For more than four decades and counting, the prestigious Poker Hall of Fame has welcomed one or two deserving candidates every year into their roster of poker legacies. Established in 1979 to serve as a tourist attraction to the Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas, the class has evolved to become one of the most highly esteemed titles bestowed in the industry. As of 2020, a total of 58 individuals have been inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, 31 members of which are still living and will have the voting power for this year’s pick among the ten respectable finalists.
Ten nominees down to one
The final ten nominees were recently announced by the World Series of Poker after a two weeks-long public nomination by poker fans themselves. Making the list are Patrik Antonius, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg and Huckleberry Seed. While the majority have already been nominated previously, Finnish pro Patrik Antonius, WSOP commentator duo Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, and PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg receive first time nominations into the elite club.
With only one individual set to make the Poker Hall of Fame this year, voters are divided as to whom they believe is the most worthy of getting inducted. Ten points to be distributed or solely rewarded are allotted per member where the candidate with the most garnered points will receive the coveted entry into the Hall. While poker players Antonius and Esfandiari have a great shot into making it this year, one of the favorites to win is actually non-player Scheinberg for his modern innovations that ultimately changed and evolved the game of poker.
It’s been a long time coming for Isai Schienberg to be on the nomination list and he got all 10 of my votes this year.
A builder category without Isai is no builder category at all.
His innovations changed poker forever. https://t.co/VQgE7BYNYv
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) December 18, 2020
Erik Seidel, who was voted into the Hall back in 2010, also took to Twitter to share his decision of splitting his ten points to nominees Seed and Scheinberg.
After careful thought, & consulting people who’s opinions I value going to split my vote between Huck & Isai
So many great choices who have all helped grow the game, but these 2 seem the most deserving to me
— Erik Seidel (@Erik_Seidel) December 20, 2020
Chris Moneymaker, who rose to fame after his outstanding 2003 WSOP Main Event win and was inducted just last year, likewise posted a series of tweets regarding his breakdown of points for this year’s finalists. Similar to fellow Hall of Famers, Scheinberg remained one of his top picks in which he noted, “6 Isai changed my life! and many others. Always respected him and enjoyed time spent 14/10.”
Although some leads may give us an idea on who might possibly receive an entry this year, the exciting announcement will come right before the WSOP Main Event heads up final table finale at the Rio All-suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on December 30, 2020.
Qualifications for the Poker Hall of Fame
Two impressive individuals have been inducted each year for the past decade and a half and while recent rulings have reduced it back to only a one member class to maintain the Hall’s value and prestige, the qualifications necessary to becoming a finalist remains the same.
According to the WSOP, the criteria stands as follows:
• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
• Played for high stakes
• Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
• 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.
Nominations initially began earlier this month with fans tasked to submit their nominees online along with a brief explanation as to why they believe such an individual is deserving of the award. The top ten nominees were then reviewed by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council to deem their eligibility as to whether each of the listed criteria has been met.
Help Identify Who Should Join Poker’s Most Elite Club; The 2020 inductee will be announced Wed., Dec. 30 prior to the Main Event Finale.
Submit your nominations here: https://t.co/W1qzeZu5YB pic.twitter.com/JOu4K5GUaf
— WSOP (@WSOP) December 1, 2020
With the ten finalists announced, only a week is left until the 59th member becomes inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. Until then, poker enthusiasts and fans will have to patiently wait and settle for the present clues as to how the voting will turn out.
Here’s a look at the inductees welcomed into the Hall within the most recent ten years:
|2012||Brian “Sailor” Roberts|
|2017||David “Devilfish” Ulliott|