Poker Hall of Fame
The Poker Hall of Fame adds another player's name to its list of poker legends every year.
Since its inception in 1979, the Hall of Fame has honored 37 gamblers, one for each year, with the exception of 1993 and the year 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008. All but two, Hoyle and Hickok, were twentieth-century card players, and many of them road gamblers who followed the game wherever it would take them.
Hall of Fame Standards
Selection Criteria for the Hall of Fame is straightforward and the standards are high:
- A gambler must have played poker against acknowledged top competition,
- Played for high stakes,
- Played consistently well, gained the respect of peers,
- And 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.
The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrahs
Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004. Though the Hall
of Fame is virtual in nature, its membership includes poker's most influential
players and other important contributors to the game. With Orenstein and Tomko,
there are 16 living members.
Linda Johnson, (November 2011)
Linda Johnson, aka "The First Lady of Poker," has been a fixture on the circuit for more than three decades. Worth noting are Linda's consistent efforts to improve the atmosphere in card rooms and casinos, acting as a spokesperson for "zero tolerance" for player harrassment and abuse at the card table. She also created the TDA (Tournament Director's Association), an orginization used to this day as a rules standard for large tournaments such as the World Poker Tour. A respected journalist, Johnson is a frequent contributor to Card Player Magazine, a publication she distributed for 8 years before selling the company. Linda Johnson's Profile
Barry Greenstein, (November 2011)
Greenstein was a Chicago, Illinois native. As a youth, he earned a computer science degree at the University of Illinois and started work towards a Ph.D. in mathematics. A successful job in the computer industry took him away from his studies, and he instead became a software developer for a company that soared into the Fortune 500. He retired in 1991 in his mid-thirties. Along the way, Greenstein learned poker, first from his father, then during college and leisurely through the years as work allowed. Barry Greenstein's Profile
Dan Harrington, (November 2010)
Known for his writing as well as his poker skills, Dan Harrington is both respected and famous in the poker world. Dan's start was as an attorney. But his skills as a poker, chess and backgammon player soon propelled him into high stakes play and eventually won him a WSOP bracelet. Dan continues to be rewarded for his calculated risks in many other areas of life. Dan Harrington's Profile
Erik Seidel, (November 2010)
Erik got his start in gaming as a tournament backgammon player. After eight years of playing, he moved on to poker with stunning success. Erik Seidel has won eight WSOP bracelets and nearly 10 million in poker winnings. Movie fans might also recognize him in the movie, Rounders. The movie features actual footage of Erik and Johnny Chan playing in the 1988 World Series of Poker's Main Event.
Mike Sexton, 2009
Mike "The Ambassador of Poker" Sexton is the 38th member of the Hall of Fame. Despite facing stiff competition from other elite players including Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein, was the only member of this year's group of nine finalists to receive the honor. Having won over $3.7 million in poker winnings, a WSOP bracelet (Seven Card Stud) and having earned 47 WSOP cashes to go with his 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions win, Sexton easily earned his spot. In addition, Sexton has helped promote the game by serving as announcer for the World Poker Tour.
Henry Orenstein , 2008
Orenstein is successful outside of his poker playing, both in poker and other pursuits. A Holocaust survivor who spent much of the end of World War II in various concentration camps, Orenstein became a toymaker who, decades later, convinced Hasbro to start producing Transformers. He holds over 100 other patents, and aside from Transformers, the best-known of these inventions is U.S. Patent 5,451,054 which gave Orenstein the exclusive right in the United States to detect and display hole cards in poker games. The ability to show a player's hidden cards to an audience is one of the principal reasons that poker is so popular today.
Duane "Dewey" Tomko, 2008
Tomko began playing poker profitably as a 16-year-old in Pittsburgh pool halls which allowed him to finance his education. He worked as a kindergarten teacher, but often played poker through the night. Tomko realised that poker was more profitable than his job and invested a sum of his winnings into businesses while choosing to play poker full-time.
Tomko has played every WSOP Main Event since 1974 which is currently the longest active streak.
