Posts Tagged ‘Fame’

Women in Poker Hall of Fame Voting – One Writer’s Opinion

 Women in Poker Hall of Fame Voting – One Writer’s Opinion

After a month of nominations from the poker community and a couple of weeks of review by the Nomination Committee, the Women in Poker Hall of Fame has put together an outstanding list of nominees for induction this year. The 11 nominees run the gamut of the poker world, from working behind the scenes as important cogs in the machine to being some of the most visible performers on the grandest stages. Unfortunately (at least at this point), they cannot all go in, with the responsibilities of selecting the inductees on a select panel of past inductees and media members – including this writer’s opinion.

Having a vote on anything as important as a Hall of Fame is a badge of honor. In essence, you are structuring how the history of (in this case) women in poker will be remembered. It is something that should not be taken lightly and, as such, I’ve been studying the nominees extensively to determine how my votes would be distributed.

As pointed out by my friend and colleague Dan Katz last week (who deserves a vote here also – we’ll work on that for 2020, Dan!), each of the panelists on the WiPHoF panel have ten votes they can hand out. They can give them all to one person or break them up however they would like (no, Dan, I won’t give each nominee a vote – that WOULD be wishy-washy!). With these criteria in mind, I set back to learn about the nominees (in alphabetical order):

Hermance Blum
Mandy Glogow
Haley Hintze
Angelica Hael
Maria Ho
Karina Jett
Terry King
Shirley Rosario
Kara Scott
Lupe Soto
Jennifer Tilley

As you can see from the list, this is not an easy decision. Any of these ladies would be a fine addition to sit beside such legends of the game as Barbara Enright, Jennifer Harman, Linda Johnson or Cyndy Violette (and that’s just a short list). But the voter must do the unfortunate task – choose the inductees – and I’ve decided to look at my votes in the following manner.

Hermance Blum, Mandy Glogow and Angelica Hael – These ladies have been instrumental in bringing poker “to the people” with their work behind the scenes on the World Poker Tour and with PokerStars. But all three of these women are young and, in this writer’s opinion, they haven’t yet achieved their “pinnacle of greatness.” I see these three women at some time making their way into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, just not in this year’s election.

Maria Ho and Kara Scott – Once again, we have two great professional poker players who are still in the midst of their highly successful careers. To say that either Ho or Scott have achieved all they will ever achieve in the world of poker (and let’s be clear here – this isn’t a slight to these women, just as it isn’t a slight to those ladies who are further down this list that have a bit more “experience” on their resumes) is doubting their skills and experience in the game. Once again, I see these two women definitely making the Hall, just not this year.

Lupe Soto and Jennifer Tilly – I will make this statement here and now – I believe that these two women will be inducted this year. Soto has been one of the biggest advocates for women in the game of poker that you will ever find. Tilly brought attention to the women’s game with her World Series of Poker Ladies’ Tournament championship back in 2005. But I am not voting for them; as what I view as the “frontrunners” for induction, they’re not going to need my vote. Not that I would be ashamed for voting for either of these ladies, I believe there are other potential inductees on this list that need my vote a bit more.

With this process of elimination, we have the four women who will receive my votes for induction. Longevity is an important part of my selection process, as is having made a significant mark on the game. In my humble opinion, these women have.

Haley Hintze – Hintze has been around the game of poker as a journalist as long as this writer has, and we’ve often trod the same ground in working for the same outlets. While she has made an outstanding career writing about the players and the “entertaining aspects” of the game, Hintze was instrumental in bringing information to the players regarding the Absolute Poker/UB “Superuser” scandals of the mid-2000s. Without Hintze’s work, there is plenty that probably would have never come to light regarding that sordid time in the industry; she deserves recognition for that effort, even if she’s not as active today as she used to be (2 votes).

Karina Jett – Jett has been a part of the professional poker scene for almost two decades, demonstrating her skills in the game on a variety of stages. She has earned almost $ 500,000 in tournament cashes over the past 20 years, including four trips to the WSOP Ladies’ Championship final table with a runner up finish in 2011. Jett has also shown the philanthropic side of the poker industry, serving as the hostess and organizer for the popular Ante Up for Autism charity event (3 votes).

