Fan Nominations Open for 2021 Poker Hall of Fame Class

matt savage poker

With the 2021 World Series of Poker underway, it's time to start thinking about which player or industry personnel best deserves to become the 60th member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Fans can already nominate a candidate on the WSOP website. According to the WSOP, nominations must be submitted by October 14.

Who will join the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Doyle Brunson, and Daniel Negreanu among poker's most elite club? We don't know the answer to that question just yet, but we do know it will be someone who meets the following criteria:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
  • Played for high stakes
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of nomination
  • Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
  • Stood the test of time
  • Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results

Current State of the Poker Hall of Fame

Huck Seed

There are currently 59 members of the Poker Hall of Fame. Huck Seed, the 1996 world champion, was inducted last year. In 2020, the WSOP decided to switch from inducting two individuals annually to just one. That led to some heated debate on social media. But the purpose of the move was to ensure only the best of the best are reaching the Hall of Fame.

This could spark even more heated debate in about 4-5 years when players such as Tom Dwan, Scott Seiver, Justin Bonomo, Phil Galfond, Bryn Kenney, and others all become eligible within a two-year span.

The 59 current members of the Poker Hall of Fame:

Tom Abdo1982Barry Greenstein2011Johnny Moss1979
Crandell Addington2005Jennifer Harman2015Daniel Negreanu2014
Bobby Baldwin2003Dan Harrington2010Scotty Nguyen2013
Billy Baxter2006Murph Harrold1984David Oppenheim2019
Lyle Berman2002Phil Hellmuth2007Henry Orenstein2008
Joe Bernstein1983John Hennigan2018Walter "Puggy" Pearson1987
Benny Binion1990James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok1979Julius Oral Popwell1996
Jack Binion2005Red Hodges1985Thomas Austin "Amarillo Slim" Preston1992
Bill Boyd1981Edmond Hoyle1979David "Chip" Reese1991
Doyle Brunson1988Phil Ivey2017Brian "Sailor" Roberts2012
Todd Brunson2016Linda Johnson2011Huck Seed2020
Johnny Chan2002Berry Johnston2004Erik Seidel2010
T.J. Cloutier2006John Juanda2015Mike Sexton2009
Nick Dandolos1979Jack Keller1993Jack "Treetop" Straus1988
Eric Drache2012Jack McClelland2014Dewey Tomko2008
Barbara Enright2007Felton McCorquodale1979David "Devilfish" Ulliott2017
Mori Eskandani2018Tom McEvoy2013Stu Ungar2001
Fred "Sarge" Ferris1989Chris Moneymaker2019Red Winn1979
Henry Green1986Roger Moore1997Sid Wyman1979
T "Blondie" Forbes1980Carlos Mortensen2016  

Induction Process

Inducting a player or industry person into the Poker Hall of Fame is a two-part process. It all starts with the aforementioned fan vote, which ends October 14. The WSOP will tally up the votes and advance the top 10 vote getters to the next step.

Current members of the Hall of Fame will then cast their ballot from the fan nominations list, and the individual who receives the most votes will be inducted into the 2021 Poker Hall of Fame.

The WSOP informed PokerNews that a special ceremony for the inductee will be hosted November 17 at the Rio, during Event #79: $1,979 Poker Hall of Fame Bounty No-Limit Hold'em.

Potential Winners

Mike Matusow

Seed beat out a list of players and poker industry giants full of talent last year. Those who missed the cut in 2020 are again eligible, and one of them will likely get inducted this time around.

That list includes Patrik Antonius, Antonio Esfandiari, Mike Matusow, Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg, Eli Elezra, Ted Forrest, and Chris Ferguson. It's tough to imagine Ferguson will make the final cut even though he has a Hall of Fame worthy career on the felt. But with many fans still upset about the Full Tilt Poker scandal in 2011, he's going to have a difficult time getting into the HOF.

Esfandari, Antonius, Elezra, Matusow, and Forrest all have impressive poker resumes. Matusow, for example, has four WSOP bracelets and has a large fan base. But this year's inductee just might be a non-player.

Savage, the WPT's executive tour director, has been an innovative and unifying member of the poker community for years. His role in creating universally enforced tournament rules is immeasurable. Last year, he came close to reaching the Poker Hall of Fame, and will have a shot to get over the hump in 2021.

  • Find out how to cast your ballot for the 2021 Poker Hall of Fame class.

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