Seidel and Harrington Deemed Hall of Fame Material

With the final days of the 2010 Main Event fast approaching, this week’s big news was the announcement of this year’s Hall of Fame honorees. While the Hall of Fame remains devoid of any of the online pros that have and are redefining the game, two other major players are finally getting their proper dues. Dan Harrington and Erik Seidel will bring the current number of Hall of Famers to a tidy 40 members (and will up the roster of living members to 18).

The announcement has also proven to be a good endorsement for backgammon, which is where Harrington and Seidel first went head to head in the 1980s when they were both businessmen and cards were just a hobby. The two friends and occasional opponents have almost half a century of professional play, over $15 million in earnings, and a world of respect between them.

Dan Harrington has raked in more than $6 million, two WSOP bracelets and 25 major cashes since his first major money finish in the 1986 WSOP. While Harrington hasn’t won a bracelet since 1996, he proved that he’s still a player to be feared when he came out on top of 485 other pros in the 2007 WPT Legends of Poker Championship (a win that netted him a quarter of his lifetime tournament earnings).

Erik Seidel made a big first impression on the world of poker with his second place finish at the WSOP Main Event in 1988. In 1991 he finished second in another WSOP No Limit event, and in 1992 he beat fellow Hall of Famer Phil Hellmuth in the same event to claim his first WSOP bracelet. It was just one of many – eight to date – and with four WSOP cashes in 2010 it’s safe to say there will be more. Seidel is quickly clawing his way toward the $10 million mark for major tournament earnings. He has proven to be a formidable foe not only in his original game of choice – No Limit Hold’em – but more recently in Omaha, Draw and HORSE.

The list of 2010 HOF contenders also included greats like Chris Ferguson, Barry Greenstein, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey, Linda Johnson, Tom McEvoy, Daniel Negreanu and Scotty Nguyen. New inductees are chosen by the living Hall of Fame members plus a panel of specially selected industry insiders. As many as two players can be inducted, so long as they receive a majority vote. Often the competition is so tough that the vote is split and only one new member is selected. If you’re wondering what it takes to get this evasive honor, the WSOP’s criteria, once again, is: 

  • Must have played against top competition
  • Must play high stakes
  • Must be consistent and well-respected by their peers
  • Must have stood the test of time
  • Non-players must have made a significant and enduring contribution to the game

The fourth piece of criteria has thus far deflected popular fan nominations like Tom Dwan, and as a result the list is looking pretty dated. Of course it’s hard to argue that any of the 40 poker legends currently in the Hall of Fame were not deserving, and it’s even harder to live up to the epic career of Doyle Brunson or to the game-changing contributions of the Binions. Apparently Harrington and Seidel have done just that, because they will officially join Brunson and the Binions in the Hall of Fame on November 8 during a break in the Main Event.

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