WSOP opens 2023 public nominations for Poker Hall of Fame

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Haley Hintze Author Photo
Haley Hintze
Posted on: June 05, 2023 12:46 PDT

The Poker Hall of Fame, which is owned by Caesars Entertainment and administered by the World Series of Poker, has announced the opening of the public nomination process for the 2023 election cycle. As in recent years, just one person will be selected for enshrinement into the PHoF, with that enshrinee to be announced and honored during the WSOP's Main Event in July.

Perennial PHOF bridesmaid Matt Savage broadcast the opening of the 2023 process on Twitter earlier today:

Savage has indeed been a finalist in seven of the last eight election cycles, and has finished as the runner-up in the voting on three occasions. The PHOF's version of Susan Lucci might have his best chance ever this year, even if the process tends to favor players over industry figures.

Last year's 10 finalists included these prominent poker players, personalities, and executives:

  • Josh Arieh
  • Layne Flack
  • Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
  • Kathy Liebert
  • Mike Matusow
  • Lon McEachern & Norman Chad
  • Michael Mizrachi
  • Brian Rast
  • Matt Savage
  • Isai Scheinberg

The late Layne Flack won the 2022 vote by an unpublished margin, marking the second straight year the WSOP did not release a tally of overall voting results. Flack became the 61st PHOF honoree.

The 62nd PHOF enshrinee will ultimately be selected following a multi-stage process, the final part of which is a vote by all living members of the hall. Each living member receives a bloc of ten votes that they can distribute to one or multiple candidates.

That's the final stage, some weeks away, but the call for public nominations always opens the PHOF election process. That's where the poker public can visit the PHOF nomination page and submit the names of one or more deserving candidates.

Public nominations will remain open for the next couple of weeks, and then the PHOF's Election Committee takes over. First, the committee checks to mke sure that the top public nominees meet the hall's election criteria (see below). Then, the bottom one or two publicly nominated figures on the top ten list may be swapped out, so to speak, in years when the industry side of poker has been largely ignored by the public.

Such an adjustment may not be needed in 2023, since both Savage and PokerStars co-founder Isai Scheinberg have been widely nominated by fans in recent cycles. Both were finalists the last two years. All the other 2022 finalists are likely to receive strong support as well, as are Antonio Esfandiari and Ted Forrest, who have been finalists in multiple previous years.

The criteria for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame have remained unchanged for several years and are as follows:

  • A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
  • Played for high stakes
  • Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
  • 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.

Featured image source: Poker Hall of Fame