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WSOP Poker Hall of Fame Again Nominates No Aussies
The World Series of Poker announced another opportunity this month to nominate poker players for possible induction to the Poker Hall of Fame. Once again, no Australian players made their way to the list of 10 finalists for the final round of voting.
This is why the Australian Poker Hall of Fame is so important for the poker community in Australia.
WSOP to Induct One in 2020
WSOP executives announced in early December that the public could log on to a special voting website and nominate anyone they believe should be inducted to the Poker Hall of Fame. This happens every year.
When that process concluded, they tallied the results and delivered the top 10 nominees – one being a duo – for final voting. Each living member of the Poker Hall of Fame — 31 in total – can now submit their votes for one person (or duo) to be inducted this year. Each voter has 10 points to divide in any way they deem proper.
The WSOP will tally the votes to determine the final winner, and they will announce the inductee at the WSOP Main Event finale at the Rio in Las Vegas on December 30.
Most of the nominees have been on the list before – last year, in fact.
Tournament Director Matt Savage had been nominated in the past, though not last year. The new names on the list this year are high-stakes pro Patrik Antonius, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, and the ESPN broadcasting duo of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, who have commentated on the World Series of Poker broadcasts for years as a team.
The list of finalists for this year is:
- Patrik Antonius
- Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
- Isai Scheinberg
- Matt Savage
- Eli Elezra
- Antonio Esfandiari
- Chris Ferguson
- Ted Forrest
- Mike Matusow
- Huckleberry Seed
While most people inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame are poker players, there are several people who didn’t play as much as they contributed significantly to the game. The full criteria for nominations is:
- Player must have competed against acknowledged top poker competitors.
- Player must be at least 40 years old at the time of his or her nomination.
- Player must have competed for high stakes.
- Player must have performed consistently well and gained the respect of his or her peers.
- Player must have stood the test of time.
- Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.
Isai Scheinberg’s nomination falls into the non-player category, as he founded the world’s largest poker site and played an integral role in making online poker what it is today. Lon McEachern and Norman Chad do play poker but were nominated for their contributions to poker broadcasting and commentary.
Currently, there are 58 names in the Poker Hall of Fame. One or two players enter the elite club each year. The list, however, consists of mostly male players and Americans. The international community has long felt underrepresented in the Poker HOF.
Separate Aussie Hall of Fame
During the poker boom, in the early 2000s, the Australian poker community noticed that the Hall of Fame hosted by the WSOP was predominantly American.
So, a group of poker enthusiasts created the Australian Poker Hall of Fame, also known as APHOF, in 2009. PokerNetwork coordinated with Maurie Pears and Crown Casino to create it and start a tradition. There were many players who contributed to poker throughout the Australasia region but also around the world, and it was time to honor them.
The criteria for consideration was:
- Person must be a current or former resident of Australia or New Zealand.
- Player must have displayed significant excellence.
- Person must have demonstrated outstanding and extended service to the game, bring credit to Australian casino tournament poker.
The first year of induction was 2009. The APHOF inducted Jeff Lisandro, Billy Argyros, Lee Nelson, Mel Judah, Gary Benson, Maurice Pears, and PokerNetwork owner Tony Guoga. That year, they also honored Joe Hachem with a special “Legend of Poker” award.
The second year of 2020, the APHOF promoted Lisandro to a “Legend of Poker” and inducted Marsha Waggoner. In 2011, Leo Boxell and Danny McDonagh received the honors as inductees, followed by David Gorr and Jason Gray in 2012.
Since then, the APHOF grew to include Graeme Putt, Van Marcus, Joe Cabret, Manny Stavropoulos, Grant Levy, and Jonathan Karamalikis.
2020 APHOF Inductees: Gilmartin and Burns
The 2020 induction ceremony for new members of the APHOF took place during the Aussie Millions in January, prior to the coronavirus pandemic that shut down most of the poker industry throughout the world. Before that, however, the Aussie Millions was as popular as ever.
APHOF Legend Joe Hachem spoke at the ceremony at Crown Melbourne to announce the induction of WPT anchor Lynn Gilmartin and Aussie poker pro Kahle Burns.
Gilmartin started working in the marketing department at Crown Melbourne in 2008 and took a particular liking to the poker community. She left her desk job to be in front of a camera, which was something she enjoyed. She hosted events like the Victorian Poker Championship and then worked with the PokerNews team at the World Series of Poker.
Her initials LG, also often stand for her motto – life is good. Gilmartin is a perpetually happy person and spreads that happiness, both on and off camera. The World Poker Tour hired her in 2013 to be the anchor of the WPT Alpha8 high-stakes poker tournament series. That worked out so well so quickly that the WPT then hired her as an anchor for all World Poker Tour shows.
She wrote in a piece for the World Poker Tour website, “I truly do have great respect and appreciation for this game, and it has been a real privilege to show it off to the rest of the world.”
Burns has been in the game for more than a decade. He started playing at 18, even dropping out of university to play more seriously at 20 years old. He played mostly cash games for years, and then he took to tournaments, starting with relatively low buy-ins in Melbourne. The young player slowly increased his buy-ins and expanded to more areas of Australia and the Asia Pacific region.
By 2017, Burns began playing more high-stakes tournaments and then traveled to Las Vegas in the summers to compete in the WSOP and other events around Sin City. He started winning high rollers and running deep in WSOP events.
In 2019, Burns traveled to the Czech Republic to play in the WSOP Europe, where he won two WSOP gold bracelets. He also took the honor of being the all-around 2019 WSOP Player of the Year. By the end of the 2020 Aussie Millions, he showed more than $9.5 million in earnings from live tournaments in his career to that point.
Since then, he added more than $1.2 million more to that total.
2020 Young Achiever: Addamo
In 2014, the APHOF began recognizing poker players who were newer to the game and creating a buzz with their action at the tables. It was the Young Achiever honor.
Jarred Graham and Jackie Glazier were the first two Young Achievers in 2014, followed by one each year that followed: James Obst in 2015, then Jeff Rossiter, David Yan, Kahle Burns, and Alex Lynskey in 2019.
This year, the APHOF recognized Michael Addamo as the 2020 Young Achiever.
Addamo started playing small tournaments in Melbourne in 2012 and 2013 and quickly moved up to bigger buy-ins in 2015. He was making WSOP final tables and took a PokerStars Championship Macau win in 2017, just before winning the Crown Poker Championships High Roller Challenge. He won a WSOP bracelet in 2018 in Las Vegas and a second bracelet at the WSOP Europe later that year.
Now a regular in high-stakes poker tournaments from Las Vegas to Melbourne, and from Barcelona to Rozvadov, Addamo is doing well. At the time of his APHOF recognition, he had accumulated more than $6.6 million in live tournament earnings. Since then, both live and online, he won an additional $1.6 million.