Ligaz11 Hall of Fame
Each year the poker Hall of Fame at Binion’s Horseshoe adds another player’s name to its list of poker legends.
Since its inception in 1979, the Hall of Fame has honored twenty-two gamblers, one for each year, with the exception of 1993. All but two, Hoyle and Hickok, were twentieth-century card players, and many of them road gamblers who followed the game where it would take them. There are six living Hall-of-Famers, enshrined alongside other members of poker’s elite at the display at the Horseshoe.
Selection criteria for the Hall of Fame are straightforward and the standards are high:
A gambler must have played poker against acknowledged top competition,
Played for high stakes,
Played consistently well, gained the respect of peers,
And stood the test of time.
The Poker Hall of Fame
Names are listed with the year they were inducted.
Felton Felton “Corky” McCorquodale, 1979
A noted no-limit gambler, Corky introduced Texas hold ’em to Las Vegas in 1963. He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member. Deceased.
Johnny MossJohnny Moss, 1979
Ageless patriarch of the game, Johnny Moss was a three-time world no-limit Texas hold ’em champion (1970, 1971, and 1974). He lived in Las Vegas until his death in 1997. In 1979 he was enshrined as a charter member.
Red WinnRed Winn, 1979
Known as a quintessential all-around player, Red Winn was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member. Deceased.
Sid WymanSid Wyman, 1979
From the early 1950’s to the late 1970s, Sid was co-owner of several ligaz11 gaming properties, including the Sands, Riviera, and the old Dunes. The Missouri-born Wyman was a noted high-stakes gambler who excelled at poker. He died in June 1978. Casino play was halted for two minutes at the Dunes at the hour of his funeral. He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member.
Nick the Greek”Nick the Greek” Dandolos, 1979
Known for making astronomical wagers in Las Vegas casinos, Nick became a household name. Late in his career, Dandolos was near broke and playing low-limit poker in Southern California. Asked how he could bet millions of dollars once and now play for $5 chips, Dandolos was purported to have said “Hey, it’s action.” He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member. Deceased.
Edmond HoyleEdmond Hoyle, 1979
For more than two centuries, card players have played “according to Hoyle”, which has become synonymous with conformity to rules. Born circa 1672 in England, Hoyle wrote his first book, A Short Treatise on the Game of Whist in 1742. The book, a classic, was used to settle differences during games played by London society. Hoyle died August 30, 1769, at age ninety-seven. The eighteenth-century author was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member.
Wild Bill”Wild Bill” Hickok, 1979
James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok, a nineteenth-century gambler and lawman, was killed while playing poker. He held aces and eights, which became known as “The Dead Man’s Hand.” Hickok is perhaps the most recognizable name in the shrine at least to those outside of poker circles. He was a scout in the Civil War, a marshal in Kansas, and later toured with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show as a sharpshooter. His shoot-out with the McCanles gang — he killed three of them — made Hickok a legend in his own time. While playing in a poker game in a saloon at Deadwood in the Dakota Territory (now South Dakota), he was shot in the back by “Crooked Nose” McCall and died on August 2, 1876, at age thirty-nine. He was enshrined in 1979 as a charter member.
- Blondie ForbesT. “Blondie” Forbes, 1980
A master road gambler, Blondie was enshrined in 1980. Deceased.
Bill BoydBill Boyd, 1981
Regarded as one of the best five-card stud players of all time, Bill was several times champion of the event at the World Series of Poker. He was ceremonially dealt the first poker hands at both the Golden Nugget and Mirage cardrooms. Retired from professional poker, Boyd was selected to be a Hall-of-Famer in 1981, and lived in Las Vegas until his death on Nov. 21, 1997.
Tom AbdoTom Abdo, 1982
After suffering a heart attack at the poker table, Tom turned to another player and asked him to count his chips down and save his seat. He died that night, intending to return to the game. He was enshrined in 1982.
Joe BernsteinJoe Bernstein, 1983
A sharp road gambler; Joe was known as a dapper dresser at the poker table. He was enshrined in 1983. Deceased.
Murph HarroldMurph Harrold, 1984
Regarded as one of the best deuce-to-seven draw (Kansas City lowball) players of all time, Murph was enshrined in 1984. Deceased.
Red HodgesRed Hodges, 1985
Considered one of the best seven-card stud players of all time, Red was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1985. Deceased.
Henry GreenHenry Green, 1986
A road gambler from Alabama, Henry Green was an even tempered player who was skilled at all forms of poker. He was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1986. Deceased.
Puggy PearsonPuggy Pearson, 1987
A husky, cigar-chomping Tennessee born gambler, Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson won the world title in 1973. Considered a great seven-card stud player, he is noted for his aggressive style, an erratic temper, and homespun philosophy. He was made a Hall-of-Famer in 1987 at age 58. An active professional gambler, he lives in Las Vegas.
Doyle BrunsonDoyle Brunson, 1988
A hulking-Texas-born gambler who won the 1976 and 1977 world titles, Doyle was the first player to win $1 million in tournament play. His book Super/System is an acclaimed study of his high stakes poker. Brunson got his nickname “Texas Dolly” when Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder misread “Doyle” as “Dolly.” Enshrined in 1988 at age fifty-four, he’s an active professional gambler who lives in Las Vegas.
Jack StrausJack Straus, 1988 – An aggressive gambler noted for imaginative play, Jack won the 1982 world title.The salt-and-pepper-bearded, Texas-born gambler was noted for spinning poker yarns. Nicknamed “Treetop,” Straus stood six-foot-six. He died in August 1988 at age 58 after suffering a heart attack during a high-stakes poker game at the Bicycle Club in Bell Gardens, California. He was enshrined at the first Hall of Fame Classic that year.
