ESPN Broadcasters Highlight Poker Hall of Fame Finalists
Although it will take until the very end of 2020, we will get a new inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame. Voting for the Poker Hall of Fame was done earlier this month at WSOP.com. From that vote, the list of finalists was created. That list was announced last Friday.
Today, we will take a look at the list of finalists, and see if any of the new additions will change our perceived outcome for the voting.
Patrik Antonius Headlines New Finalists
Earlier this month, we gave our prediction on the Poker Hall of Fame based on whom we assumed were the list of finalists. Original reports stated that the 2019 finalists would automatically be included this year. That did not happen as the new list excludes two players.
Here is the new list of finalists from WSOP.com:
- Patrik Antonius
- Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
- Eli Elezra
- Antonio Esfandiari
- Chris Ferguson
- Ted Forrest
- Mike Matusow
- Matt Savage
- Isai Scheinberg
- Huckleberry Seed
If you look closely, you’ll notice that Chris Bjorin and David Chiu are no longer on the list. However, the ever-controversial Chris Ferguson remains.
The new additions include high stakes superstar Patrik Antonius, famed tournament director Matt Savage, PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg, and ESPN commentators Norman Chad and Lon McEachern. Chad and McEachern are being considered as a pair for their contributions in poker broadcasting.
Hall of Fame voting and nominations are based on the following criteria:
• A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
• Be a minimum of 40-years-old at the 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.
Looking Closer at the New Finalists
If you notice, three of the four new additions to the list of finalists are contributors. This helps to bring a bit of balance to the list as it was all players before. Let’s look at the new additions and their qualifications:
Matt Savage – Matt Savage is best known for his contributions to the poker industry. He is the top poker tournament director in the world and has run all of the top events including the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour. He is easily the most respected TD in the world.
Isai Scheinberg – The founder of PokerStars is the one person that most felt should have been in years ago. We all know of the impact of PokerStars on poker and we can thank Scheinberg for that. His legal issues are now well behind him, making him a safer choice for the Hall of Fame.
Lon McEachern and Norman Chad – Long-time broadcasters on ESPN, both are famous for broadcasting the World Series of Poker. Both are considered the voices of poker and definitely the voices of the World Series of Poker.
Patrik Antonius – Antonius is best known for his high stakes poker exploits, and has more online poker cash game earnings than anyone in history. He also has quite the live tournament resume as well.
Who Will Be Inducted?
Looking at the new list of inductees, the two that have the best shot of induction are Patrik Antonius and Isai Scheinberg. In the case of Scheinberg, we don’t feel that he will have enough support from the living Poker Hall of Fame members to get in this year. It will happen eventually, but not unless other members of the poker industry are allowed to vote.
Patrik Antonius is the one player that has a pedigree similar to what the old school players like to see. He has a legitimate chance of getting in this year, but in the end, we still see Ted Forrest getting inducted by many of the living HOF members.