The race to the hall of fame status is heating up with 10 finalists being nominated to battle it out for the two slots available. The two deserving individuals will be inducted later this year.
Here are the nominees
1. Chris Bjorin
2. David Chiu
3. Eli Elezra
4. Antonio Esfandiari
5. Chris Ferguson
6. Ted Forrest
7. Mike Matusow
8. David Oppenheim
9. Chris Moneymaker
10. Huck Seed
All of the nominees, except Antonio Esfandiari, have been previously nominated. However, the nomination of Esfandiari is no fluke as he has been successfully grinding high-stakes tournaments for a couple of years now. As a matter of fact, he tops the WSOP all-time money list with earnings in the excess of $21 million.
The induction criteria
1. To be eligible for induction, a player must be 40 years or older
2. Must have played high stakes
3. His playing record must show consistency
4. Must have played against top competition
The fate of the 10 nominees is currently in the hands of 51 individuals drawn from the poker community- A panel of hall of fame members and poker industry media personalities. Final balloting will be carried out on July 8.
The two “new hall of famers” will be announced on July 15 during the WSOP main event final table.
Mori Eskandani and John Hennigan were the 2018’s inductees.
Antonio Esfandiari chances
As mentioned earlier, Antonio Esfandiari is the only nominee without a previous nomination as he only turned 40 in December 2018.
So, can he be inducted on his first nomination?
Well, Yes. Esfandiari is definitely among the best poker players in the world at the moment. He sprang to the limelight after taking down the first edition of the WSOP Big One for One Drop $1 million buy-in tournament. He won a staggering $18.346 million. At the moment, he is ninth on the all-time money list and has more than $27 million to his name. Live earnings aside, Esfandiari has had a long tournament career which kicked off in 2002.
He has two WPT titles and is the proud owner of three WSOP bracelets. Therefore, Esfandiari ticks all the boxes; he is 40 years old, a regular at high stakes tables, is consistent, and plays against the top-notch players.
However, in my own opinion, compared to other nominees, he still has a lot to do to be a hall of fame member.
His fate rests with the 51-member team.
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