Home > Features > Five players biding their time before reaching the Poker Hall Of Fame

Five players biding their time before reaching the Poker Hall Of Fame


3 Feb 2018

There are currently 54 members of the Poker Hall of Fame.

These include the first winner of the World Series of Poker from 1970 Johnny Moss, 14-time WSOP Bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, who is both the only player to be named WSOP Player of the Year more than once and the winner of more live tournament prize money than anyone else in history.

Only two players are inducted every year from a list of 10 nominations, with the meeting of certain criteria required to gain a selection.

One of these measures is that a player must be 40 years old at the time of nomination, which is almost certainly the sole reason why Phil Ivey had to wait until last year to become a candidate.

Plenty of other players are logical future Poker Hall of Famers, currently hamstrung by the fact they are too young to receive a nomination based on existing criteria.

Here are five of those players, who appear shoo-ins to find themselves in the Poker Hall of Fame one day:

Antonio Esfandiari

Esfandiari has the shortest time to wait of those on this list, having celebrated his 39th birthday in December.

He is perhaps best known for winning the largest cash prize in the history of poker when beating 47 other players to scoop $18,346,673 at the 2012 Big One for One Drop live event.

However, The Magician is far from a one trick pony. Three WSOP Bracelets is reasonable return, with the first dating back to 2004 and his collection spreading across Pot Limit and No Limit Hold’em.

Esfandiari has published a book offering strategies to help players in casino, home and online cash games and is also a regular on television, whether providing commentary or appearing on popular comedy-drama series Entourage.

Vanessa Selbst

It was only over the New Year period that Selbst announced on social media that she was “moving on from her career as a professional poker player” and taking a job doing trading research and strategy for a hedge fund instead.

The likes of Barbara Enright and Linda Johnson have already ensured some female recognition in the Hall of Fame, but Selbst is widely regarded as the best in the female ranks.

Between 2008 and 2014, the 33-year-old collected three WSOP Bracelets, while she has also reached the final table in a pair of World Poker Tour events.

She has won close to $12m during her poker career, which is almost double the amount of any other female player.

Jason Mercier

In any sport or profession, some people struggle to perform to their best or have conditions go in their favour on the biggest of stages.

This is a label that could ring true of Mercier to date, finishing no better than 463rd in the WSOP main event. However, his list of other accomplishments by the age of 31 is mightily impressive.

He has cashed in 69 WSOP events in total and secured five Bracelets, in poker variants ranging from Omaha, to lowball, to H.O.R.S.E.

Additionally, Mercier was named the WSOP player of the year in 2016 and holds the record for the most weeks spent at number one on the Global Poker Index, sitting on top spot for 84 weeks.

Jonathan Duhamel

Unlike the others previously mentioned on the list, Duhamel does know what it feels like to win the WSOP main event, becoming the first Canadian to achieve this feat in 2010.

Prior to this success, Duhamel was far from a household name, but the 30-year-old has since added another pair of WSOP Bracelets, racking up 40 cashes in total and close to $15 million in earnings.

Duhamel has also become an ambassador for poker and stated after his main event victory that he was aiming to reach the Hall of Fame one day.

Daniel Colman

There is a feeling in some parts that some modernising is required when it comes to assessing Hall of Fame requirements. For example, far less weight is given to online cash and tournament results, in comparison to live play.

Colman’s online accomplishments are especially noteworthy, particularly his 2013 achievement when becoming the first hyper-turbo player ever to win in excess of $1 million in a calendar year.

What’s more, the 27-year-old did so in only nine months.

He has since made a name for himself in a live environment when getting the better of Negreanu heads-up to win $15,306,668 at the $1,000,000 The Big One for One Drop event in 2014.

That year was especially successful as Colman won seven-figure sums on two further occasions and player of the year recognition from three well-known poker and card-playing magazines.