Caesars Entertainment and the World Series of Poker have announced the ten finalists being considered for enshrinement into the Poker Hall of Fame (PHOF). The list of finalists includes three first-timers: Michael Mizrachi, the late Lane Flack, and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier.
The three newcomers join seven returning finalists for consideration in 2021. Those seven returnees are Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Matt Savage, and Isai Scheinberg. All seven returning finalists were also among the final 10 in 2020, when Huckleberry “Huck” Seed received the highest number of votes. Two 2020 finalists, Patrik Antonius and the WSOP’s famed broadcast duo of Norman Chad and Lon McEachern, did not make the final 10 this time around.
Newcomers boast distinctive accomplishments
Each of the three first-time finalists have achieved unique accomplishments in their careers. The saddest tale among the three is that of “Back to Back” Flack, who died unexpectedly in July at age 52. Flack was one of the most feared players in the game in the late ’90s and ’00s. He won all six of his WSOP bracelets between 1999 and 2008. Flack earned nearly $2.9 million during his WSOP career.
Michael Mizrachi, by contrast, remains in his prime. Mizrachi turned 40 in January and was named as a finalist in his first year of eligibility. The “Grinder,” a native of Florida, has five WSOP bracelets of his own, including three (2010, 2012, and 2018) in the high-profile Poker Players Championship. Mizrachi has earned numerous other accolades as well, including a Circuit ring and two WPT championships. He’s earned nearly $9.4 million in WSOP events and nearly another $8 million on other tours and championships.
France’s Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is a two-time WSOP bracelet winner himself. His own collection of other poker accolades also includes WPT and EPT titles. Grospellier also starred in a separate gaming career, as a pro StarCraft player in South Korea, before he turned to poker. Grospellier was a long-time sponsored player with PokerStars, and these days fills a similar role with Stars’ chief online rival, GGPoker. Like Mizrachi, Grospellier turned 40 earlier this year and was named a finalist in his first year of eligibility.
Changes made to the PHOF’s voting process in 2020 mean that only one finalist is enshrined each calendar year. This year’s honoree will be determined through votes cast by the Poker Hall of Fame’s 32 living members, each of whom has ten votes that can be cast for one or several finalists. This year’s honoree will be announced and feted in mid-November, in conjunction with the WSOP’s Main Event festivities. The honoree will become the 60th member of the hall.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze