The 10 finalists being considered for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame this year have now been revealed in a recent press release from the World Series of Poker (WSOP). The journey to selecting the newest Hall of Famers started with the public nomination process, followed by a brief evaluation conducted by the Poker Hall of Fame’s Governing Council to make sure that the candidates meet the requirements for induction.
Nine of the ten finalists are returnees, with Antonio Esfandiari being the only newcomer. This marks the first time that “The Magician” has become eligible for nomination, having celebrated his 40th birthday in December 2018.
Let’s take a look at each of the 10 candidates this year.
The American poker pro has won six WSOP events, including the $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold’em World Championship back in 2000 where he earned $1.5 million. This year marks a return for Ferguson who had been left off of the ballot for several years. While his nomination is expected to spark some of the most deep-rooted reactions from the world of poker due to his perceived involvement in the Full Tilt Poker disaster, his accomplishments at the WSOP are hard to ignore.
Known to the poker community as “The Mouth”, Matusow definitely has a lot to say in relation to his achievements in the game. A person who always wears his heart on his sleeve, the 51-year-old is a four-time WSOP champ, with career tournament earnings of more than $9.5 million.
Oppenheim is among poker’s best cash game players. He finished third in the 2010 WSOP Poker Players Championship for $603,348. His tournament earnings of $1,866,190 pales in comparison with the other nominees but his profound experience in the game makes him one of the smartest and most skillful players on the felt.
Seed has won four WSOP bracelets, with career tournament earnings of $7.6 million. The California native is a versatile poker pro, earning WSOP gold in various formats, including Razz and PLO. He has been playing poker since 1990, delivering consistent results.
Forrest is a six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner, earning more than $6.3 million throughout his career which spans three decades. He built a reputation back in 1993 when he won three consecutive events in three variants of poker at the WSOP. He has also won a number of other major tournaments, with a WPT and a National Heads Up title in his arsenal.
Moneymaker’s WSOP Main Event win in 2003 revolutionized poker. He will always be remembered as the accountant from Tennessee who transformed an online satellite fee of $39 to a massive $2.5 million after winning the WSOP Main Event in his first attempt at the live felt, defeating some of the world’s best poker players.
A former army lieutenant in Israel, Elezra turned to poker after suffering a leg injury in the 1982 Lebanon War. The 58-year-old has four WSOP gold bracelets and a WPT title in his resume. He now lives in Las Vegas with his family and mostly plays high stakes. With a poker career spanning two decades, Elezra has earned more than $3.7 million in tournament winnings.
This dealer-turned-poker pro is a five-time WSOP winner, taking down events in different formats, including Limit Hold’em, Omaha Eight or Better and Seven Card Stud. His victories aren’t limited to the WSOP as he also has one WPT title which he won in 2008. His career tournament earnings currently sit at over $8 million.
Bjorin boasts an impressive WSOP record, with two bracelets, 94 cashes and 9 Main Event cashes. The 71-year-old poker pro is currently ranked second on Sweden’s all-time money list, with more than $5.7 million in total tournament earnings.
Esfandiari has three WSOP bracelets with earnings of $21,835,100. He currently sits at the top of WSOP’s all-time money list. His most notable win took place in 2012 when he took down the inaugural $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop event, defeating Sam Trickett heads-up to win a whopping $18,346,673 – the largest single prize in poker history.
Now that the 10 nominees have been announced, the process moves on to the final voting panel which is comprised of 30 living Hall of Famers and 21 members from poker industry media. The latest inductees will be revealed on July 15, as part of the 2019 WSOP Main Event final table publicity.
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