The poker community has lost a true legend as Mike Sexton has lost his difficult battle with prostate cancer. Sexton, 72, had recently been informed that his cancer had spread to other organs of his body, and he succumbed to the disease on Sunday.
It was Linda Johnson that broke the news of Sexton’s passing to the poker community, and she was saddened to report the passing of her close friend. Johnson is a fellow poker player, and she has also directed several tournaments for which Sexton had been the lead broadcaster.
Sexton was an ambassador for the game of poker and worked tirelessly to promote the game that he loved. He is most remembered for his time spent as a commentator of the World Poker Tour, but he has spent a lifetime in the sport.
Vince Van Patten worked with Sexton on the World Poker Tour, and the latter man spent time as the color commentator in that industry. Sexton is also known and remembered for his days of playing poker, and he was extremely successful and respected during his playing days.
Sexton put together an impressive playing career in the sport of poker and cashed in at 72 World Series of Poker events throughout his career. The legendary poker star has one World Poker Tour title under his belt, but his fame extends over more than just his accomplishments when playing poker.
Sexton Lived and Breathed Poker
Sexton was born in Shelbyville, Ind., in 1947 and was a talented gymnast growing up. The poker legend went on to attend Ohio State and earned a degree in public recreation during his time there.
His poker career didn’t take off until 1985 when he gave up his career as a salesman to move to Las Vegas. Sexton realized that he could make more money by playing poker, and he set out to Sin City to look for more gambling opportunities.
It didn’t take long for Sexton to become a big name in the Las Vegas poker scene, and he eventually built up a close personal friendship with Stuey Ungar. Ungar was another poker legend in Las Vegas, but his life was cut short due to drug use in 1998.
Sexton got his big break when he founded PartyPoker in the early 2000s and was a spokesperson for the site for many years. PartyPoker was the biggest online poker site in the world during the first part of the 21st century.
Sexton eventually moved on to his broadcasting career, which helped gain him more fame and notoriety.
Young Generation Beloved Sexton
The sport of poker started to become popular in the early 2000s, and Sexton played a major role in that phenomenon. Sexton was on the World Poker Tour broadcasts from 2003 until 2017, calling some of the biggest tournaments in the world.
Not only did Sexton do a great job of covering the action that took place at the poker tables, but he also explained the sport of poker to his listeners. A large percentage of the younger generation learned how to play poker from listening to his commentary.
Several of the game’s biggest stars took to social media to express their sadness and condolences to the passing of Sexton. There was a large age gap between those that paid respects, signifying just how many people Sexton was able to reach.
The World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour have been able to reach massive broadcasting deals in the last decade, and it was the work of Sexton that helped make this possible.