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Meet the 2023 Poker Hall of Fame Finalists

Last Thursday, the highly anticipated list of ten finalists for the 2023 Poker Hall of Fame was revealed, stirring up a frenzy of excitement among poker enthusiasts worldwide. The 2023 selection process included an open nomination phase at the renowned World Series of Poker, resulting in an exceptional lineup. Living Hall of Fame members had the power to nominate players directly, adding intrigue with a few unexpected names.

Poker Hall of FameHere are the remarkable finalists who have captured the attention of the poker community:

  1. Bill Smith
  2. Josh Arieh
  3. Isai Scheinberg
  4. Jeremy Ausmus
  5. Matt Savage
  6. Ted Forrest
  7. Brian Rast
  8. Kathy Liebert
  9. Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
  10. Mike Matusow

Seven are revered professional poker players, leaving an indelible mark on the game. Lon McEachern and Norman Chad, a unique duo, were jointly nominated for their exceptional poker broadcasting contributions. However, Matt Savage and Isai Scheinberg stand out as finalists recognized for their contributions to the poker community.

While the list brims with talent, upon closer examination, it becomes apparent that six of the nominees face slim chances of induction this year. Stronger contenders and the need for more significant accomplishments may overshadow their aspirations. Allow us to provide an in-depth analysis of these individuals:

Josh Arieh: Although Arieh has proven himself a successful poker player, his recent nominations stem primarily from his stellar performances in current WSOP events rather than his overall poker resume.

Kathy Liebert: As a distinguished member of the Women in Poker Hall of Fame, Liebert’s contributions to the game, while noteworthy, may fall just shy of the qualifications required for the main Poker Hall of Fame.

Mike Matusow: While Matusow enjoys immense popularity among some professional players, his inconsistent performance lacks the unwavering “consistency” typically associated with Poker Hall of Famers.

Jeremy Ausmus: Ausmus finds himself in the prestigious nominee lineup for the first time. However, it is a rarity for first-time nominees not named Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreanu to secure induction.

Bill Smith: It is evident that Smith’s nomination stems from a living Poker Hall of Fame member. Although Smith boasts a career deserving of Hall of Fame recognition, he faces tough competition from other remarkable nominees this year.

Matt Savage: Many avid enthusiasts consider Savage a contributor worthy of the Hall of Fame. However, his achievements may only outweigh most other illustrious finalists.

Despite these challenges, four finalists remain with a realistic shot at induction, setting the stage for a thrilling battle:

Ted Forrest: Among all the contenders, Forrest, an esteemed old-school pro, holds the distinction of being the best player not yet inducted into the Hall of Fame. His unwavering support from Hall of Fame members and professional players could propel him to victory.

Lon McEachern and Norman Chad: This year marks the 20th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker’s iconic WSOP Main Event victory, igniting the global Poker Boom. McEachern and Chad’s voices have been synonymous with the WSOP, calling the action for the past two decades. Their induction would serve as a celebration of the monumental impact the WSOP has had on the poker world.

Isai Scheinberg: Scheinberg, a name revered by many, should have already been inducted as a remarkable contributor. His immeasurable contributions to online poker have shaped the game’s global landscape. Without a doubt, many believe that poker would not have reached its current international stature without Scheinberg’s invaluable influence.

Brian Rast: Among the younger generation of finalists, Rast stands out as a wildcard nomination. With an impressive resume and unwavering respect, he epitomizes a Hall of Fame candidate.

Brian Rast’s historic third Poker Players Championship title strengthens his case for the 2023 Hall of Fame induction. The victory, accompanied by his sixth bracelet, places him among an elite group of players with an impressive track record.

Ted Forrest or the dynamic duo of Lon McEachern and Norman Chad are the frontrunners for this year’s induction. Forrest’s extensive support from Hall of Fame members may give him the edge, especially if the WSOP’s influence is minimal.

Nevertheless, as the poker community eagerly awaits the grand announcement, it becomes increasingly evident that the Hall of Fame’s voting process requires expansion and revamping. Presently, only one individual is inducted each year, a number that has remained unchanged even during the pandemic. Consequently, a backlog of deserving candidates needs to be noticed or addressed due to stringent induction policies.

To address this pressing issue, the Hall of Fame needs to consider increasing the number of inductees to two per year. Such an expansion would alleviate the burden of an ever-growing list of eligible candidates, ensuring more deserving individuals receive recognition. Additionally, introducing a veterans committee, akin to Major League Baseball’s model, would offer an avenue for old-school pros and poker contributors to be acknowledged. Periodic committee meetings would ensure fairness in determining eligible players and contributors for the prestigious Hall of Fame.

The 2023 Poker Hall of Fame induction announcement is highly anticipated, set to honor those who dedicated their lives to advancing the game’s rich history.

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