Published on
Update on

The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has recently released the list of 10 finalists that stand a chance of being inducted into the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame class. These 10 nominees were determined following a public nomination process which was then followed by screening by the Poker Hall of Fame’s Governing Council. As it has always been, poker enthusiasts will be able to cast their votes and decide who they want to be immortalized in the Hall of Fame.

According to the World Series of Poker, the criteria for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame are as follows:

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

These criteria have been subject to a bit of criticism and debate in recent years especially with regards to the fact that it allows even people with relatively “not-so-elite” poker resumes to match up with people with such qualifications. A great example is the inclusion of popular poker ambassadors such as Chris Moneymaker, whose poker resumes may not be quite as polished as some of the other nominees.

The 10 Potential Inductees

  1. Chris Bjorin
  2. David Chiu
  3. Eli Elezra
  4. Antonio Esfandiari
  5. Chris Ferguson
  6. Ted Forrest
  7. Mike Matusow
  8. Chris Moneymaker
  9. David Oppenheim
  10. Huck Seed

Only One First-Timer

This year, Antonio Esfandiari is the only first-timer in the nomination list but unlike in previous years, all of the ten finalists are known almost exclusively for their poker playing experiences and skills. The first-timer, for instance, has also been involved in some color commentary on poker broadcasts but he is best known for his victorious triumph in the inaugural WSOP Big One for One Drop event that featured a $1 million buy-in and a record-setting $18.346 million first-place prize.

The Induction Process

Now that the list of nominees has been announced, the next step of the process will be carried out by the Poker Hall of Fame’s induction committee. This committee comprises of a total of 30 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame as well as a 21-person panel of media members who cover the poker industry.

The committee will vote over the next two weeks and each of the members will have a bloc of ten votes that they will be allowed to distribute between one or more of the nominees. Eventually, two of the 10 nominees will be enshrined to honorees and they will be announced on July 15 as part of the ESPN broadcast of the World Series of Poker main event final table.