Barbara Enright , 2007
Barbara Enright is best known as the only woman to have reached the final table of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) $10,000 no limit hold'em main event. She achieved this in 1995, finishing in 5th place after her pocket eights were outdrawn by a suited 6-3. She also finished in the money in the 2005 main event, having qualified through a $10 online satellite. Barbara was the first woman to win two WSOP Bracelets, the first woman to win three bracelets and the first woman to win an open event at the World Series of Poker.
Phil "Poker Brat" Hellmuth , 2007
Phillip J. Hellmuth, Jr. (born July 16, 1964) is an American professional poker player. He is best known for holding a record eleven World Series of Poker bracelets, for winning the Main Event of the 1989 World Series of Poker and for his "poker brat" personality.
At the 2007 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth won his record-breaking 11th bracelet in the $1,500 No Limit Hold'em Event. Hellmuth also holds the records for most WSOP cashes (68) and most WSOP final tables (41), recently overtaking TJ Cloutier.
Billy Baxter, 2006
Though his most well known contribution to poker is that he staked Stu Ungar from 1990 on, Baxter has won 7 of his own World Series of Poker bracelets. As of 2006, he ranks just behind Johnny Moss (8), Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson (10 each). All of Baxter's bracelets are in lowball games.
T.J. Cloutier, 2006
Cloutier specializes in playing tournament poker, especially No Limit and Pot Limit Hold'em. He is the only person in the history of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) to have won events in all three types of Omaha played at the World Series - (Pot Limit High, Limit High, and Limit 8-or-Better High-low split). Despite winning dozens of tournaments, he has never won the main event of the World Series of Poker, although he has placed four times in the top 5, including two 2nd place finishes in 1985 and 2000.
- T.J. Cloutier's Profile
- T.J. Cloutier's Biography
- T.J. Cloutier Interview by Justin West
- T.J. Cloutier Interview by Dana Smith Part 1
- T.J. Cloutier Interview by Dana Smith Part 2
Jack Binion, 2005
For over 50 years, the innovations and style of Jack Binion has led to unparalled success in the casino industry. Inherting the Horseshoe legacy from his father, Benny Binion, Jack developed the downtown Horseshoe Casino into a Las Vegas icon renowned for its high limits and generous odds - and hosted the first World Series of Poker in 1970.
Crandell Addington, 2005
World-Famous poker ambassador and consistant high stakes winner. Crandell Addington enjoyed an extremely successful poker career from 1963 until he retired in the Mid 80's after playing against the games's biggest names. Described by Doyle Brunson as a "No Limit Hold'em Legend" and "one of the most colorful and greatest players of poker history."
Berry Johnston, 2004
The 1986 World Series of Poker Champion, Berry Johnston is also recognized for being the man with the most all time cashes in 2004. He's made at least one cash every year since 1982.
Bobby Baldwin, 2003
Recognized as the man who helped bring class to poker, Bobby Baldwin is one of Vegas's top Chief Executive Officers and poker's biggest friend. The 1978 WSOP of Poker Champion, Bobby is also honored for is his world class playing skills, willingness to take enormous risks, and his ability to come out on top time after time.
Lyle Berman, 2002
Berman prefers high-stakes cash games to tournaments, although he has played in a few. He is a three-time winner at the World Series of Poker: Limit Omaha in '89, no-limit hold’em in '92, and deuce-to-seven draw in '94). He finished second at the WSOP four times. In 1991, he won the $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold'em championship at the Hall of Fame Poker Classic. Berman doesn't play many tournaments and yet considering the number of events he has played, his record is worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Johnny Chan, 2002
Johnny Chan is used to being first. The winner of back-to-back World Championships in 1987 and 1988, Johnny was also first in money won all-time at the World Series of Poker in 2002.
He's also the first poker-playing movie star. It was Chan, shown trapping Erik Seidel, that Matt Damon idolized in the movie, Rounders.
It may come as a surprise to some that Johnny Chan wasn't in the Poker Hall of Fame sooner. It's not an oversight. It's because Johnny is still so young. Not yet 50 years old, Chan had unusual success very early. Always known as one of the finest No-Limit Hold'em players who ever lived, Johnny Chan qualified for the Hall of Fame because he is willing to take on all comers. Chan has played in the biggest games going for the last quarter century. Nicknamed by the pundits as "The Great Wall of China" and "The Orient Express" Johnny Chan is also one of the most approachable and well-liked of former World Champions.
