The World Series of Poker announced the 10 finalists for the 2021 class of the Poker Hall of Fame Tuesday afternoon. This year’s nominating process began on Sept. 30, with online voting open to the public through Oct. 14.
The finalists are as follows:
- Eli Elezra
- Antonio Esfandiari
- Chris Ferguson
- Layne Flack
- Ted Forrest
- Bertrand ”ElkY” Grospellier
- Mike Matusow
- Michael Mizrachi
- Matt Savage
- Isai Scheinberg
Three of the ten candidates are first-time finalists, including Layne Flack, a six-time bracelet winner who passed away earlier this year.
The other two first-time finalists are Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Michael Mizrachi. Grospellier is a triple crown winner, with a bracelet win and titles on the European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. Mizrachi is a five-time bracelet winner, with a record three wins in the WSOP $50,000 buy-in mixed game event currently known as the Poker Players Championship. Mizrachi also has two WPT main tour titles to his name.
The iconic commentary duo of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, as well as high-stakes legend Patrik Antonius failed to make the list after being nominated for the accolade in 2020.
Scheinberg and Savage were nominated as non-players again, while Elezra, Esfandiari, Forrest and Matusow were nominated for their achievements on the felt for at least their second straight year.
According to the WSOP, the criteria for induction is as follows:
- 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 of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results
The 32 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame will collectively vote on which of these ten finalists will become the 60th inductee. The official announcement will come on Wednesday, Nov. 17 during the new WSOP Hall of Fame Bounty tournament.
Last year saw 1996 WSOP main event champion Huck Seed inducted. In the years before 2020, there were typically two inductees announced each year. The Hall of Fame was first founded in 1979.