McClelland and Negreanu will be inducted officially on Sunday, November 9 at 7:30 pm at Binion’s Gambling Hall – the birthplace of poker in Las Vegas – and the original home of the World Series of Poker (from 1970-2004). The Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony and dinner will occur inside the Longhorn Room, which was originally called Benny’s Bullpen. Benny’s Bullpen hosted the very first final table of the World Series of Poker in 1970.
The Poker Hall of Fame Gala kicks off the November Nine festivities, taking place a day before the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event final table gets underway at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino (Nov. 10-11). The venue is a sentimental choice given it is where McClelland served as tournament director and Negreanu won his first World Series of Poker bracelet.
“Congratulations to the newest members of the Poker Hall of Fame,” said Poker Hall of Fame governing council member Ty Stewart. “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.”
McClelland, 63, has spent four decades in the game of poker on the operator side of the business holding virtually every position in a poker room, while Negreanu, 40, burst onto the scene as a player, with three victories in 1997 and has done nothing but win since, becoming poker’s No. 1 ranked live player, with nearly $30 million in live tournament winnings.
The Poker Hall of Fame Governing Council would sincerely like to congratulate the other 2014 finalists all whom remain eligible for future induction: Chris Bjorin, Humberto Brenes, Bruno Fitoussi, Ted Forrest, Jennifer Harman, Bob Hooks, Mike Matusow and Huckleberry Seed.
“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 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."
About this year’s inductees:
Jack McClelland, 63, has seen poker from all sides and from its highest high to its lowest low. A one-time semi-professional bowler who moved out to Las Vegas to help his ailing mother, McClelland ended up with one of the most storied poker operations careers spanning five decades. McClelland has worked with three existing Poker Hall of Famers, Eric Drache, Jack Binion and Bobby Baldwin and was involved at the Bellagio when Mike Sexton and the WPT brought their first tournament there. From tournament directing the WSOP in the 80’s to running the Bellagio poker room from 2002 to 2013, McClelland has been part of a lot of poker history, and has done so from the operator side, starting as an $18 a day dealer and working his way up to running the biggest events and biggest rooms in Las Vegas. McClelland also played a little poker, but only for a brief stint full time. He has worked poker events in Aruba, Cyprus, London, Vienna and Russia. McClelland retired at the end of last year.
This Canadian-born superstar of Romanian decent moved to Las Vegas when he was 22 and has accomplished more than anyone in the game the past 18 years. Now 40, he now joins David “Chip” Reese as the only Poker Hall of Fame members to be enshrined in the year they turned 40 years old. Negreanu is poker’s all-time winningest player, with nearly $30 million in lifetime earnings. “Kid Poker” has captured six WSOP gold bracelets – and is the only two-time WSOP Player of the Year – winning it most recently in 2013 and initially in 2004. He also has two WPT titles, is second on the all-time WPT money list, third on the WSOP all-time money list and has made his living playing poker, travelling the world and serving as one of the game’s greatest ambassadors since the late 90’s. He is the face of the Poker Stars online poker site and has appeared countless times on televised poker shows around the globe and has carried the mantle for the game. Negreanu is charitable both with his time and his resources to help the game and other causes he believes in and is as fan friendly a poker pro as you will find. Never shy to share an opinion, Negreanu has influenced tournament structures, betting styles, table image and strategy and weighs in on topics on and off the felt without fear.
The Poker Hall of Fame, established in 1979, was acquired by Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars) 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. There are now 23 living members.
The main criteria for the Poker Hall of Fame are as follows:
- A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
- Be a minimum of 40 years old at time of nomination
- Played for high stakes
- Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
- Stood the test of time
- Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results.
The entire list of 48 Poker Hall of Fame members includes (alphabetical with year of induction in parenthesis):