2023 WSOP HOF Nominees

Only one person can be entered every year, and players must be over 40 to be eligible for entry. The WSOP has released its nominees for this year’s Poker Hall of Fame entry, and we’re going to take a closer look at the credentials of each player.

Hall of Fame Credentials

However, before we take a look at this year’s potential inductees, let’s remind ourselves of the rules of entry for the WSOP Hall of Fame:

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

Josh Arieh

 

Josh Arieh Holding his WSOP bracelet
Josh Arieh Holding his WSOP bracelet

The first player on our list is 48-year-old Josh Arieh from Rochester New York. Josh has been playing at the WSOP for over two decades, with his first cash coming in the $3000 Limit Hold’em event in 1999; an event that he won to claim his first bracelet.

Since then, Josh has gone on to win four more bracelets, most recently winning the $10,000 Limit Hold’em Championship for over $300,000. He has a total of 88 cashes in WSOP events for earnings of over $8.7 million. The biggest arguments for Josh’s induction are his longevity, his bracelet tally, and his proficiency in a number of games.

Jeremy Ausmus

 

Jeremy Ausmus holding up his WSOP bracelet
Jeremy Ausmus holding up his WSOP bracelet

Next up for consideration is noted tournament professional Jeremy Ausmus. While Jeremy hasn’t been playing at the WSOP for as long as Josh, he’s certainly done a lot with his time, winning 6 bracelets and 1 WSOP circuit ring since his first cash in 2008. Jeremey has taken advantage of the increasing online presence at the WSOP, with two of his WSOP bracelets coming in online events, along with his sole WSOP circuit ring.

In his time playing WSOP events, Jeremy has cashed 118 times for a total of $7,476,587 in earnings. Jeremy’s main argument for making it into the Hall of Fame would be his combination of live and online tournament play that has led to him winning 7 WSOP events.

Ted Forrest

 

Ted Forrest thinking while at the poker table
Photo Credit: Jayne Furman

If there were a prop-bet Hall of Fame, Ted Forrest would be one of the first members inducted; but he’s had to wait a little longer to get into the Poker Hall of Fame. Ted’s had a storied poker career, appearing on the first seasons of High Stakes Poker, battling against Andy Beal as part of The Corporation, and winning 6 WSOP bracelets to boot.

While Ted doesn’t play much at the WSOP anymore, his legacy in the poker world is undoubted. Even though Ted didn’t make it onto the shortlist last year, he’s been a consistent name over the past few years, and many people think it’s time he got the recognition he deserved.

Since his first cash in the WSOP in 1993, Ted has cashed a total of 39 times at the WSOP for earnings of over $2 million. Ted’s arguments for making it into the Hall of Fame would be his bracelet count, his proficiency in multiple games, and his competitiveness in the highest-stakes games.

Kathy Liebert

 

Kathy Liebert with headphones on playing poker
Photo Credit: Drew Amato

Kathy Liebert has been a trailblazer in the poker community for decades. She has been a pioneer in women’s poker for over 20 years, showing that women are just as capable as men when it comes to competing and winning in poker. During her career, she’s won 1 WSOP bracelet in the ‘04 $1500 shootout event, and last year won her first circuit ring in the $500 online event.

Not only has Kathy been a pioneer for women’s poker, but she was also one of the first crusaders against smoking at the table – something that used to make poker tables an unwelcoming place to approach. As well as her one bracelet and circuit ring, Kathy has a total of 142 cashes at the WSOP for total earnings of $1,689,042.

The main arguments for Kathy’s inclusion would be her role in the growth of women’s poker as well as her total number of cashes combined with her longevity at the WSOP.

Mike Matusow

 

Mike Matusow looking at the camera while playing poker
Photo Credit: PokerGo

Mike “The Mouth” Matusow is a divisive figure in the poker community, but there’s no doubting that he’s a legend of the game. As one of the most famous professionals during the poker boom, Mike became a household name thanks to his loud and brash table talk. As well as being a talented talker, Mike has shown a lot of talent on the felt, with 4 WSOP bracelets to his name, and only narrowly missing out on a 5th in the 2023 Seven-Card Stud Hi/Lo event.

Mike has been playing at the WSOP for over 25 years and continues to show that he can hang tough with the young guns. Since his first cash in 1997, Mike has cashed a total of 106 times at the WSOP for earnings of over $4.5 million.

It may be a surprise to some people that he’s not yet made it into the Hall of Fame; he’s been on the shortlist for a number of years but has yet to make it over that final hurdle. The main arguments for adding Mike to the Hall of Fame would be his notoriety, his continued success over 25 years, and his proficiency in a number of games.

