Four-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Eli Elezra has become the newest member of the Poker Hall of Fame. Elezra, an Israeli national and a long-time Las Vegas-based poker pro, was announced as the 60th enshrinee of the PHOF in a brief ceremony before the start of Wednesday’s conclusion of the Main Event.
Elezra, 60, has amassed over $4.5 million in career tourney winnings. Over $2.6 million of that has come at the WSOP, including three final-table finishes in this year’s series alone. Elezra won his fourth bracelet in a 2019 razz event, and he’s logged 74 career WSOP cashes in a career stretching back to 1999.
Perhaps even more importantly, from an election standpoint, he’s been a fixture in the “Big Game,” the recurring high-stakes cash game that’s dominated the Vegas scene for decades. Numerous Big Game participants have ended up in the Poker Hall of Fame, epitomizing one of the PHOF’s qualifications regarding having “stood the test of time” as a player.
Official vote tallies yet to be released
The final vote tallies from the eligible electors, which consist of all living members of the PHOF, have yet to be released. Elezra finished fourth in 2020 in an election won by Huckleberry “Huck” Seed. Elezra jumped ahead of last year’s second and third-place finishers in the voting, famed tournament director Matt Savage and PokerStars co-founder Isai Scheinberg.
Only one person is inducted each year into the PHOF under rules changes enacted before the 2020 election process. From 2005 through 2019 two people were honored, except for 2009, when Mike Sexton was the only finalist to clear a vote threshold in effect at the time. The current voting structure is expected to expand the field of well-qualified PHOF candidates in the coming years, barring further changes.
Elezra adds character to hall
Elezra is one of the more intriguing poker figures inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in recent memory. His past includes service in the Israeli Defense Force’s Golani Brigades, an elite military unit, though he did acknowledge once serving time in the brig for disobeying orders. Many of his early-life exploits were recounted in a biography, Pulling the Trigger; The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra.
Elezra moved to Las Vegas in the mid-1980s and achieved his initial financial success through launching a chain of photo-processing kiosks throughout the greater Las Vegas area. Those profits allowed him to pursue a high-stakes poker career, with Elezra widely regarded as a highly successful pro, though not without some controversy.
Elezra has been a perennial Hall finalist and his induction always seemed a matter of when, not if. His popularity within the elite Vegas cash-game scene likely helped add support to his election.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze