The Poker Hall of Fame was founded by Las Vegas legend Benny Binion in 1979. Since then, a total of 46 professional poker players and industry icons (including Binion himself in 1990) have been inducted. On Sunday, one day before the 2014 WSOP Main Event’s November Nine were scheduled to reunite to battle it out for the top prize of $10 million, that number rose to 48 as two new members of the Poker Hall of Fame were inducted. The ultimate honor in the poker profession was bestowed upon Daniel Negreanu and Jack McClelland.
Negreanu’s induction wasn’t a huge surprise. Nicknamed ‘Kid Poker’, Daniel is a Canadian pro who’s been grinding the felt since the age of 22. Now just 40 years old, he has become the highest winning poker player in the history of the game. Neagreanu has 6 WSOP bracelets and 2 WPT titles under his belt, having accumulated just under $30 million in live event cashes over the last 18 years.
Further extolling his success, Daniel Negreanu is the only poker player to ever be named the WSOP Player of the Year twice, first in 2004, and again in 2013 after collecting his two most recent WSOP bracelets at the annual event. He was also the recipient of the WPT Payer of the Year Award in the 2004-05 season, when he wrangled up both of his WPT titles by winning the 2004 Borgata Poker Open and 2004 Five Diamond World Poker Classic. Daniel’s 2nd place finish at the 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop netted him $8,288,001, securing his current position at the top of the all-time winners list.
Negreanu has played a key role in the online poker industry as well. In 2005, he launched his own internet knowledge base, Full Contact Poker, and is now the chief poker strategy coach on PokerVT. Kid Poker has been an esteemed member of Team PokerStars Pros since 2007.
Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty, personal friend and agent of the Canadian poker po, had the honor of introducing Daniel as the next Poker Hall of Famer. He spoke very briefly of Negreanu’s poker accomplishments before turning the focal point to Daniel, the person. Balsbaugh told the assembled crowd that Negreanu’s top qualities are his confidence and his generosity, commending the young poker pro’s frequent contributions to charitable organizations as well as his encouragement of other affluent celebrities to do the same.
“Thank you. This is a great honor,” said Negreanu as he took the stage. In reference to Balsbaugh’s statements, he reiterated the importance of giving back to the community. “It’s not how you make money that matters. It’s what you do with it,” he said.
“There’s something about winning tournaments and player of the year awards that’s fabulous,” Daniel continued. “But when you’re voted for by your peers and recognized by the media and those that are already living members of the Hall of Fame, that’s irreplaceable.
“I’m in the 40th year of my life, I’m physically and mentally in the best place I’ve ever been, so to top it off with this is extra special. Once you’re in the Hall of Fame they can’t kick you out!” Negreanu quipped. “It’s the epitome of acknowledgement for what we do.”