Nominations for the Poker Hall of Fame (PHoF) are now officially open. Poker fans have until December 11 to submit their nominations, and Caesars Entertainment will announce the final ballot on December 16.
This year, only one player will be inducted, a decision that was announced last month by World Series of Poker (WSOP) Executive Director Ty Stewart. Every year since 2005, two individuals are inducted to the prestigious club, but from 1980-2004, there had only been one honoree per year.
The reasons behind the return to the tradition of one inductee each year remain unclear, but Stewart said they would release the full details soon. The nominees are usually revealed during the summer as part of the WSOP festival, but since there was no live WSOP in Las Vegas this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement of nominees had been postponed. The selection process will now take place during the upcoming WSOP Main Event later this month.
Criteria for PHOF Induction
So who are eligible to be welcomed into the PHoF. Only those who fulfill the following criteria.
Player-nominees must have competed against acknowledged top competition; they must have played consistently well, competed in the high-stakes arena, and have gained the respect of peers. Moreover, the player must have stood the test of time and must be at least 40 years old at the time of nomination.
If a certain nominee is a non-player, he or she must have made a significant contribution to the overall growth of poker.
The age requirement is somehow controversial, as this means that the poker superstars of the modern generation who are highly accomplished and well-respected, such as Stephen Chidwick, Doug Polk and Justin Bonomo, are not eligible because they’re younger than 40.
2019 Finalists Still Eligible
The open nomination process gives the public the chance to nominate who they think are worthy to be inducted to the PHOF. The final list of nominees will be screened by the 32 living Hall of Fame members who will ultimately decide who among them will become the sole 2020 inductee. The PHOF Class of 2020 will be honored in a ceremony coinciding with the WSOP Main Event special heads-up finale scheduled to take place on December 30.
Last year’s finalists are also still eligible for the honor. They include Mike Matusow, Antonio Esfandiari, David Chu, Ted Forrest, Huck Seed, Chris Bjorn, Eli Elezra and Chris Ferguson.
The latest to receive poker’s most prestigious honor were David Oppenheim and Chris Moneymaker.