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Mike Sexton: Legendary WPT Player and One of the All Time Poker Hall of Famers

  • Published Date October 5, 2020
  • By Admin

Every sector needs innovators and dreamers. The technology industry had Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Thomas Edison changed the world with electricity. Henry Ford transformed personal transportation so that even the average people could afford the car.

Bill to Windows, Steve to Apple, Eddison to Electricity, Henry to Transportation, Let the Drums Roll: Now presenting Sexton to Poker.

Mike Sexton may not be a business titan or an inventor, but he was definitely a visionary and an innovator. As a longtime World Poker Tour commentator and a co-founder of partypoker, Sexton was much more than just a poker player.

From the advancement of online poker to endorsement to tour sponsorships, Sexton could see the future. He knew that the poker game could and would be more than a series of tournaments that are being played in smoky backrooms of casinos.

Passing of a legendary poker player Mike Sexton

Mike Sexton, legendary poker player, one of the most famous and prominent figures in the modern poker world, died on September 6, at the age of 72 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Sexton’s death was announced by Linda Johnson, a fellow member of Poker Hall of Fame. Sexton was a hero to many, an inspiration to those with whom he was close, and a very beloved father and friend, he was, to many, the greatest poker promoter the game has ever had.

For around a month, Sexton had been in hospice care, and his passing seems to be close. Many in the world of poker gave words of support on social media platforms. Losing a personality which was so important to the poker industry shocked the fans and players with his health condition apparently coming out of nowhere. 

Mike Matusow hosted a live stream with many of his friends and colleagues offering their memories to the legendary Mike Sexton. Those who were wishing Mike well and making a one-time request to recover already knew it was not realistic to accept it.

 

Sexton’s passion for poker

Sexton was born in 1947, in Indiana. He graduated from Ohio State University in 1969. After graduation, he enlisted in the army during the Vietnam War and served from 1970-72. Though he did not see any combat action, but he did find plenty of poker action in the barracks of Fort Benning, Georgia. The poker games brought in some extra money for him. 

After coming home to North Carolina and was constantly coming out well ahead in local poker games, he chose to settle in Las Vegas in 1985 to establish a career as a full-time pro poker player. A very popular card game which steals the hearts of many players across the world.

Mike Sexton devoted his life to the game of poker. First, he spent several years as a professional poker player. Then, he seamlessly moved to an unforgettable role as a TV commentator for a World Poker Tour (WPT) for 15 years alongside Vince Van Patten.

Mike Sexton is universally recognized with helping kick start the poker boom of the early 2000s, the time when poker arguably has never been more famous. Poker is still a level above its pre-poker boom popularity, thanks mainly to Sexton, who was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009. 

Mike Sexton - The voice of WPT

After moving to Las Vegas to become a poker pro in 1985, he made connections there which included further WPT creator Steve Lipscomb. When Lipscomb prepared for the launch of the WPT idea, he let Johnson and Sexton know about that idea on a plane ride to Costa Rica, which has become one of the most prominent poker programmes on TV. A year later Sexton told PokerNews, “Of course, Linda and I were over the more about it; we thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. We loved the idea of creating a new sport.” 

Lipscomb asked Sexton to act as a commentator, a role he would fill alongside Vince Van Patten. He accepted the role and became the company’s face. He narrated the action on dozens of final tables for the next 15 years in his enthusiastic voice. His role was much more than just handling a microphone. In those early years, he assisted in convincing the casinos to host WPT events. 

He used to be always around the game - shaking hands with the players as well as promoting the game. A smile apparently always went with a handshake. Sexton’s ready experience and passion for the poker game helped welcome numerous players to the poker world, as the pioneering broadcasts of the World Poker Tour (WPT) played a huge role in the world. This is because he was one of the key figures in the early 2000s who promoted the boom in the poker industry.

Mike Sexton return to partypoker

After serving as a television commentator and all-round ambassador for 15 years in WPT, he stepped down from the role and took a chairman position of partypoker in 2017, an online poker site he helped to found in 2001. Tony Dunst replaced Mike Sexton as a WPT commentator. The Poker Hall of Fame had a long history with partypoker. He was a part of the team when it developed into a big industry in the years before anti-poker legislation passed in the United States. 

