Mike Sexton

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Mike Sexton
Mike Sexton 2019.jpg
Sexton in 2019
Nickname(s)The Ambassador of Poker
BornMichael Richard Sexton
(1947-09-22)September 22, 1947
Shelbyville, Indiana, U.S.
DiedSeptember 6, 2020(2020-09-06) (aged 72)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s)1
Final table(s)23
Money finish(es)59
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
12th, 2000
World Poker Tour
Title(s)1
Final table(s)4
Money finish(es)15

Michael Richard Sexton (September 22, 1947 – September 6, 2020) was an American professional poker player and commentator. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.[1]

Early years[edit]

Sexton was a gymnast and attended Ohio State University, where he earned a degree in public recreation after changing majors from business.[2] He joked that he majored in poker because he played very frequently in college. He also regularly played contract bridge and taught classes on it in North Carolina.[2]

Sexton joined the U.S. Army as a paratrooper assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in 1970.[3] The division had just returned from Vietnam and Sexton never saw combat. While he was in the army, he taught ballroom dancing and one of his clients convinced him to try being a salesman, which he continued to do after his two-year enlistment was up. After a while, he realized that he could make more money playing poker than being a salesman, so he took up poker in 1977.[4]

In 1985 he moved to Nevada to pursue poker full-time.[4] Sexton was a well-known cohort of poker player Stu Ungar, and was a pallbearer and speaker at Ungar's funeral.[5]

Poker player and promoter[edit]

World Poker Tour[edit]

On the World Poker Tour (WPT), Sexton had seventeen career cashes in WPT tournaments, including four final tables. In November 2016, Sexton won the WPT Montreal Main Event, besting a field of 648 entries to win the US$317,896 first prize, on a buy-in of CAD$3,850 per player. It was his third time reaching a WPT final table and his first WPT victory.[6] At the time of his death, his career WPT earnings were $1,011,725, ranking him 233rd in WPT earnings, as well as holding 64th place for 4 WPT final table appearances.[7]

World Series of Poker[edit]

Sexton won several tournaments, including one World Series of Poker bracelet, and almost $5,700,000 in total WSOP tournament winnings.[8] He won his bracelet in the $1,500 Seven card stud split event at the 1989 World Series of Poker.[9] His 72 cashes at the WSOP account for $2.6 million of his total winnings.[10] Sexton finished 10th in a preliminary event at the 2005 World Series of Poker and also in the final 16 of Poker Superstars II.[11] On June 27, 2006, Sexton won the third annual World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions event, and along with it the $1,000,000 first prize. In the final hand, his A A defeated Daniel Negreanu's Q J on a board of 10 8 4 A 8.[12] In July 2012, Sexton finished in 9th place in the "Big One for One Drop" WSOP event, earning him $1,109,333, the biggest cash of his career.[13] During his final World Series of Poker in 2019, Sexton partnered with James Holzhauer, a famed game show contestant and sports gambler making his first World Series of Poker appearance.[14]

WSOP bracelets[edit]

Year Event Prize Money Source
1989 $1,500 Seven-Card Stud Split $104,400 [10]

Commentator and promoter[edit]

A former commentator of the World Poker Tour, alongside Vince Van Patten, he wrote articles for Card Player Magazine and the Gambling Times. He founded the now-defunct Tournament of Champions of Poker, which only let tournament winners from the previous year compete.[15]

PartyPoker[edit]

Sexton co-founded and was the chairman for PartyPoker.com,[16] at one time the biggest online poker site in the United States, despite the company being under a $500K deficit after its first launch in 2002. Four years after launch, the company went public for $9 billion, but Sexton sold out his shares for $15 million a year and a half prior to the public offering. When addressing this, Sexton said he did not regret his decision, even though selling when he did cost him an estimated $500 million.[17]

Charity[edit]

Sexton donated half of his post-tax winnings from his win in 2006 of the third annual World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions event, and along with it the $1,000,000 first prize, to five charities. He pledged to do the same with all future winnings.[12] In early 2009, Sexton along with Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher and Lisa Tenner, created PokerGives.org, a nonprofit organization that offers poker players an easier way to give to charity.[18]

Honors, awards, distinctions[edit]

Sexton was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.[19] For all of his work promoting poker, Sexton is often known as "the ambassador of poker".[20] On February 15, 2006, Sexton was recognized as the top poker ambassador at the Card Player Magazine Player of the Year Awards Gala.[21]

On July 21, 2020, the WPT Champions Cup was renamed to the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup[22]

Death[edit]

Sexton died on September 6, 2020, two weeks before his 73rd birthday, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. [20]


Bibliography[edit]

  • Shuffle Up and Deal: The Ultimate No Limit Texas Hold 'em Guide (2005) ISBN 0-06-076251-9
  • Life's a Gamble (2016) ISBN 978-1-909457-56-0 Published by D&B Poker

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Poker commentator Mike Sexton dies at age 72". ESPN.com. September 7, 2020. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Legendary Poker Icon Mike Sexton Passes Away at 72". Poker Central. September 7, 2020. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  3. ^ "Before the Game: Mike Sexton the Paratrooper (Part One)". www.pokernews.com. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Tributes pour in for poker giant Mike Sexton". Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 7, 2020. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Mike Sexton Autobiography Coming Next Year". HighstakesDB. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  6. ^ "Mike Sexton Wins 2016 World Poker Tour Montreal Main Event - Poker News". www.cardplayer.com. Archived from the original on June 17, 2017. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
  7. ^ "Mike Sexton WPT Career Stats". World Poker Tour. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  8. ^ "Mike Sexton - Poker index and results of Mike Sexton". RankingHero. Archived from the original on September 22, 2020. Retrieved September 22, 2020.
  9. ^ "Poker player, commentator Mike Sexton dies at 72". Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 7, 2020. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Klinski, Craig. "Poker World Mourns The Loss Of Mike Sexton". Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  11. ^ "Mike Sexton | Poker Player Biography". Archived from the original on August 9, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  12. ^ a b Sexton, Mike (September 2006). Remembering Stuey 1953-1998. Poker Player Magazine.
  13. ^ "5 Questions with Mike Sexton: $1 Million Big One for One Drop Charity Event | World Poker Tour". Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  14. ^ "'Jeopardy!' Champ James Holzhauer Finishes Out of Money at World Series of Poker Debut". New York Post. Associated Press. June 25, 2019. Retrieved June 25, 2019.
  15. ^ Caruso III, Anthony (September 7, 2020). "Poker icon Mike Sexton has passed away". The Capital Sports Report. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  16. ^ "Mike Sexton Leaves World Poker Tour, Accepts Role As Chairman Of partypoker - Poker News". www.cardplayer.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2019. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  17. ^ "Honoring Mike Sexton: Six career milestones that made him an irreplaceable legend". Somuchpoker. September 8, 2020. Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  18. ^ "PokerGives makes donating easy for players - Poker News". Archived from the original on September 10, 2020. Retrieved February 6, 2009.
  19. ^ "Life's A Gamble: Interview with Mike Sexton on His Great Poker Life Journey". CardsChat.com. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 7, 2020.
  20. ^ a b Andrew, Scottie. "Poker legend Mike Sexton dies at 72". CNN. Archived from the original on September 8, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  21. ^ "Mike Sexton, World Poker Tour Commentator, Dies at 72 | Hollywood Reporter". www.hollywoodreporter.com. Archived from the original on September 7, 2020. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  22. ^ "World Poker Tour® Announces the WPT® Champions Cup Will Be Named in Honor of Commentator and WPT Champions Club Member Mike Sexton | World Poker Tour". www.worldpokertour.com.

External links[edit]