Lyle Berman, fellow Hall of Fame 2002 Inductee, introduced Johnny before the start of the Championship Event. He reminded the audience that Chan started playing poker at the $2/$4 level. He cautioned all players that if they couldn't beat that game, they wouldn't be able to beat $10/$20 and above. So don’t ask him for a stake.
Johnny thanked Lyle for the introduction and the Hall of Fame for the "honor." Then he told the dealers, "Shuffle up and deal."
Stu Ungar, 2001
When anyone talks about the greatest poker players of all time, Stu Ungar's name will surface immediately. He is considered by many to have been the greatest No Limit Hold'em player of all time.
Ungar was a three-time World Champion (with five WSOP bracelets). He won ten major No Limit Hold'em championship events (in which the buy-ins were $5,000 or higher). Amazingly, Ungar only played in about 30 of these championship events in his lifetime.
Roger Moore, 1997
In 1974 Moore entered his first World Series of Poker and hasn't missed one since. Born into adversity as the son of a sharecropper, Moore has earned the reputation as one of pokers most determined and formidable practitioners. He has preformed admirably against most of the giants of the game, including fellow Hall of Famers Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Amarillo Slim, Jack Straus, Puggy Pearson and Jack Keller. Moore is the 1994 World Series of Poker $5000 Seven Card Stud World Champion and has placed in the money 15 times. Along with his three runner-up finishes, he has been in the money in the championship event three times. WSOP lifetime money earnings: $400,378.
Julius Oral "Little Man" Popwell, 1996
Popwell was a gambler of near-mythical stature. He was posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1996. His road games were five-card stud. He played against Johnny Moss, Henry Green and others in the '40s and '50s. Deceased.
Jack Keller, 1993
"Gentleman Jack" has been one of the most consistent players since arriving in Las Vegas from Philadelphia in the early 1980s and is the 1984 World Champion. Enshrined in 1994 at age 51, he is an active professional gambler who lives in Mississippi.
"Amarillo Slim" Preston, 1992
A fast-talking, flamboyant Texas gambler and poker tournament promoter, Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston won the world title in 1972. Unlike many gamblers of his era, he sought out publicity by going on national talk shows after winning the World Series. He was enshrined in 1992 at age 62. Preston has not competed in major Las Vegas tournaments in recent years. He resides in Texas.
David "Chip" Reese, 1991
David Edward "Chip" Reese came to Las Vegas in 1974 with $400 in his pocket and started at the $10 limit tables. He quickly rose to become one of the game's best all-around high-stakes players. The Ohio-born gambler who began playing poker for baseball cards at age six, is a Dartmouth graduate. He was enshrined in 1991 at age 40, the youngest Hall-of-Famer ever. A professional gambler who lived in Las Vegas. Deceased on December 04, 2007 at the age of 56.
Benny Binion, 1990
A colorful cowboy and gambler. Benny Binion founded the Horseshoe casino in downtown Las Vegas. In 1970, he inaugurated the World Series of Poker as a gambler's convention at the resort. He died on Christmas Day 1989, at age 85. He was enshrined in 1990. A tempered player who was skilled at all forms of poker, he was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1986. Deceased.
Fred "Sarge" Ferris, 1989
A New England-born son of Lebanese immigrants, Sarge became a professional gambler to escape the poverty of his youth. He won the 1980 deuce-to-seven draw world title. He gained notoriety when, on April 22, 1983, the Internal Revenue Service seized $46,000 worth of chips from him during a high-stakes game at the Horseshoe. He died of a heart attack in March 1989, the year he was enshrined.
Jack Straus, 1988 - An aggressive gambler noted for imaginative play, Jack won the 1982 world title.The salt-and-pepper-bearded, Texas-born gambler was noted for spinning poker yarns. Nicknamed "Treetop," Straus stood six-foot-six. He died in August 1988 at age 58 after suffering a heart attack during a high-stakes poker game at the Bicycle Club in Bell Gardens, California. He was enshrined at the first Hall of Fame Classic that year.
