Josh Arieh is one of three people to appear for the first time on the Poker Hall of Fame shortlist in 2022. His competition among the newcomers is Kathy Liebert and Brian Rast.
Arieh’s major advantage over his competition is probably the recentness of some of his poker achievements. He was last year’s WSOP Player of the Year. During that series he also won his third and fourth WSOP bracelets (in the 2021 WSOP $1,500 Pot Limit Omaha and $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better).
Not that Arieh was in any way late to the poker party. Born in 1974, he won his first bracelet in 1999, and his Hendon Mob page lists $10.5 million in live tournament cashes since then. These include two WPT final tables, a third-place finish in the 2004 WSOP Main Event, and a total of 58 WSOP cashes including his four bracelet finishes.
What are the odds?
In a popularity contest like this, his advocacy for poker in his home state of Georgia also counts for him. While his more divisive moments, like “motherf**ker-gate” at the 2004 WSOP, are largely forgotten.
Plus, he is doing some commentary on PokerGO at this year’s WSOP, keeping himself in the front of voters’ minds.
Admission to the PHOF is tightly controlled. In order for Arieh to win, he will need to collect the largest number of votes from the 32 living members of the PHOF. Each of these electors has ten votes to cast, they can distribute the votes among the ten names on the shortlist as they please.
Only one member is admitted each year (two if they come as pair as with Lon and Norm’s entry on the list). This makes for a system that favors strategic voting and has attracted a lot of flak from the poker community.
Arieh is perhaps an unlikely pick this year. He is up against industry giants like Isai Scheinberg and close friends of many electors like Mike Matusow and Matt Savage. Still, it’s not over until the votes are counted (though at that point, unlike in U.S. politics, it really is done).
The winner will be announced on June 10, 2022, at the final table of the Main Event.
Featured image source: PokerGO