September 28th marked the return of This Week on 2+2 as Upswing Poker featured pro Doug Polk, Upswing Kaitie and Binks bid Vancouver farewell and headed back to the United States. While Doug was busy live casting throughout the PokerStars WCOOP and winning $455,000 USD in front of 23,000 Twitch viewers, the Poker Hall of Fame announced its 2016 nominees for November enshrinement, Fedor Holz continued his historic tournament run, and Global Poker League CEO Alex Dreyfus stooged himself by slow paying at least $30,000 in declared same-day cash trades with high profile members of the community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yEdtO6yjsc All these topics were featured on the September 28 episode of Polkernews, however both Dreyfus and Holz have already received their fair share of Upswing press, so this article will focus on the Poker Hall of Fame and its selection process.
Transparency Needed in Poker Hall of Fame Selection Process
This year’s Poker Hall of Fame class will be formally announced to the public between November 7th and 10th. Before outlining why the HoF selection process is in need of revamping, Doug Polk paid tribute to many current Hall of Fame members who have been instrumental in contributing to poker’s growth over the years. “I can say that the people in the Poker Hall of Fame have done a ton to progress the game. Most notably, people like Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu. I have a lot of respect for anyone that has made the Poker Hall of Fame, but particularly the people who have gone above and beyond to make the game what it is today,” the Polkernews host told viewers.
Poker HoF Selection Process is Unclear
Polk acknowledges the subjective nature of any Hall of Fame balloting, and endorses making the selection process as inclusive as possible in an effort to legitimately engage public interest. In the Upswing Poker pro’s view, communicating how inductees are chosen as openly as possible is a sure-fire way to increase the Poker Hall of Fame’s credibility among a wider audience. “In my eyes, the Poker Hall of Fame should really be picked based on who within the public opinion as well as within the insiders of the poker industry’s opinion… who did the most to make poker what it is today. Now, I know that they have a process. But let me explain the process and let me then tell you why I think there needs to be some changes.” “So first off, people can nominate players on the Poker Hall of Fame site, and then it goes to a, you know… mystery email address that then no one knows what happens with those votes. Again, this is to my knowledge. If I’m wrong, I would love it if someone could clear this up, but I couldn’t really find much on the process so I guess I’m just gonna have to kind of wing it.” “You can be voted or you can be hand-selected in, but there’s no real transparency there in how those people make the ballot. Then once there are 10 names on the ballot, chosen… we don’t know how, all current members of the Poker Hall of Fame are able to vote. I think they get 10 points, and they can distribute them however they want based on who they think really deserves it. I know that some people take this more seriously than other people. I stumbled across a Daniel Negreanu blog post from this year where he talked about where he wanted to put his points and really gave weight to the pros and cons, which is correct. That is definitely the way you should be doing it. However, there are a lot of people on that list and if some of them could group-up and put all their points into certain people, they could really dictate who makes it into the Hall of Fame. There’s also some amount of points given to the Poker Media. And I think that’s supposed to be balanced out in some way between Hall of Famers and the media. But it’s been becoming a little bit more disproportional towards current Hall of Fame members.” The 28-year old Twitch Poker record holder suggests that the ambiguous nature of this process can be improved by allowing the public to openly participate in choosing which players should go on the ballot each year. “We need to make the Poker Hall of Fame a really great thing to be a part of, but at the same time it needs to be credible in how people make it into the Hall of Fame. I’m cool with the age requirement, I’m cool with having people that are in the Hall of Fame voting. I’m cool with all these things. I just want there to be more transparency and I want the Poker Hall of Fame to be something that we can really respect for years to come,” Polk adds before moving on to the Alex Dreyfus Polkernews segment.
Modern-Day Poker Personalities Increase Their Presence
Doug Polk is among a growing number of Top Tier Poker Personalities who are actively becoming more involved in high profile issues facing the poker industry — a trend that may have begun in 2014 with OnePokerLife.com owner Joey Ingram through his conversations with high profile players on the Poker Life Podcast.
High profile pros who previously sat idle while poker-operator mouthpieces such as Eric Hollreiser and Lee Jones disqualified their efforts and views as being “entitled” have now discovered that the “entitlement shoe” actually fits more snugly on poker site reps. Namely the ones who are quick to shoot on player imperfections while ignoring their employer’s defunct handshake-turned-butt-secks Supernova Elite deal with its highest-volume players less than a year ago. Fortunately, the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame is not plagued with such a dubious history. Yet the message from Polk remains clear. Poker players and the community want to take an ownership role in promoting the game, and they insist on boosting the legitimacy of poker through a form of open communication that has struck a chord with thousands of increasingly-informed poker fans.
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David Huber (known as “dhubermex” online) has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade. He currently assists several poker and gaming entities as a researcher, writer, and consultant. Former Editor-in-Chief & Head Moderator of online tournament rankings site PocketFives (2006-2011).