Lon McEachern and Norman Chad

The unmistakable voices of the WSOP are back on the shortlist for another year, after missing out in 2020 and 2022. While both are regular players at the WSOP, with Lon recently picking up a WSOP circuit ring at the Thunder Valley Casino in Northern California, the two are on their list for their commentary work over the past 20 years.

They’ve managed to stay as the premier commentators at the WSOP for the past two decades and were the voice of poker for many people from the start of the poker boom until the events of Black Friday. Hundreds of millions of people will have tuned into ESPN’s WSOP coverage over the past 20 years and heard the funny and informative words of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad.

The main argument for the pair’s inclusion into the Hall of Fame would be the work they’ve done to promote poker to a wider audience as part of their WSOP coverage on ESPN.

Brian Rast

At 41 years old, Brian Rast is the youngest player on our list but arguably has the best poker CV of the lot. Just a few days ago, Brian won his third $50K Poker Players Championship bracelet – cementing himself as one of the best ever to play the game. Behind the Main Event, the $50K PPC is the event that most professionals want to win the most, as it displays a mastery of all disciplines of poker. Rast winning this event three times shows just how good he is at all forms of poker.

Joining the WSOP Hall of Fame is something that’s very much at the forefront of Brian’s mind, having spoken about it in his winner’s interview. With a total of 6 bracelets at the WSOP and a total of 67 cashes for earnings of nearly $9 million, he’s done a lot to argue his case. Even outside of the WSOP, his continued success at the very highest levels of the game certainly give him the right to be in the discussion.

It seems to be a matter of when, not if for Brian Rast, and his third $50K PPC win may have just come at the right time. The arguments for inducting Rast would be his continued success at the highest level, his WSOP bracelet count, and his proficiency in a number of games.

Matt Savage

While not a professional poker player, it’s hard to argue that many people have done more for tournament poker at the WSOP than Matt Savage. In 2001 he founded the Tournament Directors Association (TDA) alongside David Lamb, Linda Johnson, and Jan Fisher which sought to standardize the rules of poker tournaments worldwide.

Matt also served as a tournament director at the WSOP from 2002 to 2004 and continues to work in the live tournament scene to this day. In 2003, Matt Savage was the inaugural member of the Poker Room Manager’s Hall of Fame, and he has been nominated several times for the WSOP Hall of Fame.

Matt’s arguments for being entered into the Hall of Fame would be the large amount of work he’s done to shape the world of live tournaments at the WSOP and around the world.

Isai Scheinberg

A name that may not be familiar to many modern players, Isai Schienberg is a legend of the online poker world. However, he wasn’t one of the original online crushers, he was the creator of the online poker behemoth Pokerstars. He and his brother Mark Scheinberg founded the company in 2001, and it quickly grew into arguably the biggest online poker site in the world.

The argument for Isai’s induction into the Hall of Fame would undoubtedly be his part in the creation of Pokerstars and his continued efforts to grow online poker throughout his time in charge.

Bill Smith

Last but certainly not least is Bill Smith. Bill may only have three cashes at the WSOP, but boy did he make them count! His second-ever cash at the WSOP was for 1st place at the 1985 Main Event, where he won $700,000 for his trouble. His other two cashes are both 5th-place finishes in the Main Event.

Bill is a legendary Vegas gambler with a WSOP pedigree. He was involved in gambling in one form or another until he passed in 1996. The argument behind Bill’s induction would be his WSOP heritage and legendary gambling status.

Summary

But of these ten names, only one can make it into the Hall of Fame. If we had to guess who it would be this year, it’s hard to look past Brian Rast. The guy has been crushing it for years and certainly has the WSOP CV to back up his claim. Brian winning his third PPC this year could be the extra push he needs to make it over the line.

Who do you think will be inducted into the WSOP Hall of Fame this year? Let us know on our socials!

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Jordan conroy

Author
Jordan Conroy, a respected name in the online poker arena, has cultivated his authority through years of dedicated play and content creation. Since 2020, he has earned a stellar reputation for his in-depth analysis of poker theory and his ability to keep a finger on the pulse of the latest developments in the poker world. Jordan's dedication to staying at the forefront of poker knowledge allows him to consistently deliver top-quality content that resonates with both novice players and seasoned professionals. Beyond his poker expertise, he brings a diverse perspective, closely following other competitive domains like soccer, snooker, and Formula 1, enriching his insights and providing a comprehensive understanding of the gaming landscape.

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