Finalists for 2020 Poker Hall of Fame Revealed
The poker world was thrown into upheaval due to COVID-19. At one point, we didn’t think we would get a World Series of Poker. Since that time, we’ve had the WSOP online and a hybrid 2020 WSOP Main Event. Even the Poker Hall of Fame was impacted as there will only be one inductee in 2020.
Last week, WSOP officials released the 2020 list of finalists for the Poker Hall of Fame. The list is a mix of players, contributors, and even the most recognized voices of televised poker in history.
Poker Hall of Fame Finalists for 2020 Announced
After an abbreviated fan nomination process, the list of finalists for the 2020 Poker Hall of Fame was released last Friday. This year’s list includes 11 names, with the first duo in history being up for nomination. Here’s a list of the finalists:
- Patrick Antonius
- Eli Elezra
- Chris Ferguson
- Ted Forrest
- Huckleberry Seed
- Mike Matusow
- Matt Savage
- Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
- Isai Scheinberg
- Antonio Esfandiari
You will notice that broadcasters Lon McEachern and Norman Chad are listed together. The pair have worked together covering the World Series of Poker for ESPN for decades and you don’t think of one without the other. As such, the pair are being considered together as a pair. This is the first time in poker history a duo has been up for nomination.
The 10 finalists for the 2020 Poker Hall of Fame were announced yesterday. Who do you think will make it in this year?
— PokerNews (@PokerNews) December 19, 2020
You will likely notice that there are no Aussies on this list. The Poker Hall of Fame has been predominately American for many years. While there are international representatives on this list, Australia is shut out yet again.
Half of the Field Has No Shot in 2020
Normally, one could make a strong argument for all players on the list of finalists, but this year is a bit different. Only the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame are voting. Knowing their tendencies, at least half of this list has no shot at induction.
Let’s first look at the contributors. Matt Savage is a great tournament director, but his influence does not stretch much beyond that. Lon McEachern and Norman Chad are HOF broadcasters, but again, their impact is limited.
Isai Scheinberg will get into the HOF one day, but not this year as certain members view him more as someone taking advantage of poker players. However, once voting goes back to including media and other industry professionals, Isai gets in.
I love Mike Matusow as a player and personality, but his consistency has always been lacking. He won’t get in unless that changes. Antonio Esfandiari will get into the Hall of Fame one day, but there are others that will leapfrog above him this year.
The Best of the Rest
Only five players on this list have a shot of getting inducted this year. I put Chris Ferguson on this list because it is the living HOF members voting. Some still view him favorably and Ferguson does have a HOF resume. This is his one chance of getting in.
Eli Elezra is another player who will go in and maybe this year. He ticks all of the boxes that the old school players like to see and is well-liked. The same can be said for Huck Seed and Patrik Antonius. However, the player most likely to be inducted is the player who has fought in the trenches with many HOF members.
1 I have 10 votes to cast on these Poker Hall of Fame candidates: Patrick Antonius, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Lon McEachern AND Norman Chad, Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg, Huck Seed. All 10 will make it eventually, but who in 2020?
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) December 18, 2020
Ted Forrest has just about done everything possible in the game. He has played the highest stakes, won WSOP bracelets, and won millions in poker. He was even on the team of players that played Andy Beal for millions. In the end, I think Forrest’s allies in the PHOF elect him in this year.
Hopefully, we go back to inducting multiple players and including more than just the living HOF members. This will allow for a more transparent process and help to clear up a little of the backlog in HOF-eligible players and contributors.
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