A look at the 40 Poker Hall of Fame members Part 2 of 5
The Poker Hall of Fame was created in 1979 by Benny Binion, who also created the World Series of Poker. The Hall of Fame was like anything else Binion decided to do, aimed at bringing tourists to the Horseshoe Casino.
The inaugural class of the Poker Hall of Fame contained seven inductees including posthumous inductees “Wild Bill” Hickock and Sir Edmund Hoyle. Since 1979 the Poker Hall of Fame has been one of the hardest nuts to crack with no more than two players being honored with induction in any single year (sometimes zero).
While many of the early players inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame are almost completely unknown, their contributions to the game when poker was in its infancy helped blaze the trail for what poker has become today.
This 5-Part series will take a quick look at the 40 members of the Poker Hall of Fame continuing on with the players inducted between 1980 and 1989:
Blondie Forbes -1980: Forbes is yet another of the mysterious road gamblers such as McCorquadale and Winn; Forbes is credited with inventing Texas Holdem. Forbes was the first person inducted after the famed 1979 inaugural class.
Bill Boyd -1981: Boyd was an excellent poker player -as his 4 WSOP bracelets attest to-but was even more prominently known for running The Golden Nugget for the better part of five decades! Boyd is also credited with turning Omaha Poker into a casino poker variant.
Tom Abdo -1982: Abdo is amongst three poker Hall of Fame members known to have died while playing poker -Wild Bill Hickock and Jack “Treetop” Strauss being the others-other than that little is known about Abdo. It is rumored that after suffering a heart attack Abdo asked the player next to him to count his chips and save his seat; he died later that night.
Joe Bernstein -1983: From 1983 to 1986 the Poker hall of Fame inducted seemingly anonymous road gamblers; Bernstein is the lone player of the group to have won a WSOP bracelet in 1973, playing in a $10k A-5 Lowball tournament. What else do we know about Joe Bernstein? Apparently he was well-dressed when he played poker!
Murph Harrold -1984: An early road gambler, Harrold was considered one of the best 2-7 Lowball players of all-time -known as Kansas City Lowball at the time.
Red Hodges -1985: Red was such an early road gambler you can’t even find a picture of him! The closest I’ve found is what looks like a police sketch artist’s rendition of Red Hodges. Hodges was thought to be one of the best 7-Card-Stud players in the history of poker.
Henry Green -1986: The Alabaman Green was one of the first well-rounded poker players, able to compete in just about any poker variant at the highest level.
Walter Clyde “Puggy” Pearson -1987: The run of road gamblers continued in 1987, but this time the inductee was one of the most well-known players in the game, 1973 WSOP Champion Puggy Pearson. Pearson was the first non-Texan to win the WSOP and is credited with the idea for a “Freeze-Out” tournament. Pearson won 4 WSOP bracelets in his career.
Doyle Brunson -1988: It amazes me that Brunson wasn’t inducted until 1988, considering Texas Dolly was considered one of the game’s all-time greats as far back as the 1960’s. Brunson owns what can only be considered the most distinguished poker career in history: 10 WSOP bracelets, success in tournaments and cash-games for over 50 years, best-selling poker author, and even online poker mogul are parts of Brunson’s extensive resume.
Jack Treetop Straus -1988: Strauss’s greatest contribution to poker may have been the coining of the phrase “A chip and a chair”, which is attributed to Strauss after he found a lone chip under his napkin after losing an all-in confrontation during the 1982 WSOP Championship; Strauss went on to win the tournament.
Fred “Sarge” Ferris -1989: Ferris is best known for having the IRS confiscate $43,000 from him while he played poker at the Horseshoe. Known as a cash-game specialist “Sarge” also had a WSOP bracelet to his credit.