2018.
Hanson, Fitoussi, and Bjorin have been perennial representatives of poker’s European contingent, which arguably has been underrepresented in the PHOF’s 54-member ranks. That situation was alleviated somewhat by the elections of Carlos Mortensen and the late Ulliott in recent years, yet support continues to grow for more global presence in the PHOF’s ranks.
The PHOF landing page at the World Series of Poker’s home domain allows anyone to nominate one or more worthy individuals for possible consideration. Online nominations can only be done once per e-mail address to limit the possibility of virtual ballot-box stuffing, at least during the nominating phase.
From there, the leading nominees are reviewed by the PHOF’s Governing Council to assure compliance with election requirements, though the minimum age of 40 is the only true absolute. The Governing Council also inserts one or two worthy industry execs, as the nominating process often serves up only popular players.
From there, and once the official list of 10 finalists is announced, an Election Committee makes the final choices. That committee consists of the 25 living members of the PHOF and a “blue ribbon” media group of about 20 veteran scribes and publishers. Each voter receives ten votes to distribute among the finalists.
All that leads up to the naming of the year’s honorees. Usually two are added each year. The election occurs in September and the honorees are feted later in the fall.