The finalists for the 2020 Poker Hall of Fame are: Patrik Antonius, Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, Eli Elezra, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow, Matt Savage, Isai Scheinberg and Huck Seed.
Being a finalist doesn’t mean they will get in. There are three new finalists including poker commentators MCEachern and Chad. They were on hand when Chris Moneymaker won the 2003 WSOP Main event starting the “Moneymaker effect” that kicked off online poker for the masses in a big way.
Antonius, a Finnish poker pro, has over $12 million in live tournament earnings including a $3 million runner-up against Justin Bonomo in a Super High Roller Bowl China.
Isai Scheinberg, founder of PokerStars, is another finalist. Where would the world of poker be without him. He created the largest poker site in the world, bailed out Fulltilt and is really a modern day poker Messiah.
According to the WSOP, the criteria for the 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 sole inductee will be announced December 30 before the WSOP heads-up event at the Rio All-Suite Hotel in Vegas.
Instead of the WSOP stopping and resuming in November, this year it was different. The series concluded in July with Scott Blumstein crowned winner. It was the third largest event in its history with 7221 entrants. Like other events, this was spread over several days or “flights”. The final nine who came out millionaires from the tournament battled it out for supremacy.
The field was half amateurs with little or no earnings playing poker and the other half poker pros with millions in previous earnings. This shows flexibility of poker that anyone can win from anywhere. It’s not restricted by experience or other factors.
Scott Blumstein pulled it off this time around. In the process, he gets his first bracelet and $8.15 million dollars. He was the youngest player at the table at 25. His previous largest cash was almost $200000 in the Borgota Summer Poker Open July 2016.
The final hand of the game came in a pair of deuces with the deuce appearing on the river. When everyone thought Ott would win with an ace, seven combo the deuce sent everyone in disbelief. Blumstein took the title with a deuce!
The top winners for the tournament were:
1 Scott Blumstein $8,150,000
2 Daniel Ott $4,700,000
3 Benjamin Pollak $3,500,000
4 John Hesp $2,600,000
5 Antoine Saout $2,000,000
6 Bryan Piccioli $1,675,000
7 Damian Salas $1,425,000
8 Jack Sinclair $1,200,000
9 Ben Lamb $1,000,000
Poker Hall of Fame Inducts Phil Ivey and David Ulliott
The Poker Hall of Fame inducted Phil Ivey and David Ulliott. The other potential members included David Chui, Matt Savage, Mori Eskandani, Max Pescatori, Ted Forrest, Mike Matusow and Thor Hansen.
Ivey, with 10 bracelets and over 23 million in live poker earnings was eligible after turning 40. In a written statement he felt honored to be included and recognized he was lucky to be able to make a living playing poker. He also said he’s just as passionate about the game now as when he started.
David Ulliott is a lesser known British poker pro who died in 2015 from cancer.
In order to be considered players must be 40 or older, played in major competitions for high stakes, earn the respect of their peers. You don’t have to be a poker player to be inducted though for those who aren’t players, they must contribute to the growth of the game with positive results.