Esfandiari, Ferguson, Elezra and Matusow Among 2019 Hall of Fame Nominees

The World Series of Poker has just announced the ten nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame, with Antonio The Magician Esfandiari the only contender who hasn’t previously been up for selection…

By: Andrew Burnett

Esfandiari turned 40 late last year, making him eligible for inclusion in the Hall of Fame, and he joins the likes of Mike Matusow, Chris Ferguson, Chris Moneymaker and Eli Elezra on the 2019 ballot paper.

David Chiu, Ted Forrest, David Oppenheim, Huck Seed and Chris Bjorin round out the ten names on the somewhat controversial shortlist.

Chris Jesus Ferguson has never been forgiven by large chunks of the poker community for his tight-lipped involvement in the Full Tilt Poker scandal, returning to poker and the WSOP in 2016.

Eli Elezra was the subject of some serious debate for the alleged lies he told during his book launch AMA on the 2plus2 forum, claiming “I always repay my debts” only to be outed by Cole South and Abe Mosseri for apparent unpaid debts amounting to almost $1million.

As with most years, those missing from the list was an issue, poker journalist Chad Holloway looking for Men The Master Nguyen’s name to no avail…

For 15-time WSOP bracelet winner and Hall of Famer Phil Hellmuth it was the fact that Ted Forrest wasn’t already an inductee that stood out…

Jennifer Tilly was one of many, many poker fans calling for Chris Moneymaker to be chosen, the 2003 WSOP Main Event winner credited with popularising poker like almost no other player in history…

The criteria used to choose the nominees are:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
  • Played for high stakes
  • 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.

The 2019 Class of the Poker Hall of Fame – with a maximum of two chosen - will be inducted as part of the World Series of Poker Main Event final table festivities in Las Vegas on July 15th during the ESPN telecast.


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