The World Series of Poker has seen plenty of disruptions in 2020 thanks to the global pandemic. A significant number of players had their plans disrupted as a result of live events being cancelled all over the place. The World Series of Poker even had to move to an online format.
It was especially hard for all the players who make their living from poker play.
Taking a look at the hall of fame, you can see just how different the year had been. It was the first time since 2001 that there had been no nominations. However, it is understandable why it’s still disappointing for players and fans.
In an effort to boost the morale of our poker communities, we are looking at the 2021 WSOP hall of fame predictions. If 2021 sees a return to structure, who will be a likely inductee?
Continue reading as we share our thoughts and predictions. Before we get to that though, it’s probably wise to suss out what exactly is the criteria for a WSOP hall of fame nomination.
World Series of Poker Hall of Fame Criteria
Not just anyone can make it into the world series of poker hall of fame. It takes nominations firstly but even then, there are some strict criteria around who can make it in. Without these criteria, it wouldn’t feel as prestigious.
So, what criteria do players need to meet to be eligible for a nomination?
Well, unfortunately not everyone in the wider community is on board with some of these ‘rules’ but currently, a hall of fame candidate must:
- Be over the age of 40 years old at the time of their nomination.
- Continued to be competitive over a lengthy period of time and played against the best of the best.
- Have played consistently for high stakes with success and gained the respect of the poker community.
- In terms of non-players, nominees must have helped contribute to the game and its success and help with growing the game.
These are quite specific precise parameters, so it’s obvious to see why some people aren’t thrilled still. In any event, let’s get to our predictions on who might make it in.
A dominant force in poker, Patrik Antonius is almost eligible for nomination — he turns 40 years old in December 2020. Antonius, who is also known as ‘the Finn’ is a well-known high-stakes poker player.
Typically known as a fan of cash games, the Finn has pulled together strong prize pool winnings of about $12 million, although he has never won a WSOP bracelet.
It will be interesting to see if he follows the route of the legendary Phil Ivey and scores an induction shortly after turning 40.
The Israeli has spent the past several decades living in the United States and carved out an astonishing poker career to date. During his playing career, Eli has won four WSOP bracelets and one World Poker Tour title.
A significant difference between Eli and the other predictions on this list is that his career looks very different from the others.
Eli does not have a massive pool of winnings to flaunt, only sitting on approximately $4 million in earnings. What Eli does have is those four bracelets, which certainly means his poker play is up to the task.
Also known as the ‘magician’, Antonio Esfandiari is an eccentric character in the WSOP and a beloved favourite amongst the fans. His poker resume is more than suitable, winning three bracelets and the winner of the first-ever Big One for One Drop event.
On top of this, he has amassed approximately $28 million in live poker tournament winnings.
No doubt the magician will make his way into the hall of fame someday, but will it be the first year back from CoVid?
Gus Hansen, also known as the ‘great dane’ was a well-known identity in the early to mid-2000s when he managed a string of high profile World Poker Tour tournament results. The Dane’s playstyle is what garnered most of his attention as he played an uncommon yet hyper-aggressive style.
Throughout his career, Gus has won about $10 million and just a single bracelet.
He is also known for having lost significantly in high stakes games online. While it could be plausible to suggest he hasn’t played consistently over time.
Gus and his hyper-aggressive approach to Texas Hold’em helped revolutionise the way the game was played. This is what the Dane should be remembered for.
We cap this list of predictions off with an Aussie. Joe Hachem won the WSOP back in 2005 and is undoubtedly one of those household names that you’d expect to be an inductee already.
Joe was the first-ever Australian to win the main event and has approximately $12.5 million in prize-winnings to go alongside his World Poker Tour title.
Hachem has long been an ambassador of poker, always helping to increase the popularity of the game.
There are still a few months left as we round out the year, but with all eyes pointing forward, we are crossing our fingers hoping the WSOP returns to some sort of normality in 2021.