Poker news | Feb 18, 2021
Doug Polk Thinks that Poker Hall of Fame Selection Process Must Change
By RTR Dennis
Huck Seed recently became the latest inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame. The 1996 WSOP Main Event champion topped a worthy field that included other impressive players, such as Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari and Patrik Antonius.
Thanks to his Main Event victory and over $7.6 million in tournament winnings, Seed seems like a worthy pick. However, not everybody is impressed with the overall results.
Semi-retired poker player Doug Polk was especially critical of the selection process. While he didn’t necessarily bash Seed’s induction, Polk pointed out that the complete results were questionable to say the least.
Voting Process is a “Complete Joke”
Doug recently came out of retirement to engage in a heads-up online poker battle with Daniel Negreanu. Despite being in the middle of this intense match, he took time out to express his disappointment with the voting.
He noted that the PHOF voting is a “complete joke.” Polk didn’t feel that MTT director Matt Savage deserved to end up with the second-most votes. He also questioned Eli Elezra, who “ran up debts he didn’t pay,” finishing third.
Meanwhile, Polk felt that Antonius (seventh in the voting) and Isai Scheinberg (third) should’ve done better. He mentioned Scheinberg’s founding of PokerStars—the “first or second most important company in poker history”—as the reason why he should’ve potentially won the induction bid.
Polk isn’t saying that Savage didn’t deserve any consideration at all. However, he can’t understand what criteria Savage and Elezra met to finish so high.
What Should Change with PHOF Voting?
Currently, the living Poker Hall of Fame members vote on the annual inductee. This year, 30 living members cast their votes.
Media members, who used to have a say, no longer have this privilege. Polk thinks that the process should be revamped to include the media again.
He’s not the only one to raise questions about the matter. Current PHOF member Daniel Negreanu also feels that the system could be overhauled to some degree.
Again, Seed isn’t a terrible inductee by any means. He’s won four WSOP gold bracelets and has dozens of WSOP cashes to his credit.
But the debate is valid on he and other poker players/contributors finishing so high up. Meanwhile, some deserving names finished rather low in the voting (especially Antonius).
The PHOF voting will never be a perfect matter. After all, only one person gets in each year among a large number of worthy hopefuls.
However, the selection process could be changed to include media members. The latter bring a different perspective to the subject that could balance out the system.
After all, some current PHOF members might vote for their buddies and/or players only (versus contributors).
Whether any changes happen in the future remain to be seen. For now, though, Polk has made his voice heard and hopes for change.