The World Series of Poker (WSOP) started accepting fan nominations for the 2021 Poker Hall of Fame (PHoF) and closed the fan application process on Oct 14. Nominations to the PHoF had to be over 40 years, must be long-term and consistent poker players, highly respected by their peers, and have played against top competition.
Most of the nominations are very similar to the 2020 PHoF nomination list but missing from the list are Lon McEachern, Norman Chad and Patrik Antonius. The WSOP announced that instead of inducting 2 individuals into the PHoF as it has done in past years, it will only nominate 1 individual to the PHoF in 2021. The WSOP decided to limit it to only one entry per year as it wanted to make sure only elite poker players and media personalities entered the prestigious PHoF.
We take a look at the ten names that have made the shortlist for the 2021 PHoF.
Michael Mizrachi: has $17,326,423 in live poker winnings and has 2 WSOP titles, 2 World Poker Tour (WPT) wins. He has also won the WSOP $50,000 Poker Players Championship on three different occasions. He has a good chance of making the shortlist in 2021.
Chris Ferguson: should have been inducted into the PHoF much earlier as he has some great accomplishments to his name. Ferguson has won $9,584,547 in live winnings. He has won 6 WSOP bracelets and also finished as the 2017 WSOP Player of the Year. One thing that will continue to go against Ferguson is his role in the Black Friday scandal that the poker community still holds against him.
Ted Forrest: is not as accomplished as some of the other names on the list but he is widely considered as one of the top stud players in cash games. He has won $6,392,082 in prize money and 6 WSOP bracelets.
Antonio Esfandiari: has the most live tournament winnings among all the 10 nominees with $27,810,802. He made headlines when he won the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop. Esfandiari has also won two WPT titles. However, he does not play poker as much as before and hasn’t had any big wins in recent times.
Layne Flack: has won $5,081,152 in prize money and has also won 6 WSOP events. He is regarded as one of the most entertaining players in the game but does not have a strong case to make the 2021 cut as there are other bigger names on the list.
Eli Elezra: the Israeli poker pro is one of the top high stakes players in the world. He has won $4,157,024 in live poker winnings and often plays at Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio. One thing going against Elezra is the fact that he is alleged to have outstanding debts with different poker players.
Bertrand Grospellier: has $14,680,562 in live poker winnings. The French poker pro has two WSOP bracelets and over $4 million in WSOP cashouts. He is the best poker player in France but is unlikely to get the nod this year.
Isai Scheinberg: founded PokerStars and in many ways in responsible for growing the popularity of online poker around the world. However, he isn’t a poker player and the poker community is keen on getting players into the PHoF.
Matt Savage: is the executive director of the WPT and like Scheinberg isn’t a player. While Savage has done a lot for live poker, he isn’t likely to make the shortlist this year.
Mike Matusow: has over $9,750,072 in career prize money and 4 WSOP bracelets. The Mouth has reached the WSOP Main Event final table on two occasions but he hasn’t won anything significant or been consistent at winnings for a long time.

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