Terry King – Not known perhaps to the “general” poker community, King has a long history in the game. A 1978 WSOP bracelet winner, King played in cash games throughout the 1970s, battling against the biggest players in the game, most if not all of them male. While her playing exploits might have been enough to get her in the Hall, King has also served as a dealer (first woman to deal the Championship Event of the WSOP), a floorperson and a tournament organizer and helped open the Hollywood Park Casino in its heyday. She is a wealth of knowledge as to the history of poker, something that is the base reason for honoring someone in the Hall – to preserve the history (2 points).

Shirley Rosario – The number of hats that Rosario has worn in the poker world would fill any closet. A former proposition player at the Bicycle Casino, Rosario parlayed that into a successful cash game career and built an excellent tournament poker resume. In her career, Rosario has earned $ 506,484, mostly built around the difficult mixed game and non-Texas Hold’em disciplines of poker.

It is arguable, however, that Rosario’s work outside the poker room is more notable. In the past two decades plus, Rosario created the website Poker-Babes.com that was THE place to go for information on players from 2004 to 2011. A breast cancer survivor, Rosario also was a part of the PokerStars family, helping the company to write their search engine optimization guidelines as the site became the biggest online poker site in the world. Add in the fact she was one of the original hosts of Live at the Bike and she’s basically covered every base you can hit in the poker world (3 votes).

So, there you have it, this writer’s selections for the 2018 Women in Poker Hall of Fame induction class – Haley Hintze, Karina Jett, Terry King and Shirley Rosario. While I would like to see all four ladies get in this year, as I stated previously I believe that Soto and Tilly are all but a lock (thus, I am looking forward to the vote again in 2020, when Betty Carey finally gets a nod!). But we will see who the 2018 inductees will be when the voting closes on April 15 and the official inductees are announced.

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Phil Ivey, David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott Inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

 Phil Ivey, David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott Inducted into Poker Hall of Fame

During the broadcast of Friday night’s action at the 2017 World Series of Poker Championship Event final table, the two latest inductees for the Poker Hall of Fame were announced. With congratulations, one of them was a first-ballot inductee in Phil Ivey and the other was a well-deserved and beloved choice in David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott.

“I want to thank the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame as well as the media who voted for me to be part of the Poker Hall of Fame,” said Ivey. “It’s an honor to be inducted alongside legends like Chip Reese and Doyle Brunson. I love the game of poker and the game has done a lot for me.  I am one of the lucky people who has been able to make a living playing a game which was always my passion. Thankfully, I’m just as passionate about the game today as when I first stepped into Binion’s Horseshoe to play my first-ever WSOP. Thank you to my family, my friends, and all the poker fans across the world that supported me on this journey.”

Ivey was considered a shoo-in for nomination for the resume he has built over the last 20-odd years. From the days he played in the New Jersey poker rooms using a friend’s identification – which brought him the nickname “No Home Jerome” for the amount of time he spent playing on the Boardwalk – and over the next two decades, it is arguable there isn’t a more feared player in the game. His first tournament cash dates to 1998, when he won a Customer Appreciation event for $ 1000, and he certainly has gone on to greater things in the years that followed.

In Ivey’s first serious foray into a tournament schedule in 2000, he would final table four events at the First Annual Jack Binion World Poker Open in Tunica, MS, before moving on to Las Vegas for the WSOP. In the span of 10 days that year, Ivey cashed three times and made two final tables, including winning his first WSOP bracelet in Pot Limit Omaha. Phil Ivey was now known to the world and he took full advantage of it.

He holds the record for most final tables on the World Poker Tour with 10, winning one of those opportunities in 2008 at the L. A. Poker Classic. Ivey has also cashed 59 times at the WSOP, with 10 bracelet victories that put him in second place all-time (only behind Phil Hellmuth and tied with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan). More impressive than his tournament record, however, is his cash game statistics.

It is conceivable that Ivey has made twice as much playing cash games around the world than his $ 23 million-plus that he’s won on the tournament circuit. In fact, over the past few years, those cash games have infringed on his play at the WSOP, slowing down his pursuit of Hellmuth. Still, one of the qualifications for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame is to have “played for high stakes,” and Ivey has played for the highest possible.

