Poker Hall of Fame Selects Negreanu, McClelland
The World Series of Poker has announced that Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu have been selected as the 2014 inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame. The announcement was made today via a press release first published at WSOP.com.
The election of Negreanu, 40, and McClelland, 63, swells the roster of Poker Hall of Fame enshrinees to 48, including most of the poker world’s most recognizable names. Negreanu, considered a lock for election by most observers, was elected in his first year of renewed eligibility after reaching the minimum age of 40 established in recent years by the Poker Hall of Fame’s governing council. Negreanu was previously a finalist last decade but was for several years declared age-ineligible due to voting changes installed about seven years ago by the HOF’s parent company, Caesars Entertainment.
Negreanu ranks among the world’s most successful tournament poker players, having amassed over $30 million in recorded tournament earnings to go along with high-stakes cash game play. Negreanu, a Toronto, Canada, native, burst onto the scene in 1997 with three major-event wins. He followed that up in 1998 with his first WSOP bracelet win — he has since won six overall — and has twice been the WSOP’s Player of the Year. Negreanu’s nearly $30 million in all-time tourney earnings is the most officially records by any poker player, and he ranks second on the World Poker Tour all-time money list (where he has also won twice), and is third overall in WSOP tourney earnings.
Add in his major sponsorship deal with online giant PokerStars after years of fronting his own site, Full Contact Poker, plus his enduring popularity with casual poker fans, and its easy to see why Negreanu was an easy choice in this year’s vote.
McClelland has an even longer poker career, though usually on the business side, not at the tables. McClelland has held various poker-related posts for major casinos throughout a four-decade-long career from which he retired only last year. He was an integral part of the Binion-family operation and growth of the World Series of Poker in its pre-Harrah’s/Caesars years, particularly during the reign of Jack Binion (who with his late father, Benny, is also a HOF member). McClelland was a primary face of the WSOP during the ’80s and ’90s, and eventually moved on to the Bellagio, where he ran the poker room for another decade. McClelland was also, though less famously, one of the early investors in online room UltimateBet, along with several prominent professional players.
Negreanu, also known as “Kid Poker,” and McClelland were the two finalists selected for induction from a list of ten presented to the Poker Hall of Fame’s voting committee, comprised of 41 living HOF members and selected media representatives. The eight other finalists who fell short of induction this yer are, alphabetically, Chris Bjorin, Humberto Brenes, Bruno Fitoussi, Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Bob Hooks, Mike Matusow and Huckleberry Seed.
World Series of Poker Executive Director and Caesars Interactive Senior VP Ty Stewart commended the pair’s induction, stating, “Congratulations to the newest members of the Poker Hall of Fame,” to the two newest members. “While a contrast in styles, there is a common thread between these two deserving nominees. Both live all-in on poker and have devoted their full hearts to the game.”
Negreanu and McClelland had their own brief statements of thanks prepared as well.
“Being inducted into the Class of 2014 Poker Hall of Fame is a very exciting prospect and I am sure it will be a very humbling experience,” said McClelland. “I thank everyone involved in this process and to the WSOP, WPT and all of the great people I have met and the wonderful people I have worked with throughout the years. Thank you for bestowing this honor upon me. I am very grateful.”
“It’s an honor to be inducted alongside so many great players that have come before me,” said Negreanu. “An even bigger honor to be recognized at age 40, the same age as the legend[ary] Chip Reese. Thank you to the living members of the Poker Hall of Fame and those on the Blue Ribbon Media Panel that voted for me.”
The pair will be honored in an induction ceremony to be held at 7:30 pm on November 7th, 2014, at the Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. The property is the birthplace of the WSOP and was acquired by Caesars (then Harrah’s), along with the WSOP and Poker Hall of Fame brands in 2004.