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McEvoy falls short in bid for Hall of Fame glory

19 October 2009

Tom McEvoy fully admits that he's "deeply disappointed" he didn't make it into the Poker Hall of Fame this year. And he's not ashamed to confess that he strongly believes he belongs in the exclusive club.

At the same time he is genuinely thrilled that his friend Mike Sexton will be inducted at the Hall of Fame ceremony in Las Vegas on Nov. 7.

"I will be the first to shake his hand and congratulate him," McEvoy told Casino City on Sunday from his home in Las Vegas. "He's a worthy candidate and if I had a vote, I most definitely would have voted for Mike. I'm real happy for him."

Tom_McEvoy

Tom McEvoy was hoping his victory at the WSOP's Champions Invitational this past summer would help him make it into the Poker Hall of Fame this year, but he fell short.

But what McEvoy doesn't agree with is the new voting process that was introduced by Harrah's this year. Nominations for the Hall of Fame were opened up to the general public with the top candidates then passed on to a voting panel made up of the 17 living members of the Hall of Fame and 15 media members.

The final nominees were Sexton, McEvoy, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, Barry Greenstein, Men Nguyen, Scotty Nguyen and Dan Harrington. Tom Dwan was also on the list but was then taken off by Harrah's because it felt he didn't meet the criteria. The 32 voters were asked to select up to three players to be inducted. They also had an option to vote for nobody. In order to make it into the Hall, players needed to make 75% of the ballots. This year Mike Sexton was the lone candidate to make it in.

"I hope this doesn't sound like sour grapes, because it isn't, but there's a flaw in the system," McEvoy said. "I think the new balloting system makes it too hard to get in. If there are 32 ballots, you need to get on 24 of them to get in. That's a lot. Especially when you have so many great candidates like we did this year. I think we all kind of canceled one another out on a lot of ballots because they could only select a maximum of three players."

McEvoy said he thinks the system should be tweaked because it could cause problems in the future.

"With the way it is now, there's a real chance that some year nobody will get in," he said. "Then what are they going to do? That would be kind of embarrassing I think. In past years, they always inducted more than one player per year. Mike's a great choice. He's a Hall of Famer, for sure. But I think myself and some of the other nominees were deserving as well."

The main criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame included that the player must have "played poker against acknowledged top competition, 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."

McEvoy is the 1983 World Series of Poker Main Event champion and also had three other bracelets to his name. The 64-year-old has served as a poker instructor, authored 13 books and was instrumental in orchestrating the first smoke-free poker tournament in Nevada, which helped turn the WSOP into a smoke-free event beginning in 2002. Seven years ago, McEvoy pioneered what has become commonplace in the sport when he was the first professional player to sign on with PokerStars.

And this past summer, McEvoy won the inaugural Champions Invitational the WSOP , beating out a field of 20 former Main Event champions. After winning that event, McEvoy said that he hoped it would put him over the top for the Hall of Fame.

"It wasn't enough, but I guess there's always next year," he said. "Even still, I'm looking forward to going to the Hall of Fame ceremony and being there to support Mike. He was a great choice and he deserves to be in there. But I wish I was going in with him. I guess I may wear my heart of my sleeve a little too much, but that's how I feel. I'm disappointed."

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Gary Trask

Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT
Gary Trask
Gary serves as Casino City's managing editor and has more than 20 years experience as a writer and editor.

A member of the inaugural Poker Hall of Fame Media Committee, Gary enjoys playing poker and blackjack, but spends most of his time sitting in the comfy confines of the sportsbook when in Las Vegas.

The Boston native is also a former PR pro in the golf-casino-resort industry and a fanatical golfer, allowing his two favorite hobbies - gambling and golf - to collide quite naturally.

Contact Gary at gary@casinocity.com and follow him on Twitter at @CasinoCityGT.

Gary Trask Websites:

twitter.com/#!/casinocityGT