The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has revealed the 10 finalists for the 2019 Poker Hall of Fame class. The list of nominees was determined after a public nomination process and subsequent screening conducted by the Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council.
The 10 players eligible for induction this year include David Chiu, Chris Bjorin, Ted Forrest, Eli Elezra, Mike Matusow, Chris Ferguson, Huck Seed, David Oppenheim, Antonio Esfandiari and Chris Moneymaker.
It’s Esfandiari’s first time to be included in the ballot, with the nine other finalists having been previously nominated. The former professional magician turned 40 in December 2018, making him eligible for the shortlist.
Esfandiari who defeated Kevin Hart in a Boxing Match currently holds the record for highest earnings at the WSOP with $21,835,100 – $18 million of that came from the $1,000,000 buy-in Big One for One Drop event at the 2012 WSOP, the single largest prize in sports history.
All 10 finalists are known essentially for their poker skills and playing expertise.
For a poker player to be considered for induction, he or she must have played poker against acknowledged top competition and must be at least 40 years old at the time of nomination. The player must have performed consistently well at tournaments gaining the respect of peers, played for high stakes and stood the test of time.
Non-players may be eligible for nomination if they have made a relevant contribution to the overall growth and success of poker, with lasting positive results.
New Honorees To Be Announced July 15
Last year, John “Johnny World” Hennigan and Mori Eskandani were both inducted. The players who will be elected this year will join the 56 people who were previously enshrined to the Poker Hall of Fame since it was established back in 1979. Among past honorees include 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey, Indonesian-born American poker pro John Juanda, former All-Time Money List leader Daniel Negreanu, eight-time WSOP champ Erik Seidel and Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth.
The final selection panel, which is made up of 30 Hall of Fame members and 21 poker industry media experts, will vote over the next two weeks, until July 8. Up to two candidates can be immortalized in the Poker Hall of Fame each year. The 2019 class will be revealed on July 15, as part of ESPN’s WSOP Main Event final table broadcast.