MEDIA RELEASE: Hall of Fame candidates for 2012 announced

After a public nomination process on, and a vetting of all nominations by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council, the finalists list eligible for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2012 has been determined.

It will now be up to the current Hall of Famers and a blue ribbon panel of media members to determine who actually does join this exclusive club. Six new candidates have been nominated, and four candidates who made the finalist list last year (Harman-Traniello, Juanda, McEvoy & Nguyen) have been chosen as finalists again.

Brian “Sailor” Roberts becomes the 10th finalist on the list, by virtue of his write-in nomination from an existing Hall of Famer in 2011 (as per the Poker Hall of Fame voting guidelines, the existing members of the PHOF have the ability to “write-in” a candidate they believe deserves admission, but were not submitted as a candidate by the public).

The names will be submitted to the 18 living Hall of Fame members and an 18-person media panel later this month for voting. Only these 36 individuals cast votes for induction. The criteria they will consider in their vote are:

• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
• Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
• Played for high stakes
• Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
• 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 2012 Class of the Poker Hall of Fame will be inducted as part of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table festivities at the Penn & Teller Theater at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in October. The nominees are:

Chris Bjorin

Bjorin, a 64-year-old Swedish-born poker player who now resides in London, England, has earned more than $5 million playing poker in his distinguished career. The two-time WSOP gold bracelet winner sits fifth all-time on the WSOP cash list with 65, and ranks fifth all-time in WSOP Main Event cashes with seven.

David Chiu

Born in China, David Chiu moved to the United States when as an 18-year-old exchange student. The 52 year-old is a four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner with wins in Limit Hold’em, Seven-Card Stud, and Omaha Eight Or Better and cashes in 54 WSOP events. Chiu’s success also includes a memorable victory in the 2008 WPT World Championship.

Eric Drache

An accomplished Seven Card Stud player, Drache made five WSOP final tables over the course of his career, finishing in the top three every time. He was also the WSOP tournament director in the 1970s. During that time, Drache came up with the concept of satellite events. In his role as the cardroom manager of casinos like Bellagio, Mirage, and the Golden Nugget, he also helped to build up the Las Vegas poker scene.

Thor Hansen

Since starting in poker in the late 1980s, Norwegian poker pro Thor Hansen has cashed in more than 175 tournaments, racking up more than $2.9 million in career earnings. His list of cashes includes some notable highlights like two WSOP gold bracelets, won in 1988 and 2002, and an appearance at the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. final table at the WSOP in 2007.

George Hardie

Most anyone will concede that the explosion of poker in California in the 1980s was a major point of growth in the industry. At the centre of that West Coast poker boom stood Hardie, who built up the largest card club in the world at the time, the Bicycle Casino. Hardie implemented a number of new rules, guarantees, and events that helped the property define itself as one of the card capitals of the world.

Jennifer Harman-Traniello

Jennifer Harman has a long list of tournament accomplishments, including over $2.6 million in earnings, two WPT final tables, 12 WSOP final tables, and the honour of being the first woman to win multiple WSOP bracelets in open events. However, what might be even more impressive than her tournament results are her skills in the cash games.

John Juanda

Although he keeps a low profile away from the poker table, John Juanda’s on the felt resume is undeniable. The five-time WSOP bracelet champion has amassed over $14 million in career tournament earnings and is currently fifth in all-time WSOP final tables with 31. He is the youngest nominee this year.

Tom McEvoy

The 67-year-old four-time WSOP champion has led a sterling poker career spanning five decades. McEvoy left a career in accounting in the late 70’s and moved to Las Vegas to pursue his ambition on the felt. That ambition led him to victory in the 1983 World Series of Poker Main Event. A consummate tournament player, McEvoy has posted consistently solid results for more than 30 years.

Scotty Nguyen

“You call and it’s gonna be all over baby!” That jib to Kevin McBride before he won the 1998 WSOP Main Event personifies the man they call “The Prince,” Scotty Nguyen. Nguyen backs his flare and bravado with undeniable results that include over $11.6 million in career earnings, 19 WSOP and 8 WPT final tables and five WSOP bracelets, which include both a Main Event and $50k H.O.R.S.E. championship.

Brian “Sailor” Roberts

A gambler at his very core, the 1975 WSOP Main Event champion he returned home to Texas after the Korean War, where he met Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim. The three travelled throughout the south and Midwest in search of underground poker games and became known as the famous “Texas Rounders”. The two-time WSOP champion passed away in 1995.

About The Poker Hall of Fame: The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrah’s 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. There are 18 living members, and 42 members have been bestowed the honour of Poker Hall of Famer. The Poker Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held in concert with the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP, held each fall in Las Vegas.

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