The Ulliott family commented to WSOP officials regarding the induction of their loved one. “As a family, we would like to thank the general public, media and current Poker Hall of Fame members that voted David into the Poker Hall of Fame.  We know he will be up there strumming on his guitar and probably asking what took so long! How he might say it – I think you all know!”

“There isn’t a day that goes past when we don’t think of him and miss him but today we are so proud and delighted that he takes his rightful place in poker history – the legend of the Devilfish lives on!  One thing we know he would be happy about is the progress of John Hesp in the Main Event, a regular at Napoleon’s in Hull, David’s home city in the UK.  John represents what poker is all about – a true game of the people.”

“There are too many people to individually thank but we would particularly like to thank Rob Yong and Simon Trumper of Dusk Till Dawn in Nottingham for their support and also we would like to thank Leon from Kings Casino in advance for offering to commemorate David’s induction into the Poker Hall of Fame at the WSOP Europe in October.  Just remember, as the Devilfish would say – ‘Life is a blast. It doesn’t last. Live it long and live it fast’.”

Ulliott, who passed away in 2015, was a popular sentimental choice that year but had the qualifications to be there previous to his passing. Once a safecracker who served time for his offenses, Ulliott changed his life as he poured himself into his passion, poker. He became such a feared competitor in his hometown of Hull that he found it nearly impossible to find a cash game to play, which sent him into the casinos of the United Kingdom. His first tournament cash was in a Seven Card Stud event at the Grosvenor Spring Classic in London in 1993, where he won £200 for his sixth-place finish.

There would be much more for Ulliott in the world of poker after that. In 1997, legend has it his nickname of ‘Devilfish’ came into being after defeating Men ‘The Master’ Nguyen in Pot Limit Omaha at the Four Queens Poker Classic. Reports with the headline “Devilfish Devours The Master” circulated following that win and Ulliott would embrace it head-on, including having a set of ‘knuckle dusters’ (a form of brass knuckles) with ‘Devil’ on the right hand and ‘Fish’ on the left made for him personally.

1997 was also the year of Ulliott’s one and only WSOP victory, in the $ 2000 Pot Limit Hold’em competition. He would come close on several occasions after that, but would never taste of WSOP gold again. ‘Devilfish’ would also win on the WPT, taking the championship of the 2003 Jack Binion World Poker Open Main Event during the tour’s inaugural season.

Once again, while the tournament record is outstanding (227 cashes for over $ 6.1 million in earnings), it is the cash game arena where Ulliott made his mark. He also was one of the biggest characters in poker, taking such poker programming as Late Night Poker to unprecedented heights with his roguish personality. When he passed in 2015, not only the British poker community but the international poker world mourned the passing of a truly one of a kind character.

Congratulations to Ivey and the Ulliott Family for their inductions into the Poker Hall of Fame.

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Ten Nominees Announced for 2017 Poker Hall of Fame Seats

 Ten Nominees Announced for 2017 Poker Hall of Fame Seats

After the compilation of the fans’ selections for consideration, the Poker Hall of Fame have announced the top ten nominees, with two of the men on the list being enshrined in the ‘Valhalla of poker’ during the final table play of the World Series of Poker Championship Event.

The ten men on the list run the gamut of poker history. There are two newcomers to the field – players who haven’t been nominated prior to 2017 – along with eight other men, three of which were nominated last year and five who have previously been nominated. Additionally, there are five foreign-born players – players born outside the States of America – although a couple of them have become naturalized citizens of the U. S.

Here are the ten men who will vie for the honor of induction with the 2017 class of the Poker Hall of Fame, presented in alphabetical order:

David Chiu
Mori Eskandani
Ted Forrest
Thor Hansen
Phil Ivey
Mike Matusow
Max Pescatori
Matt Savage
Huckleberry Seed
David ‘Devilfish’ Ulliott

Of the two new names on the list, one is all but guaranteed to be a first ballot induction. Ivey, the holder of 10 WSOP bracelets, a World Poker Tour championship (and 10 final tables, a record), various other major championships (including back-to-back wins in the Aussie Millions $ 250,000 Challenge) and a terror on the high stakes cash game circuit, should be a shoo-in for one of the seats at the table come the induction ceremonies. The big question will be who joins him.

