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Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Blog, Essays, General Poker | 0 comments

Some Good News from Jack McClelland



Last year, I had the honor of emceeing the induction of Jack McClelland into the Poker Hall of Fame


All poker players owe a debt of gratitude to Jack McClelland, who has dedicated much of his life to the game he loves.

Jack served as tournament director of the World Series of Poker for more than a decade (1988 through 1999).  He later ran many of the biggest and most successful events on the World Poker Tour (2002 through 2012).  Jack also served as Tournament Director at the Bellagio for many years, until his retirement in 2013.  He’s also a devoted poker player.

Because we’ve worked together off and on and been friends for many years, Jack has shared news of his most recent health crisis with me on a regular basis.  I knew that many within the poker community — players and industry professionals alike — would want to know about his condition, and be kept up to date as to how he’s dealing with a life-threatening situation.  No doubt, thousands of people care about Jack and want him to pull through, while he awaits a heart transplant.  He granted permission to release various updates, which culminated in his induction into the Poker Hall of Fame, last year.




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Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Blog, General Poker, Personal, World Series of Poker | 1 comment

2014 Poker Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony




Earlier tonight, I had the great honor of emceeing this year’s annual Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

I’m deeply grateful to Ty Stewart and Seth Palansky (from Caesars Entertainment) for being chosen by them to host the event and for being permitted to stand along with so many poker legends, both past and present.

The Class of 2014 was comprised to two inductees — Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu.  Both of these exceptional gentlemen have contributed to the game immensely in different ways — McClelland primarily as a tournament official and industry leader, and Negreanu as a poker player and ambassador.  I was pleased to see quite contrasting individuals honored in this way, which reveals there are many ways to be successful, have an impact, and make the game better.  Both honorees have done exactly that, and more.

The night was made even more special because we all returned to the hallowed “place that made poker famous” (that’s the casino’s catchy tagline).  Binion’s Gambling Hall (formally Binion’s Horseshoe) rolled out the red carpet for everyone who attended, hosting the gathering inside what used to be known as Benny’s Bullpen.  Now, it’s called the Longhorn Room.  My deepest thanks goes to Michelle, Paul, Jerry, Brad, and all the other fine people working at Binion’s who helped put the evening together, and who keep the tradition alive.

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Posted by on Oct 23, 2014 in Blog, General Poker, World Series of Poker | 2 comments

Thoughts on the 2014 Poker Hall of Fame Inductees (Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu)



Earlier today, the Poker Hall of Fame governing council announced the selection of two individuals for induction as the “Class of 2014.”

The latest inductees are Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu.  They will be officially welcomed into the prestigious ring of honor on November 9th, one day before the World Series of Poker Main Event Championship (final table) is played.

Induction into the Poker Hall of Fame is the game’s supreme honor.  To date, only 48 persons have been selected in the 35-year history of the exclusive fraternity.  Of these honorees, 23 are still living.

This marks the first year that I wasn’t part of the governing council.  However, I did have a vote in the process and casted my ballot.  The choice from among the ten nominees was a difficult one to make, which was taken very seriously.  I see virtually all the ten nominees as being worthy of consideration and expect that some of them will be inducted in the years to come.

In the end, the living Poker Hall of Fame members, along with key media people voted and selected two truly outstanding poker professionals.  I am thrilled with this year’s class, and look forward to congratulating them personally when the official induction ceremony takes place.  I also have the great honor of serving as emcee at the event, which will be held at Binion’s Gambling Hall, the site of so much poker history and so many memories.

To Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu — well done!  You both deserve it!

Here’s the official press release which came out earlier today, from Seth Palansky at Caeasars Entertainment:

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Posted by on Sep 26, 2014 in Blog, General Poker, Picture 1, World Series of Poker | 4 comments

Poker Hall of Fame — Past and Present (A Photo Essay)



(Photo:  Announcing final table action at the 2002 World Series of Poker) 


It’s a privilege to be one of the 42 voting members for the Poker Hall of Fame.

This year’s class of ten nominees makes for one of the toughest ballots choices in history.  The decision of voters is difficult, since virtually all those selected by the general public and the nominating committee are worthy of serious consideration.  Looking at these names, I do believe that a majority of the nominees on this year’s list will eventually be inducted into poker’s most prestigious fraternity.  For most of the people on this list, it’s just a matter of time.

One of the perks of working in poker for so long is being acquainted with many of the top players in the game, including quite a few poker legends.  Over the years, I’ve managed to take a great many photographs.  This was before camera phones existed, when you had to buy rolls of film and ten carefully choose the best shots.  Most of these photos have never been published before, in part because I’m a lousy photographer.

That said, in the coming months ahead, I’ll post a collection of photos that I’ve snapped over the years, taken between 1993 and the present.  I’ve probably accumulated 500 or so interesting photos, which is a decent collection, but nothing on par with past WSOP photographers including Eric Harkins, Larry Grossman, or Ulvis Alberts.  They have thousands, if not tens of thousands of images.

Today, I’m including a mix of poker players connected in some way to the Poker Hall of Fame discussion, along with my memories of what was going on when the photo was taken.

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Posted by on Sep 10, 2014 in Blog, General Poker, World Series of Poker | 1 comment

An Update from Jack McClelland




Yesterday, the ten nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame “Class of 2014” were announced.

After reviewing the list of ten, every nominee appears worthy and deserves strong consideration.

This year, Caesars Interactive Entertainment (CIE) made the decision to shift what has been an active role on the selection process from serving on the Nominating Committee, which I have done since I started working for the WSOP, to that of an actual media voter.  So now I have one of the 20 coveted spots allocated to poker media, which are ultimately combined with the 21 living members of the Poker Hall of Fame who also cast their ballots.

This year’s list of nominees makes for some very tough choices.  Fortunately, we voters can divide our allotment of ten votes each (each voter gets ten points to award to nominees as he/she wishes).  In other words, we can vote for multiple people on the list.  Quite honestly, I have yet to decide exactly how I shall cast my ballot.

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