The year 2020 was not very good for poker. Many players changed their plans with live events, and even the World Series of Poker conducted online. Here are 9 Top WSOP Poker Hall of Fame 2021 Expected Nominees.
Finding a living out of live poker is something really tough.
Poker Hall of Fame is the best way to get strong evidence of how much things got sidetracked.
Since 2001, it was for the first time when poker hall of frame nominees was not announced, although WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart said that there will be a single honoree inducted in 2020.
With everything going on in the world, this doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it’s still somewhat of a let down for fans and players alike.
There’s no point in dwelling on the past.
2020 is almost over, and hopefully, things will get back to normal in the upcoming months.
There will be a 2021 Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where at least two players/contributors will be honored.
Potential candidates for the 2021 WSOP Hall of Fame
1. Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari
He is one of the 9 Top WSOP Poker Hall of Fame 2021 Expected Nominees and most brilliant characters in the poker world. Being the fans’ favorite, Antonio is deserving of a place in the Poker Hall of Fame.
Born in 1978, “The Magician” has an exceptional track record that not many players out there have.
With $28,000,000 in live tournament winnings and three WSOP bracelets, Esfandiari also has the first-ever Big One for One Drop event trophy to his credit.
2. Patrik Antonius
It is a surprise that Patrik Antonius isn’t a Hall of Fame member already, but there’s a very simple explanation for it. He will turn 40 in December of 2020, which will finally make him eligible for the nomination in 2021.
He is one of the best-known high-stakes players globally. For years, he has been the dominant force in cash games and tournaments all over the world, building a very impressive poker résumé.
Antonius has $12,000,000 earning in a live tournament and zero WSOP bracelets to his name, but that doesn’t make him any less deserving of the honor.
He is more of a cash game player, and it’s the nosebleeds games where he thrives the most. He has played both live and online arenas for years, although he’s taken a step away from internet poker in recent years.
Antonius is another safe bet for the Hall of Fame.
3. Joe Hachem
He is the winner of The 2005 WSOP Main Event who you’d think has been in the Poker Hall of Fame for a long time. He is also one of the 9 Top WSOP Poker Hall of Fame 2021 Expected Nominees.
However, despite being the first Australian player to win the Main Event and amassing over $12,500,000 in winnings (including a WPT title), Joe is still to receive the honor.
He has been a member of the PokerStars Team Pro for a few years and has helped increase the popularity of the game he loves so much.
4. Eli Elezra
It is yet another name you’d expect to see in the Hall of Fame, but he’s still waiting for his turn. He is also one of the 9 Top WSOP Poker Hall of Fame 2021 Expected Nominees.
Born in 1960 in Israel, he has been staying in the USA for several decades, and he’s built a very successful poker career over that time.
Elezra has four WSOP bracelets to his credit as well as one World Poker Tour title. His lifetime tournament earnings stand at $3.8 million.
He’s been a regular in high stakes games in Las Vegas and was often featured on shows like Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker. He has been competing with other “hall of famers” like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, and Doyle Brunson.
5. Chris Bjorin
Usually, Hall of Fame nominees are players that are popular and have been keeping tabs on for some time.
However, some deserving players have stayed away from all the publicity, preferring to grind and post good results silently.
The Swede Chris Bjorin is one such player. He is also one of the 9 Top WSOP Poker Hall of Fame 2021 Expected Nominees.
He has avoided the poker limelight, which could be one of the reasons why he was nominated for the Hall of Fame several times but was never actually inducted.
Perhaps 2021 will finally be the year for Chris Bjorin.
With two WSOP bracelets to his name and over $5.7 million earning in a live tournament, the Swede certainly has a rather impressive poker résumé.
6. Phil Laak
Although it is doubtful if Laak will be one of the names on the 2021 list, it’d be great to see him there. He is one of the 9 Top WSOP Poker Hall of Fame 2021 Expected Nominees.
Undoubtedly “The Unabomber” is one of the most colorful and fun-to-watch characters in the poker world.
Laak does have $3.8 million in tournament earnings, one WSOP bracelet, and one WPT title to his name.
7. Matt Savage
He has done great things for poker. His greatest achievement is the foundation of the Tournament Directors Association (TDA), which paved the way for creating standardized poker rules used in almost all major tournaments across the globe.
He is also one of the popular tournament directors around apart from spending time on the World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour floors.
8. Paul Phua
He is best known for being a rich Asian businessman who likes to play for insanely high stakes to the general poker fandom.
Phua hasn’t been around for very long, and certainly doesn’t qualify him for the Poker Hall of Fame.
However, Phua has done a lot for poker in recent years, launching the Triton Poker Series that gathers some of the best-known pros around ultra-high stakes cash games and tournaments.
For this, he has solid chances to receive the honors as the “contributor.”
9. Isai Scheinberg
It is the most controversial name on this list of 2021 Poker Hall of Fame predictions is Isai Scheinberg.
The founder of PokerStars, a site that brought a real revolution in the world of online poker, is clearly a worthy contributor.
One thing that could prevent his nomination is the fact he’s been involved in several lawsuits over the years, mostly because PokerStars continued to service US players after the UIGEA.
Based purely on merit, Isai Scheinberg deserves his spot in the Poker Hall of Fame, and 2021.