Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two More for the PHOF

I mentioned a few weeks ago when the nominees for this year’s Poker Hall of Fame were announced how this year I was not part of the panel of media who voted along with the living PHOF members. I had that privilege to cast a ballot for the previous four years, actually. Was honored to have had the chance to take part and happy to step aside to allow others the chance to do so.

Today the WSOP announced Daniel Negreanu and Jack McClelland had been voted in, with Negreanu a “first-ballot” Hall of Famer as he just turned 40, the minimum age for induction.

As I didn’t participate this time, I’m not 100% sure on what the instructions were for those who did. In the past, we’d receive the ballot with the 10 nominees listed and vote according to a “10-point must system” meaning we had 10 points we had to assign to one, two, or three candidates. So we could give all 10 points to one nominee, split the points among two or three, or even vote for no one (I think).

Then the points were all tallied and the two candidates who received the most total points were elected. I believe at some point early on there was talk about a candidate needing enough points to exceed a minimum overall percentage to make it (as in the Baseball Hall of Fame), but if I’m not mistaken they just take the top two point-getters, however many points they happened to get.

Like I say, I don’t know if they used the same system this year, but if they did I have to imagine everyone had to have given Negreanu some of their points, perhaps even most of them. And I’d guess many of the living PHOFers likely cast votes for McClelland, as well as some of the media.

Negreanu’s poker résumé is so extensive it goes without saying he was a shoo-in and much deserving. McClelland recently retired at the end of last year after four decades in poker, a time that included serving as a tournament director since the 1980s in various poker rooms (including at the WSOP).

I was at McClelland’s last tourney, actually, the WPT Five Diamond at the Bellagio last December, where there were some nice moments of recognition for him at the final table. His contributions to poker are harder for those who came into the game more recently to appreciate, but he’s clearly had a significant influence that many have regarded as especially positive.

There will be a ceremony at the November Nine to recognize Negreanu and McClelland. Perhaps next summer the WSOP will consider my Poker Hall of Fame idea to construct some sort of temporary “Hall” in the halls of the Rio.

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