The finalists for the 2014 Poker Hall of Fame have been named. This year’s class consists of five repeat nominees and five new candidates.
Daniel Negreanu headlines the list of nominees. Joining him are Humberto Brenes, Jennifer Harman, Bruno Fitoussi, Jack McClelland, Huck Seed, Ted Forrest, Chris Bjorin, Mike Matusow and legendary road gambler Bob Hooks.
The list of finalists now heads to a 41-member panel who will each vote for up to two players to induct. The panel consists of 21 living Hall of Fame members and 20 media members.
Voters will vote on the candidates in order of preference and return their ballots to the Poker Hall of Fame governing council. The two finalists with the most votes, provided they are a majority, will be inducted.
This year’s induction dinner will be held on Sunday, November 9. The inductees will also be recognized during the WSOP Main Event final table on November 10.
Daniel Negreanu a Virtual Lock for First Ballot Induction
Not surprisingly, Daniel Negreanu is a finalist for induction in his first year of eligibility. Outside of Phil Ivey, Daniel may be the only player 40 and under that clearly meets the hall’s criteria.
Negreanu is #1 on tournament poker’s All-Time Money List with $29.76 million in earnings. He is a six-time WSOP bracelet winner, two-time WPT Champion and former winner of the now defunct United States Poker Championships.
He has also excelled in the high stakes cash arena both live and online. Negreanu was one of the regulars on GSN”s now defunct High Stakes Poker, as well as numerous other poker TV programs.
While he doesn’t really need the extra help, his contributions to the game away from the table have been equally as impressive. He is the poster child for PokerStars and has been their primary ambassador for years. He has also given his time to help promote the game at all levels and has regularly been tapped to be a featured televised player.
Negreanu has served as player advisor for the World Series of Poker and has been consistently vocal on all matters surrounding the game. While his opinions may not be popular with all players, he has never been afraid to stand up for the game or call out those who have wronged the game.
Negreanu is one of the game’s all-time greats and deserving of a first ballot induction. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where that doesn’t happen this year.
Fitoussi and McClelland Among Early Frontrunners for Second Nomination
Each year, the Poker Hall of Fame inducts up to two nominees. Five out of the last six years have seen one player and one individual whose nomination was at least partially based on being a “contributor” to the game. This year, two names fit under the latter.
Jack McClelland is known as one of the greatest poker tournament directors in the history of the game. While primarily known for running the WSOP in the 1980’s, his career in poker spans five decades.
Working events all over the world, McClelland earned the respect of pros and industry peers alike and helped to grow both the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour into premier events. McClelland retired from the industry last year.
If you’re a French poker player, odds are you’re playing because of Bruno Fitoussi. An experienced player in his own right, Fitoussi has over $2.7 million in live tournament earnings.
His greatest accomplishment in the game came at the 2007 World Series of Poker. He finished runner-up in the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. Event to earn over $1.27 million.
Fitoussi was instrumental in developing the French poker market. He introduced Texas Hold’em to the Aviation Club de France in 1995 and over the next few years worked to bring poker to live TV. Fitoussi has appeared on French poker shows as both a player and commentator and is a key part to poker’s growth in the region.