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Jennifer Harman: 'Freaking Unbelievable' To Be Inducted Into The Poker Hall Of Fame

Cash Game Legends Opens Up About What Honor Means To Her


Earlier this month poker pro Jennifer Harman was inducted in the prestigious Poker Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Downtown Las Vegas. Harman and fellow poker legend John Juanda became the 49th and 50th members of the Poker Hall of Fame.

Harman, 50, had been among the 10 finalists several times recently, but had always fallen short until this year. Harman has nearly $2.5 million in tournament earnings, along with two career bracelets, but is known for winning untold millions in the cash games.

Card Player caught up with Harman after her induction to ask her what finally getting in felt like.

Brian Pempus: What does finally getting into the Poker Hall of Fame mean to you?

Jennifer Harman: It’s crazy, there are millions of people who play poker and there are only 50 in the Poker Hall of Fame. It’s quite an honor to be among those players now. It’s freaking unbelievable (laughs). I just feel that I have grinded and put in a lot of hard work to get the recognition for what I’ve done. It makes me feel really good.

BP: Years and years ago, when you first started playing for a living, did you ever think about one day making it into the Poker Hall of Fame?

JH: No, I just wanted to make it into the biggest games. That was my biggest goal when I was playing $30-$60 limit hold’em at the Bicycle Club. Did I ever think I’d be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame? No. It just wasn’t on my radar. I didn’t think I would get the respect of my peers like I have. If you stand the test of the time and you are always playing with them, something good is going to happen, right?

BP: Some people are in the Hall of Fame for what they’ve done on the industry side, others for tournament success, and some for cash game careers. Can you talk about what it means to get in as a cash game player?

JH: Well, it’s all poker, but there are two forms: tournaments and cash games. You play them differently, and I think that some of the cash game players are some of the best [overall] players in the world. They play for huge stakes, so they are comfortable in every situation. I feel that cash game players should be given a lot of consideration because they are the best poker players in the world. I think if they did follow the tournament circuit they would be very successful as well. People who have stood the test of time in big cash games would do very well in tournaments if they played them. It’s difficult because tournaments require a lot of traveling. There are some phenomenal tournament players out there and they should be recognized, but the cash games players should be too.

BP: Can you talk about the challenges of staying in the game over the long-term? I’m talking about preserving a bankroll and patting yourself on the back during a downswing.

JH: Poker is a tough profession. You get a lot of freedom, you get to be your own boss and it has a lot perks to it, but it’s a roller coaster ride. A lot of people call it gambling, but it’s not as we know. But sometimes it feels like it in a given year, or during a long downswing, when you are playing the best you can but the cards are beating the crap out of you and there’s nothing you can do but keep making good decisions, or [take a break], which is a really good decision to make. When you are in these downswings and can’t win a pot, then you lack the ability to be on your top game because the other players won’t allow it. You lack the ability to bluff and pick up small pots in certain situations because they’ll just call you down. You have to make good decisions when you are losing and a lot of poker players don’t. You have to ride the roller coaster. Chip Reese always said that anybody can play well when they are winning, but it’s how they play when they are losing that matters the most. That’s so true. You always have to be objective about how you are playing and why you are staying in the game. Poker is a lifelong game, and you should [step away] when you aren’t playing your best. Sometimes it’s not easy. Even if you’ve done it for as long as I have, if you go on a losing streak you sometimes second guess yourself.

BP: Some people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame after they have passed away. Does it mean anything extra to get in while still at the top of your game and at the height of your career?

JH: Yes, I am happy to be alive (laughs), and to contribute to the Poker Hall of Fame and give my two cents, and be able to vote on the 10 candidates next year. I am happy to be able to contribute to history. I have seen a lot of history during my time in the poker world. I’ve seen a lot of eras. Obviously not like Doyle; I’ve never been at a poker table when someone pulled out a gun, but I have been involved with a lot of different eras.

BP: A lot of people on social media were saying your induction this year was long overdue. Does that make you feel extra good in a way?

JH: Yes, it made me feel great. I love the support, that people have been following my life and career. It made me feel deserving. Poker is a solo sport. You just go play poker and then you leave. You’re the only one who knows how well you are doing. It’s nice to have peers saying you have played really well. That’s your biggest goal; I don’t go into a poker room and say I am going to win this much and quit. I walk into a poker room and try to play the best I can. For people saying that I am long overdue, it’s refreshing for me to know that I have worked so hard at this craft and I am getting recognition for it. It’s a beautiful thing.



over 6 years ago

Congrats to Jennifer Harman !!! for Poker Hall of Fame


over 6 years ago

Well Done :)