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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.

That said, I did want to share something important with readers — some of whom might be voters for the Poker Hall of Fame.  Posting this publicly was my idea.  I also received approval from the writer to post his thoughts.

As many of you know, Jack McClelland is very sick.  He’s still awaiting a heart transplant.  Now retired, Jack is struggling to get by each day and stay strong.  I think I can speak for everyone in the poker world that we wish Jack good health and a full recovery.


Jack and I stay in touch regularly.  I am proud to call him a friend.  Jack taught me a lot about poker when I was first learning about the game and how to write and report about it.  I would go so far as to call him a mentor.  Many others feel the same.

When it comes to induction into the Poker Hall of Fame, I do not believe that health concerns nor age should play a role.  Each nominee should be judged upon his or her own merit for induction.  What has the individual done?  What have they accomplished?  What will their legacy be?  Those are the questions I will ask myself when casting my ballot.  However, others may view this differently.

I think it’s appropriate to keep people informed and to provide updates that may be of interest to just about everyone in the game.  While I am not necessarily casting a vote for Jack (as I said, I have yet to decide), the following news should probably be known to those who know and care about Jack.

Late last week, Jack sent me the following e-mail:


Hi Nolan:

I have some good news to report

The heart battery is a bridge to a transplant.  It is very complicated and hard on your family, you need two people 24/7

For this reason I decided to “gamble with my life,” and did not accept a battery.  Plus it is a major operation on your body, similar to a transplant

In other parts of the world, stem-cell therapy has been a great boost to medicine.

The big news is that in a few months we may have stem cell therapy (injections) available for the heart.

My heart transplant team leader Dr. David Chang (at Cedar’s Sinai ) has been involved in the research and development and is very encouraged.

So, I may very well benefit from this new form of medicine.  I still need a heart transplant, but I may be able to build a much stronger and lengthier bridge while I am waiting on a new heart.

Gambling has been my life.  Hopefully I made the right decision this time.

Thank you my friend,

Jack McClelland



1 Comment

  1. Wow.

    Prayers for your friend and mentor.

    That’s a big gamble. Hope it pays big for him.

    Is he on some list for a new heart? (I hope)


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