The Poker Hall of Fame announced Eli Elezra as the 60th member of the institution this week. The longtime poker pro’s accomplishments are vast and Elezra has been a regular in some of the biggest cash games around Las Vegas for decades.
The announcement was made at the World Series of Poker during a break in the action. After the award was announced, Elezra didn’t waste much time before getting into the action. He became an official bounty in the $1,979 Hall of Fame tournament.
“I want to start by thanking all current living members of the Poker Hall of Fame for their kindness in selecting me to be bestowed with this honor,” Elezra said. “It feels so surreal to be back on the felt and playing with some of poker’s most influential players in person throughout this year’s tournament. I am so excited to take home this achievement today and look forward to the 53rd annual World Series of Poker tournament in just a few short months.”
A life at the poker table
Before his life in poker, Elezra served time in the Israeli military. He was discharged for a leg injury in the 1982 Lebanon War and moved to the US in 1988.
In his 2019 autobiography Pulling The Trigger, Elezra detailed his life which even included life in the wilds of Alaska. He later moved to Vegas and started a film-developing business. The move also helped grow his passion for poker.
Elezra has been a part of the Vegas “Big Game” for years and is known as a top professional among his peers. His first glimpse of fame came when he was featured on the hit show High Stakes Poker.
Even though Elezra is known for high stakes cash games, he also has $4.5 million in live tournament winnings. That includes four WSOP bracelets:
- $3,000 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo (June 2007) – $198,984
- $2,500 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (July 2013) – $173,236
- $1,500 Seven-Card Stud (June 2015) – $112,591
- $1,500 Seven-Card Stud (June 2019) – $93,766
In 2004, Elezra also won the World Poker Tour Mirage Poker Showdown for $1 million. He remains active and a force in the poker world.
In the last six weeks at the WSOP, Elezra has seven cashes and three final table appearances. This includes a $286,983 score for fourth place in the $50,000 Poker Players Championship.
The newest inductee received some nice words from 2011 Hall of Fame inductee Linda Johnson.
A look at Poker Hall of Fame criteria
Earning a seat among the best of the best is no easy feat. The current criteria to get nominated include:
- playing against acknowledged top competition
- being at least 40 years old at the time of nomination
- played for high stakes
- played consistently well and gaining the respect of peers
- stood the test of time
After submitting all nominations, current living members of the Hall of Fame cast their votes. Last year former Main Event Champion Huck Seed was bestowed the honor.
The Poker Hall of Fame launched in 1979 and acquired by Harrah’s (later Caesars) Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004.
“Though the Hall of Fame is virtual in nature, its membership includes poker’s most influential players and other important contributors to the game,” the WSOP website notes.
There are now 33 living members and the Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two members annually.
* Lead image courtesy WSOP