Arieh, Rats, and Forrest Highlight Hall of Fame Finalists
The list of ten finalists for the 2023 Poker Hall of Fame was revealed this past Thursday. An open nomination process was convened at the start of the 2023 World Series of Poker, and those votes helped to narrow down the list. Also, living Poker Hall of Fame members can nominate players directly, which could explain a couple of names on this list.
Here is the list of finalists in alphabetical order
Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
Seven of the ten finalists are professional poker players. Lon McEachern and Norman Chad are nominated together for their work on poker broadcasts over the last 20 years. Matt Savage and Isai Scheinberg are the other two finalists who fall under the contributor category.
Six Nominees Likely Don’t Have a Realistic Shot
Taking a closer look at the list of finalists, there are always players that make the finalists list that don’t have a realistic shot of induction. This may be due to stronger candidates being available or a lack of worthy accomplishments.
Below are our takes on the following nominees:
While a successful poker player, Arieh’s continued nomination is more due to his performance in WSOP events in recent years than his overall resume.
While a Women in Poker Hall of Fame member, Kathy’s poker contributions fall a bit short of qualifying for the main Poker Hall of Fame.
While a popular choice among some pros, Matusow has never shown the “consistency” that would typically be associated with Poker Hall of Famers.
This is Ausmus’ first nomination, and it is rare that a first-timer not named Phil Ivey or Daniel Negreanu gets inducted.
This is clearly a nomination from a living Poker Hall of Fame member. While Smith has a Hall of Fame-worthy career, he will unlikely get put in over other nominees this year.
While many feel that Savage is a Hall of Fame-worthy contributor, it does not trump most other nominees on this list.
Only Four Have a Realistic Shot
Generally, we only give two nominees a realistic shot at induction, but this year has an interesting mix that muddies the water. Here are the four finalists we feel have the best shot at induction:
Of everyone on this list, Forrest is the best old-school pro not already in the Hall of Fame. He has garnered much support from Hall of Fame members and pros in the past.
Lon McEachern and Norman Chad
This is the 20th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker winning the WSOP Main Event and kicking off the Poker Boom. Lon and Norm were the voices that called most of the action at the WSOP for the last 20 years. We could see them being inducted to celebrate the last 20 years of the WSOP.
Scheinberg is the one name on this list that many feel should have already been inducted as a contributor. Most cannot deny his contributions to online poker, and many feel that poker would not be where it is globally today without him.
This is our wildcard nomination. Rast ticks all of the boxes for Hall of Fame induction and is one of the more respected players in the game. Out of the younger players on the list of finalists, he has the best resume and chance for induction.
Hall of Fame finalist Brian Rast wins historic 3rd Poker Players Championship title for $1,324,747!
With the win, @tsarrast captures his sixth bracelet and joins a small, elite group of players with at least six bracelets.
He seems like a strong candidate for the 2023 HOF! 👀 pic.twitter.com/jjoE8KBa96
— WSOP – World Series of Poker (@WSOP) June 23, 2023
Ultimately, this year’s nod will go to either Ted Forrest or Lon McEachern and Norman Chad. Forrest has more support among the Hall of Famers, and if the WSOP does not exert much influence on the proceedings, he will likely finally get in this year.
Hall of Fame Voting Needs an Expansion
It is clear to most that the Hall of Fame nomination process needs to be revamped. Presently, only one person is inducted per year. This was reduced from two during the pandemic and was never changed.
There is a backlog of eligible candidates that are either overlooked or ignored due to the strict induction policies. Expanding the number of inductees to two per year would alleviate this problem.
Next, the Hall of Fame should consider a veterans committee similar to what is used by Major League Baseball. Many old-school pros and poker contributors get lost in the shuffle and will likely never get their recognition because of the ever-growing list of eligible candidates. Even if the committee only met every few years, it would afford eligible players and contributors another avenue of induction.