Sailor Roberts and Eric Drache are the 2012 Poker HOF Inductees

Eric Drache stands behind Doyle Brunson at early WSOP (Photo courtesy of Gaming.UNLV.edu)

The Poker Hall of Fame inductees for 2012 were announced on Thursday by the group’s Governing Council and they are Eric Drache and Brian “Sailor” Roberts. The two historic figures in the game will become the 43rd and 44th individuals to be inducted into Poker Hall of Fame.

They gained their nominations by public voting and their ultimate induction was voted on by a 36-person panel made up of existing Poker Hall of Famers and members of the media. Drache and Roberts will be inducted officially on Tuesday, October 30 at 3:30 pm at the Rio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; prior to the finale of the 2012 World Series of Poker Main Event in the lobby of the Penn & Teller Theater.

Roberts, who passed away in 1995, was part of poker’s old guard of Texas Road Gamblers along with fellow Hall of Fame members Doyle Brunson and Amarillo Slim Preston. Roberts also won the 1975 WSOP Main Event and he holds two career gold bracelets.

Drache contributed to the game of poker in a variety of ways over the past 30 years, and it was his idea that led to the creation of the Poker Hall of Fame. Drache is also the creator of satellites, the series of smaller buy-in events that instead of awarding money, award seats into larger buy-in events. This creation expanded the ability for players to enter events and it has resulted in increased player entries and prize pools.

“I’m not only surprised and honored to have been selected, I’m also a bit embarrassed considering the other nominees,” Drache told the WSOP. “When Jack Binion and myself worked on creating the Hall of Fame, I never considered myself a potential candidate. I’m particularly happy for the family of Sailor Roberts. Sailor, by everyone’s account, including my own personal observations, was a great player and played many games very well.”

Current Hall of Fame member Crandell Addington told the WSOP the following on behalf of Roberts: “In a time fifty years ago when poker players relied on luck, Sailor was developing sophisticated strategies that would enable him to make his own luck. At a time in which professional poker players were viewed as outlaws and poker was illegal, he formed a partnership with Doyle and Slim and they traveled across the country from poker game to poker game. They deployed advanced strategies unknown at the time that featured playing their opponents hands on many occasions rather than their own hands. More often than not, they got the money.”

The Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council also congratulated the other 2012 finalists, all whom remain eligible for future induction: Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Thor Hansen, George Hardie, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, John Juanda, Tom McEvoy and Scotty Nguyen.

The Poker Hall of Fame was established in 1979, and was acquired by Caesars Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004. The members of the Hall of Fame include poker’s most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are now 19 living members of the 44 total members.

The main criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
  • 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.
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