Sexton said, “I was at partypoker from the start, before there was even a name or a single virtual card was dealt. I have experienced the crazy times of the poker boom when we became the No.1 site in the world. I remember people sleeping on the office floor when we were all working 24/7 to get the software launched, and I remember the first partypoker million on a cruise ship which overlaid $500K.”

Mike O’Malley, a fellow worker from the early period, shared an incident on Twitter from those frightening, unprofitable days that highlighted Sexton’s devotion to the poker game and his dedication to expanding poker into a worldwide phenomenon. According to O’Malley, partypoker brass was worried over the $500K deficit and vowed never to host another million party poker. But Sexton persuaded them to host it another time after going on a rant about how fruitful it is going to be. With a perfectly executed ad campaign centred around the newly airing WPT, he was absolutely right. After that, the organization began to lead the industry as online poker flourished, and the poker boom came to life.    

When Sexton was back with partypoker in 2017, he travelled to events around the world, cordially welcomed the players, and simply played the role of ambassador with excellence. This was a trend throughout his time in poker.

Mike Sexton’s poker career

Sexton once said that he “made poker his life” and there is definitely no other decent way to describe the decades he has spent in the poker industry. That is why he got the title of “Ambassador of the poker.” He played a number of roles in and around the game, touching countless lives with his jovial character, his recognizable voice, and ready humor.

According to the Hendon Mob database, Sexton earned $6.7 million in live tournament winnings throughout his career. In 1989, Sexton won his first and only WSOP gold bracelet in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Stud Split tournament. He also had two runner-up finishers and four fourth-place finishes, and many more final table appearances. In addition to the WSOP gold bracelet, he also won the third annual WSOP Tournament of Champions event in 2006, beating Daniel Negreanu in a seven-hour heads-up play. 

In 2012, Sexton finished ninth in the “Big One for One Drop” WSOP event for $1,109,333, the largest score of his career. In 2016, his dream came true when he won the WPT title by taking down the WPT Montreal Main Event for $317,817. In 2020, earlier this summer, WPT honored Sexton by engraving his name on the prestigious Champions Cup the “Mike Sexton WPT Champion’s Cup.”

Mike Sexton said, “To have the WPT Champions Cup named in my honor and be part of the experience for all WPT champions moving forward is truly the highest peak in my 40 years in poker. Thank you to the World Poker Tour for this humbling distinction.”

You may also read about Online poker: The next big thing in the industry

Mike Sexton’s net worth

Of course, to know the net worth is always the most intriguing question. Poker celebrities are role models for beginners and generally become a big inspiration for them to become proficient poker skills. Mike Sexton’s net worth estimates $10 million. Difficult to imagine the sum. Isn’t it. But for his colleagues, this sum was not at all surprising as he was the intelligent poker player

Charitable Focus

A commitment to charity was another theme in Sexton’s career. It was a big part of his life. When he won the WSOP tournament in 2006, he donated half of his winnings to five different charities. For him, charitable donations were a means for poker to build goodwill in communities and break the negative reputation that some had for the game. Sexton said in 2006, “The most ardent adversaries of poker could not be against poker if we were to start donating huge bucks to worthwhile charities. And why not? It’s the right thing to do.” 

Conclusion

“Mike Sexton’s impact on poker has been immense, and the game would not be the same without him, “said the WPT Executive Tour Director. “You cannot mention the WPT, Partypoker, or the Tournament of Champions without Mike Sexton because there's a chance that none of them would exist today without his influence.

Those who used to watch him host WPT Main Tour events on Fox Sports will always remember his catchphrase which he used to say at the end of every episode,“May all your cards be live and may all your pots be monsters.”

Feeling incited after knowing the dedication Sexton has given to the game of poker. The visionary effort he had put in pushing the game to a new level of popularity. Would you like to play a game of poker? New to the game of poker? Well, the best way to learn and practice is by playing free online poker

To become a successful Poker player at this skilled game is not as easy as it may look. As Mike said, poker is easy to understand but takes a lifetime to master. The game requires dedication, patience, and discipline to become a poker pro. With the increase in poker popularity, there are many practice platforms where you can learn the game without any hassle. 

Gamentio is one of the reliable and safe platforms to play free online poker. It gives you the feel of a real casino from the comfort of your home. You can learn the basic poker rules, enhance your poker game skills, and practice as long as you want until you feel confident about your game and start getting rewarded for your strategies and skill.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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