A large segment of the international community would like to see Ulliott get recognition for his exploits on the felt and his impact on the game in the United Kingdom and Europe, but Hansen has had just as great an effect on Norway and in Europe. Eskandani, who emigrated from Iran at the age of 18 and has become a naturalized U. S. citizen, is the other newcomer in 2017 who is being recognized not only for his play but for his work “behind the scenes” in some of the best poker television productions created that the “rest of the world” would like to see inducted. Both having been previous nominees, there isn’t much call for Pescatori’s or Chiu’s induction into the Hall (odd because both are outstanding players worthy of induction).

For the North American contingency, the odds-on favorite seems to be Savage, for the lengthy resume of work he has as a tournament director. Savage was the lead TD for the WSOP and currently is the Executive Tour Director for the WPT and calls the Commerce Casino his home base. Along the way, Savage has introduced some of the biggest innovations in tournament poker – for better (the Ironman Tournament, played with no stoppages) or for worse (re-entry tournaments) – and been the leader of the Tournament Directors Association, which is seeking to coordinate tournament rules at casinos around the world. Forrest, Matusow and Seed all have resumes that are Hall worthy, but there doesn’t seem to be the clamor for their induction.

With the 10 men nominated, the rest of the process is in the hands of the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame – 27 men and women – and an 18-member panel of poker journalists. Although the actual process is a closely guarded secret, in previous years each of the voters had 10 votes to allocate. Under those previous rules, the individual voter could give all ten votes to one player or break them up amongst three players. The top two vote-getters (if they meet a requirement that they received 50% of the vote) earn induction into the Poker Hall of Fame.

The 45-person voting bloc has their work cut out for them. They must return their ballot to the WSOP Governing Council by July 15 and, after the votes have been tallied, the new members of the Hall of Fame will be announced. Those new members will be honored during the play of the WSOP Championship Event final table on July 21 during ESPN’s broadcast of the tournament.

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Poker Legend Doyle Brunson Enters Another Hall of Fame

 Poker Legend Doyle Brunson Enters Another Hall of Fame

Although he has had a tremendous career as a legendary poker player, Doyle Brunson wasn’t always known for his abilities on the poker table. His exploits in another area – athletics – have also brought him great renown, including his recent induction into another organization’s Hall of Fame.

Brunson, now 83 years old, was inducted into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame at the end of April for his exploits on the basketball court. The Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame honors great athletes from a 19-county area (remember, Texas is a pretty big state) for their achievements in athletics. Brunson was a standout basketball player while in high school at Sweetwater High School, being named All-State in the sport, while also winning the mile in 1950 at the Texas Interscholastic Track Meet in a time of 4:43. Brunson would then move on to greater things after going to college.

While attending Hardin-Simmons University, Brunson was named the Border Conference Most Valuable Player as a junior in 1953 after averaging 15.3 points per game in leading the school to the NCAA tournament, where they would lose in the first round to Santa Clara. The then-fledgling National Basketball Association noticed the 6-foot-5 Texan and his achievements, with the defending champion Minneapolis Lakers (then with the dominant center in the game, George Mikan, and fellow Texan Slater Martin; both men would go on to the Basketball Hall of Fame) indicating that they would draft Brunson in that summer’s NBA draft.

There is an old saying from the wise sage of the Beatles, John Lennon, however: life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. Working in a factory, Brunson attempted to stop the shift of a forklift full of sheetrock by extending his leg in front of the massive weight, breaking it in two places and essentially ending any athletic career that the NBA was offering. Brunson would spend the next two years on crutches and still has mobility issues because of the unfortunate accident.

Brunson, contacted by the Abilene Reporter-News writer Evan Ren, was quite pleased with his latest Hall of Fame induction. “I’m honored, because the (Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame) is from where I grew up and I know the names of most of the people who are in it,” Brunson noted to Ren in a telephone interview. “Most of the people in it who I knew personally have died. But I’m very honored because it’s from Texas.”