Fred Sarge FerrisFred “Sarge” Ferris, 1989
A New England-born son of Lebanese immigrants, Sarge became a professional gambler to escape the poverty of his youth. He won the 1980 deuce-to-seven draw world title. He gained notoriety when, on April 22, 1983, the Internal Revenue Service seized $46,000 worth of chips from him during a high-stakes game at the Horseshoe. He died of a heart attack in March 1989, the year he was enshrined.
Benny BinionBenny Binion, 1990
A colorful cowboy and gambler. Benny Binion founded the Horseshoe casino in downtown Las Vegas. In 1970, he inaugurated the World Series of Poker as a gambler’s convention at the resort. He died on Christmas Day 1989, at age 85. He was enshrined in 1990. A tempered player who was skilled at all forms of poker, he was selected for the Hall of Fame in 1986. Deceased.
Chip Reese”Chip” Reese, 1991
David Edward “Chip” Reese came to Las Vegas in 1974 with $400 in his pocket and started at the $10 limit tables. He quickly rose to become one of the game’s best all-around high-stakes players. The Ohio-born gambler who began playing poker for baseball cards at age six, is a Dartmouth graduate. He was enshrined in 1991 at age 40, the youngest Hall-of-Famer ever. An active professional gambler he lives in Las Vegas.
Amarillo Slim”Amarillo Slim” Preston, 1992
A fast-talking, flamboyant Texas gambler and poker tournament promoter, Thomas Austin “Amarillo Slim” Preston won the world title in 1972. Unlike many gamblers of his era, he sought out publicity by going on national talk shows after winning the World Series. He was enshrined in 1992 at age 62. Preston has not competed in major Las Vegas tournaments in recent years. He resides in Texas.
Jack KellerJack Keller, 1993
“Gentleman Jack” has been one of the most consistent players since arriving in Las Vegas from Philadelphia in the early 1980s and is the 1984 World Champion. Enshrined in 1994 at age 51, he is an active professional gambler who lives in Mississippi.
Little Man PopwellJulius Oral “Little Man” Popwell, 1996
Popwell was a gambler of near-mythical stature. He was posthumously inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1996. His road games were five-card stud. He played against Johnny Moss, Henry Green and others in the ’40s and ’50s. Deceased.
Roger MooreRoger Moore, 1997
In 1974 Moore entered his first World Series of Poker and hasn’t missed one since. Born into adversity as the son of a sharecropper, Moore has earned the reputation as one of pokers most determined and formidable practitioners. He has preformed admirably against most of the giants of the game, including fellow Hall of Famers Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese, Amarillo Slim, Jack Straus, Puggy Pearson and Jack Keller. Moore is the 1994 World Series of Poker $5000 Seven Card Stud World Champion and has placed in the money 15 times. Along with his three runner-up finishes, he has been in the money in the championship event three times. WSOP lifetime money earnings: $400,378.
Stu UngarStu Ungar, 2001
When anyone talks about the greatest poker players of all time, Stu Ungar’s name will surface immediately. He is considered by many to have been the greatest No Limit Hold’em player of all time.
Ungar was a three-time World Champion (with five WSOP bracelets). He won ten major No Limit Hold’em championship events (in which the buy-ins were $5,000 or higher). Amazingly, Ungar only played in about 30 of these championship events in his lifetime.
Lyle BermanLyle Berman, 2002
Berman prefers high-stakes cash games to tournaments, although he has played in a few. He is a three-time winner at the World Series of Poker: Limit Omaha in ’89, no-limit hold’em in ’92, and deuce-to-seven draw in ’94). He finished second at the WSOP four times. In 1991, he won the $5,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em championship at the Hall of Fame Poker Classic. Berman doesn’t play many tournaments and yet considering the number of events he has played, his record is worthy of the Hall of Fame.
Johnny ChanJohnny Chan, 2002
Johnny Chan is used to being first. The winner of back-to-back World Championships in 1987 and 1988, Johnny is also first in money won all-time at the World Series of Poker.
He’s also the first poker-playing movie star.
It was Chan (shown repeatedly on videotape trapping Erik Seidel to win his first championship) that Matt Damon idolized in the movie ‘Rounders.’ To many younger Americans, Johnny Chan may be the only poker player they would be able to name.
It may come as a surprise to some that Johnny Chan isn’t already in the Poker Hall of Fame. It’s not an oversight. It’s because Johnny is still so young. Not yet 50 years old, Chan had unusual success very early. Always known as one of the finest No-Limit Hold’em players who ever lived, Johnny Chan qualifies easily for Hall of Fame membership because Johnny has always taken on all comers. Chan has played in the biggest games going for the last quarter century. Nicknamed by the pundits as “The Great Wall of China” and “The Orient Express” Johnny Chan is also one of the most approachable and well-liked of former World Champions.
In this year’s World Series of Poker, Chan won his 7th bracelet to leave him only one behind the legends Johnny Moss and Doyle Brunson. Oh, and fittingly, the great Johnny Chan is the first Asian-American in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Johnny Chan is truly first among equals.
Lyle Berman, fellow Hall of Fame 2002 Inductee, introduced Johnny before the start of the Championship Event. He reminded the audience that Chan started playing poker at the $2/$4 level. He cautioned all players that if they couldn’t beat that game, they wouldn’t be able to beat $10/$20 and above. So don’t ask him for a stake.
Johnny thanked Lyle for the introduction and the Hall of Fame for the “honor.’ Then he told the dealers, “Shuffle up and deal.”