Fan Nominations Open for 2021 Poker Hall of Fame Class
With the 2021 World Series of Poker underway, it's time to start thinking about which player or industry personnel best deserves to become the 60th member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Fans can already nominate a candidate on the WSOP website. According to the WSOP, nominations must be submitted by October 14.
Who will join the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, and Daniel Negreanu among poker's most elite club? We don't know the answer to that question just yet, but we do know it will be someone who meets the following criteria:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
- Played for high stakes
- Be a minimum of 40 years old at the 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
Current State of the Poker Hall of Fame
There are currently 59 members of the Poker Hall of Fame. Huck Seed, the 1996 world champion, was inducted last year. In 2020, the WSOP decided to switch from inducting two individuals annually to just one. That led to some heated debate on social media. But the purpose of the move was to ensure only the best of the best are reaching the Hall of Fame.
This could spark even more heated debate in about 4-5 years when players such as Tom Dwan, Scott Seiver, Justin Bonomo, Phil Galfond, Bryn Kenney, and others all become eligible within a two-year span.
The 59 current members of the Poker Hall of Fame:
|Tom Abdo||1982||Barry Greenstein||2011||Johnny Moss||1979|
|Crandell Addington||2005||Jennifer Harman||2015||Daniel Negreanu||2014|
|Bobby Baldwin||2003||Dan Harrington||2010||Scotty Nguyen||2013|
|Billy Baxter||2006||Murph Harrold||1984||David Oppenheim||2019|
|Lyle Berman||2002||Phil Hellmuth||2007||Henry Orenstein||2008|
|Joe Bernstein||1983||John Hennigan||2018||Walter "Puggy" Pearson||1987|
|Benny Binion||1990||James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok||1979||Julius Oral Popwell||1996|
|Jack Binion||2005||Red Hodges||1985||Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston||1992|
|Bill Boyd||1981||Edmond Hoyle||1979||David "Chip" Reese||1991|
|Doyle Brunson||1988||Phil Ivey||2017||Brian "Sailor" Roberts||2012|
|Todd Brunson||2016||Linda Johnson||2011||Huck Seed||2020|
|Johnny Chan||2002||Berry Johnston||2004||Erik Seidel||2010|
|T.J. Cloutier||2006||John Juanda||2015||Mike Sexton||2009|
|Nick Dandolos||1979||Jack Keller||1993||Jack "Treetop" Straus||1988|
|Eric Drache||2012||Jack McClelland||2014||Dewey Tomko||2008|
|Barbara Enright||2007||Felton McCorquodale||1979||David "Devilfish" Ulliott||2017|
|Mori Eskandani||2018||Tom McEvoy||2013||Stu Ungar||2001|
|Fred "Sarge" Ferris||1989||Chris Moneymaker||2019||Red Winn||1979|
|Henry Green||1986||Roger Moore||1997||Sid Wyman||1979|
|T "Blondie" Forbes||1980||Carlos Mortensen||2016|
Inducting a player or industry person into the Poker Hall of Fame is a two-part process. It all starts with the aforementioned fan vote, which ends October 14. The WSOP will tally up the votes and advance the top 10 vote getters to the next step.
Current members of the Hall of Fame will then cast their ballot from the fan nominations list, and the individual who receives the most votes will be inducted into the 2021 Poker Hall of Fame.
The WSOP informed PokerNews that a special ceremony for the inductee will be hosted on November 17 at the Rio, during Event #79: $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty No-Limit Hold'em.
Seed beat out a list of players and poker industry giants full of talent last year. Those who missed the cut in 2020 are again eligible, and one of them will likely get inducted this time around.
That list includes Patrik Antonius, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Matusow, Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg, Eli Elezra, Ted Forrest, and Chris Ferguson. It's tough to imagine Ferguson will make the final cut even though he has a Hall of Fame worthy career on the felt. But with many fans still upset about the Full Tilt Poker scandal in 2011, he's going to have a difficult time getting into the HOF.
Esfandari, Antonius, Elezra, Matusow, and Forrest all have impressive poker resumes. Matusow, for example, has four WSOP bracelets and has a large fan base. But this year's inductee just might be a non-player.
Savage, the WPT's executive tour director, has been an innovative and unifying member of the poker community for years. His role in creating universally enforced tournament rules is immeasurable. Last year, he came close to reaching the Poker Hall of Fame, and will have a shot to get over the hump in 2021.