Doyle Brunson, 1988
A hulking-Texas-born gambler who won the 1976 and 1977 world titles, Doyle was the first player to win $1 million in tournament play. His book Super/System is an acclaimed study of his high stakes poker. Brunson got his nickname "Texas Dolly" when Jimmy "The Greek" Snyder misread "Doyle" as "Dolly." Enshrined in 1988 at age fifty-four, he's an active professional gambler who lives in Las Vegas.
- Doyle Brunson's Profile
- Doyle Brunson's Biography
- Doyle Brunson Interview Part 1
- Doyle Brunson Interview Part 2
Puggy Pearson, 1987
A husky, cigar-chomping Tennessee born gambler, Walter Clyde "Puggy" Pearson won the world title in 1973. Considered a great seven-card stud player, he is noted for his aggressive style, an erratic temper, and homespun philosophy. He was made a Hall-of-Famer in 1987 at age 58. A professional gambler, that lived in Las Vegas. Deceased on April 12, 2006 at the age of 77.
Henry Green, 1986
A road gambler from Alabama, Henry Green was an even tempered player who was skilled at all forms of poker. He was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1986. Deceased.
Red Hodges, 1985
Considered one of the best seven-card stud players of all time, Red was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1985. Deceased.
Murph Harrold, 1984
Regarded as one of the best deuce-to-seven draw (Kansas City lowball) players of all time, Murph was enshrined in 1984. Deceased.
Joe Bernstein, 1983
A sharp road gambler; Joe was known as a dapper dresser at the poker table. He was enshrined in 1983. Deceased.
Tom Abdo, 1982
After suffering a heart attack at the poker table, Tom turned to another player and asked him to count his chips down and save his seat. He died that night, intending to return to the game. He was enshrined in 1982.
Bill Boyd, 1981
Regarded as one of the best five-card stud players of all time, Bill was several times champion of the event at the World Series of Poker. He was ceremonially dealt the first poker hands at both the Golden Nugget and Mirage cardrooms. Retired from professional poker, Boyd was selected to be a Hall-of-Famer in 1981, and lived in Las Vegas until his death on Nov. 21, 1997.
T. "Blondie" Forbes, 1980
A master road gambler, Blondie was enshrined in 1980. Deceased.
Johnny Moss, 1979
Ageless patriarch of the game, Johnny Moss was a three-time world no-limit Texas hold 'em champion (1970, 1971, and 1974). He lived in Las Vegas until his death in 1997. In 1979 he was enshrined as a charter member.
Red Winn, 1979
Known as a quintessential all-around player, Red Winn was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member. Deceased.
Sid Wyman, 1979
From the early 1950's to the late 1970s, Sid was co-owner of several gaming properties, including the Sands, Riviera, and the old Dunes. The Missouri-born Wyman was a noted high-stakes gambler who excelled at poker. He died in June 1978. Casino play was halted for two minutes at the Dunes at the hour of his funeral. He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member.
"Nick the Greek" Dandolos, 1979
Known for making astronomical wagers in Las Vegas casinos, Nick became a household name. Late in his career, Dandolos was near broke and playing low-limit poker in Southern California. Asked how he could bet millions of dollars once and now play for $5 chips, Dandolos was purported to have said "Hey, it's action." He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member. Deceased.
Edmond Hoyle, 1979
For more than two centuries, card players have played "according to Hoyle", which has become synonymous with conformity to rules. Born circa 1672 in England, Hoyle wrote his first book, A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742. The book, a classic, was used to settle differences during games played by London society. Hoyle died August 30, 1769, at age ninety-seven. The eighteenth-century author was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member.
"Wild Bill" Hickok, 1979
James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok, a nineteenth-century gambler and lawman, was killed while playing poker. He held aces and eights, which became known as "The Dead Man's Hand." Hickok is perhaps the most recognizable name in the shrine at least to those outside of poker circles. He was a scout in the Civil War, a marshal in Kansas, and later toured with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show as a sharpshooter. His shoot-out with the McCanles gang -- he killed three of them -- made Hickok a legend in his own time. While playing in a poker game in a saloon at Deadwood in the Dakota Territory (now South Dakota), he was shot in the back by "Crooked Nose" McCall and died on August 2, 1876, at age thirty-nine. He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member.
Felton "Corky" McCorquodale, 1979
A noted no-limit gambler, Corky introduced Texas hold 'em to Las Vegas in 1963. He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member. Deceased.