WSOP Announces 10 Hall of Fame Finalists

WSOP Announces 10 Hall of Fame Finalists

As the 50th Annual World Series of Poker flew past the halfway mark last week, there was more going on behind the scenes than tabulating prize pools and payouts. It was time to gather the names of all of the poker legends nominated for the Poker Hall of Fame and narrow the list down to the 10 people with the most votes.

On June 23, the list of the 10 finalists was announced.

Most of the nominees will come as no surprise, as they have been nominated at least once in past years. The only new name on the list this year is Antonio Esfandiari.

2019 HOF Finalists

Without further ado, the names of the 10 finalists for induction into the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame, in alphabetical order, are:

Chris Bjorin

David Chiu

Eli Elezra

Antonio Esfandiari

Chris Ferguson

Ted Forrest

Mike Matusow

Chris Moneymaker

David Oppenheim

Huckleberry Seed

As mentioned, Esfandiari is the only new name on the list. Oppenheim made his debut on the list in 2018, and Chiu, Matusow, and Seed have now been on the list for three years running. Bjorin and Moneymaker had been nominated in 2018 and in previous years.

Many poker fans will remember the 2018 Poker Hall of Fame inductees.

Poker player, producer, and content creator Mori Eskandani was inducted last year, as was poker pro John “Johnny World” Hennigan.

Final Voting Process

From this point, the public voting is over, and the rest is left up to two groups, all members with equal voting rights. One group consists of the 30 living Poker Hall of Fame members, and the other is a 21-person panel of members of the poker media.

Ballots will be sent to all of the 51 voters, and they must return them to the WSOP Governing Council by July 8. That council will tally the votes and determine the inductees for 2019. This could be one, two, or even three people, depending upon the outcome of the voting process.

The names of the final inductee(s) will be announced soon after the July 8 voting deadline, and the awards ceremony will take place alongside the WSOP Main Event final table action on July 15. It will be televised as a part of the ESPN broadcast.

Inductee Qualifications

All of the nominees have already met the basic qualifications, but the criteria for inductees will be more seriously examined during on the final ballots. The qualifications for induction are as follows:

–Must have played poker against acknowledged top competition

–Must be at least 40 years old at the time of nomination

–Must have played for high stakes

–Must have played consistently well and gained the respect of his or her peers

–Must have stood the test of time

Non-players can be considered if they have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker with indelible positive and lasting results. In the 2019 list of finalists, this may apply – with other criteria – to Chris Moneymaker, who rarely plays high-stakes poker.

It can and should be noted that all of the nominees in 2019 are male, and most are based in the United States with the most notable exception of Chris Bjorin. Elezra, Chiu, and Esfandiari have globally diverse ethnic backgrounds but all claim the US as home.


About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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