The 2022 Poker Hall of Fame nominees have been named, and three new players — Josh Arieh, Kathy Liebert, and Brian Rast — made the shortlist for the first time. Repeat nominees include players Layne Flack, Mike Matusow, Michael Mizrachi, and Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier, and poker industry insiders Lon MacEachern, Norman Chad, Matt Savage, and Isai Schienberg.
The 32 living Poker Hall of Famers will decide on who gets in. They have 10 points to allocate between the nominees, and will apply those points as they see fit. Only one person will make the cut, though MacEachern and Chad would be inducted together as a team. The criteria for the WSOP-owned Poker Hall of Fame remain the same:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
- Be a minimum of 40 years old at the time of their nomination
- Played for high stakes
- Played consistently well, gaining the respect of their peers
- 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
And the nominees are:
The 2021 WSOP Player of the Year made the Hall of Fame shortlist for the first time. Last year, Arieh, 47, doubled his number of career bracelets after winning numbers three and four. He’s already cashed seven times in 2022, pushing his total WSOP cashes to 73 since winning his first bracelet in 1999. The only year he didn’t cash was 2003. He has just over $10 million in tournament winnings.
This year’s only woman nominee, Liebert’s started her stellar poker career in 1991 as a low-stakes prop player in a Colorado card room in 1991. Today, the 54-year-old pro has one bracelet and 116 WSOP cashes for $1.4 million, and a lifetime tournament winnings of $6.4 million. Liebert was the first woman to travel and play consistently on the World Poker Tour, starting during its first season in 2002. Since then, she’s made six WPT final tables and cashed 26 times (most recently at the WPT Venetian last June) for nearly $2 million.
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of Flack’s untimely death at 52. A legendary grinder who counted many of the current Hall of Famers as friends, Flack made the HOF shortlist for the third consecutive year. “Back-to-Back Flack” earned six WSOP bracelets and cashed 74 times for nearly $2.9 million in WSOP earnings.
With four bracelets and 98 cashes for $4.5 million, “The Mouth,” 54, has been a WSOP mainstay since he first cashed by finishing second in a $2,000 PLO Hi-Lo event in 1997. The polarizing poker star will most likely pass the $10 million mark in lifetime winnings at this summer’s WSOP. It’s the third time he made the shortlist.
Lon MacEachern and Norman Chad
The only couple nominated, MacEachern and Chad have been the voices — and faces — of the WSOP since 2003. They also made the shortlist last year. Both commentators play a little poker, and Chad even went deep in this year’s $1,500 Dealer’s Choice event, finishing 13th. He also made a final table in 2012.
Also on last year’s shortlist, Mizrachi, 41, is a WSOP star, winning the $50K Poker Players Championship three times in 2010, 2012, and 2018. He has five bracelets and 81 cashes in WSOP events for nearly $10 million. The “Grinder” has more than $17 million in lifetime tournament cashes. Mizrachi and his brother, Robert, also just co-authored “Getting Started with HORSE” with CardsChat’s Chris Wallace.
Nominated in his first year of eligibility, the 40-year-old Rast also has five bracelets and 55 WSOP cashes for $6.7 million. His first WSOP cash came in 2005. His lifetime poker tournament winnings of $22.7 million put him 27th on the Hendon Mob’s all-time money list.
A seven-time Poker Hall of Fame nominee, Savage came close in 2020 when he finished second in voting to Huck Seed. The Executive Director of the World Poker tour, Savage founded the Tournament Directors Association and is considered one of the world’s experts on the rules of poker. He served as tournament director for the WSOP from 2002 – 04.
As the founder of PokerStars, Scheinberg, 75, can be considered one of the father’s of the multi-billion global online poker industry. He also helped make many members of the Hall of Fame rich. His legal woes with the United States government after Black Friday are well-known, but he made out in the end. His family sold PokerStars in 2014 for $4.9 billion. This is his third nomination.
Bertrand ”ElkY” Grospellier
The Frenchman was nominated for the first time last year at the age of 40. Long considered one of the best players in the world, both online and in live events, the two-time bracelet winner has 67 WSOP cashes worth $4.3 million, and $14 million in lifetime tournament winnings.
Bob Pajich is a poker news reporter, creative writer, and poker player who never met suited connectors he didn’t like. If you liked what he is writing about, give him a follow on Twitter: @PondHockey2.
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