Breaking Down the Action:
  • Who is Missing from Last Year’s List?
  • Three New Nominated Players Join the Ranks, WSOP ‘Dream Team’ Return
  • When is the Winner Announced?

4 Minute Read

The 10 nominees to join the Poker Hall of Fame in 2022 include new members Josh Arieh and Brian Rast.

This year’s Poker Hall of Fame inductee will be announced in mid-July. With nominations closed, the 32 members of the Hall of Fame who are still alive will now decide which of the 10 nominees will enter the hallowed company of WSOP Main Event winners, industry legends and poker stars will make the cut. Only one (or two if the only double-act of the nominees win) can become the 2022 member or members of the Hall of Fame. But who will it be?

Who is Missing from Last Year’s List?

Last year, Israeli four-time WSOP bracelet winner Eli Elezra was the Poker Hall of Fame inductee and the poker legend, who has won over $4.6 million in live tournaments alone obviously can’t make this year’s list.

Those who were nominated in 2021 and have made the list again include the late Layne Flack, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Mike Matusow, Michael Mizrachi, Matt Savage and Isai Scheinberg, but with Elezra no longer on the list, three other players who have not made this year’s list are Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson and Ted Forrest.

It’s not hard to see why Ferguson hasn’t been included. With a decade having passed since Black Friday and still no meaningful apology from the former Main Event winner for his part in the Full Tilt Poker scandal, it’s difficult to see where any votes would have come from via the 32 Poker HOF members. While Esfandiari and Forrest have no such stains on their characters, they will have to wait for another year to attempt to break into the Hall of Fame corridors.

Three New Nominated Players Join the Ranks, WSOP ‘Dream Team’ Return

“Hellmuth is sure to vote for good friend and long-time nominee Mike Matusow.”

Added to the 10 this year are two men nominated as one – Lon McEachern and Norman Chad. The legendary WSOP commentator team that bring poker fans the World Series of Poker and in particular the televised Main Event highlights packages and final table drama are back on the list. Hugely popular among poker fans, could this be the year for Norm and Lon?

The 2021 World Series of Poker Player of the Year, Josh Arieh, is a new addition to the 10 nominees after winning two bracelets in 2021 and four in a glittering career. Great at any number of mixed games too, Arieh would be a very popular winner, but may not receive a vote from Phil Hellmuth. The pair – who battled for the WSOP POY crown in 2021 with Arieh coming out on top – clashed at the felt yesterday in Vegas. Hellmuth berated Arieh after one hand and the latter called the floor who had a strong word with the Poker Brat. Arieh can’t count on a vote from Hellmuth, who is sure to vote for good friend and long-time nominee Mike Matusow.

With Kathy Liebert a much more popular player than Chris Ferguson, its clear that the WSOP are working hard to reflect the feelings of the poker community and that should include a lot more female players and industry leaders. Liebert’s inclusion is a real positive, as is the nod to Brian Rast, who has only recently turned 40. If anyone can win upon turning 40 – following in the footsteps of players such as Phil Ivey and Daniel Negreanu – then it should be Rast, who is one of the most successful and dedicated poker players of all time.

When is the Winner Announced?

Fans will find out who has won on July 10th, which interestingly is the date of the WSOP Main Event final table. There will be a special bounty WSOP event taking place at that time too, where each former Poker Hall of Famer (there are only 32 still alive from the 59 who have been inducted) will have a bounty on their head to the value of the year of their induction. For example, the 1989 winner Phil Hellmuth would have a bounty of $1,989 on his head.

To be nominated for entry into the Poker Hall of Fame, a player must fulfil the following criteria.

  • Players must have played poker against acknowledged top competition.
  • Nominees must be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of nomination.
  • Players must have played for high stakes, consistently well and stood the test of time.
  • Non-players must have contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.

Of the 10 nominees, we can see either Michael Mizrachi or the late, much-loved Layne Flack making the leap from nomination to induction, although the new nominees, especially Josh Arieh and Brian Rast, can’t be ruled out.

Dave Consolazio

Dave Consolazio has been passionate about writing and sports journalism since his high school years. He has a degree in Broadcast Journalism from USC where he worked with the school's radio and television stations. His work has been featured in SportsbookReview, Sports Illustrated and SB Nation. Dave's experience ranges across multiple fields in the gambling industry. You can find his sports, casino, and poker articles in GambleOnline.co.

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