This is just the latest Hall of Fame to honor Brunson. His exploits in the poker world – a back-to-back World Champion by winning the World Series of Poker Championship Event, a ten-time WSOP bracelet winner overall, a legendary road gambler and recognition as the “Godfather of Poker” from his seminal tome on the game (Super/System) – earned him induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988 and, due to his exploits on the basketball floor, he was inducted into the Hardin-Simmons University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2009. The induction into the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame is the third organization to honor Brunson with enshrinement.

The list of notable athletes that Brunson is joining are numerous. Football players Sammy Baugh (Washington Redskins), Bob Lilly (Dallas Cowboys), Don Maynard (New York Jets) and Colt McCoy (former University of Texas quarterback) are all members of the Hall. Brunson was inducted with fellow members Mary Bolden-Washington (track), Jimmy Carmichael (football), Tey Forkerway (baseball), Steve Lineweaver (football coach), Jack Turner (Golden Gloves boxing) and Larry Wartes (baseball). Congratulations to Doyle Brunson for another well-deserved accolade in a life that has been replete with such awards!

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Todd Brunson, Carlos Mortensen Inducted Into Poker Hall of Fame

 Todd Brunson, Carlos Mortensen Inducted Into Poker Hall of Fame

In a lavish ceremony at the birthplace of the World Series of Poker, poker professionals Todd Brunson and Carlos Mortensen were enshrined as the 2016 inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame.

The ceremony brought out many of the living Hall of Famers to welcome their new mates to poker’s Valhalla. In an especially memorable moment, the younger Brunson was joined by his father and now fellow Hall of Famer Doyle Brunson for a family photo of the occasion. The celebration was especially sweet in that it is the first time that a father and son have been enshrined in poker’s greatest lifetime achievement award.

“This wasn’t quite what I expected,” Todd Brunson noted before his acceptance speech, “so I apologize for what’s about to come,” to the laughter of the audience. Brunson then went on to deliver a solid five-minute routine that would earn a stand-up comedian his living if he had been in that arena. But there were some serious moments as Brunson thanked a few people for what they had done for him.

“First off, I’d like to thank my mother,” Brunson began. “My mother had a big impact on me not only as a person but also as a poker player. That may surprise some because my mother…hasn’t played a hand of poker in her life. But she taught me valuable lessons about life that transcended poker. The #1 thing she taught me was the value of a dollar…my mom is very frivolous, very good with money.” Brunson continued to regale those in attendance with stories about his time in the game and left the stage to raucous applause.

Both men were more than worthy of their induction into the Hall. Mortensen is the first-ever European player inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, having used his skills around the world and spread the game of poker to his fellow countrymen in Spain. He is the leading all-time money winner on the World Poker Tour and is tied for the most WPT titles in the history of the circuit (three, along with Anthony Zinno and Gus Hansen). On the World Series of Poker stage, Mortensen was the winner of the WSOP Championship Event in 2001 and, along with his win in the WPT World Championship in 2007, is the only man to win both the WSOP World Championship and the WPT version. In his career, Mortensen has won over $ 6.8 million.

Brunson might be viewed as the more traditional inductee to the Poker Hall of Fame. Brunson has had a successful tournament career, earning a WSOP bracelet in 2005, and he has finished as high as 13th in the WSOP Championship Event. Brunson also has 45 other WSOP cashes, seven trips to the WPT cash out cage and a solo effort on the soon-to-be-departed European Poker Tour to make up his $ 4.3 million in career earnings.

Where Brunson has made his money, in the true tradition of what poker is supposed to be about (to many in the poker world), is on the cash game felt. For at least 25 years, Brunson has plied his trade in the high stakes cash game arena, earning untold amounts of money from that endeavor but assuredly enough to support a very nice lifestyle. In one setting alone that has been documented, Brunson defeated businessman and billionaire Andy Beal in a $ 200,000/$ 400,000 Limit Hold’em matchup to the tune of over $ 13 million. That success was documented by Michael Craig in his seminal work The Professor, The Banker and the Suicide King.

Congratulations to both men for their induction into the Poker Hall of Fame!

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