To young poker players, Mike Sexton is part of the old school. He won tournaments back in the day, and he now sits at the commentator desk on the World Poker Tour.
To those in the poker world for more than a few years, Sexton is known as the consummate ambassador for the game. He is widely respected for his skills on the table as well as everything he has given to poker through the years. Having played the game since 1977, Sexton continues to be an integral part of the community, the voice of the World Poker Tour, and a passionate supporter of poker and its players.
With his jobs as the WPT commentator and PartyPoker sponsored pro and ambassador, he doesn’t have as much time to play the game as much as in past years. He also recently penned an autobiography titled Life’s a Gamble and has been giving interviews about it over the past few months. So when he does play tournaments, his passion is evident and his desire to win is no less than it was decades ago.
From Commentator to Champion
Sexton has been with the WPT since its first season. He and Vince Van Patten were tapped by WPT founder Steve Lipscomb to pair up as the voices of poker for the masses who were consuming poker on television. The duo proved so successful that they are still there, now in the middle of Season 15.
And he earned that spot, as well as his unofficial title of poker’s ambassador. From writing books and articles to teaching seminars, and from his connections to numerous charitable endeavors to his creation of the original Tournament of Champions concept, Sexton has given much to the community through the years. Moreover, before the recent PartyPoker.net WPT Montreal event in Canada, the longtime pro had earned nearly $6 million in live tournament earnings, which includes a 1989 World Series of Poker bracelet victory in Seven-Card Stud Split and the 2006 Tournament of Champions he won for $1 million.
For many years, the WPT prohibited staff and crew members, including Sexton, from playing in the tournaments, but that ban was lifted in 2010. He proceeded to make WPT final tables in 2011 and 2013, among his other cashes on the tour and final tables elsewhere, like at the WSOP.
When he bought in to the Montreal event in November, Sexton did it with the same enthusiasm and joy that he always brings to the poker tables. He spent much of the C$3,500 buy-in event chatting with tablemates and playing his best. And then he made the final table.
From a starting field of 648 entries and a total prize pool of C$2,199,960, Sexton took the chip lead to the final table of six players on November 17. He eliminated two of the four opponents on the way to heads-up action against Benny Chen, at which point Sexton said, “I’m feeling the vibe, doing this for the old school players and my WPT family.”
My partner in crime hall of famer Mike Sexton goes in to final table tomorrow as chip leader!!! @PlaygroundPoker can't keep the champ down— Vince Van Patten (@VinceVanP_WPT) November 17, 2016
Chen took a bit of a lead into the heads-up duel, and Sexton struggled from start to finish. For a majority of the 158 hands the two played, he rode a short stack and struggled to find good cards. As players around the world watched the livestream on Twitch late into the night hours, Sexton often looked frustrated but never defeated. He worked every chip carefully and earned every chip he won. Finally, he took the lead, and on the 264th hand of the night, Chen pushed all-in with K-J offsuit, and Sexton called with pocket queens. The board delivered another queen, and Sexton won the tournament.
For that victory, Sexton won C$425,980, along with a Hublot watch, 24K-gold Monster headphones, a championship belt from the Playground Poker Club, and his name on the famous WPT Champions Cup. He will also receive a complimentary seat into the season-ending WPT Tournament of Champions.
Of course, Sexton has won tournaments before, numerous ones that included the aforementioned WSOP event and TOC title. He was also inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009. But now he holds a WPT title after commentating on the tour for 15 seasons and congratulating hundreds of other players on their victories. On the night of November 17, he was the one holding all of the chips.
Thanks from All
Congratulations for Sexton flooded social media after his WPT victory, and he likely received countless personal messages as well.
For all of his years of giving to poker, sharing his stories and advice, caring deeply about the game, and being the best ambassador poker could want, the least we can do is send our own congratulatory note to him. He deserves nothing less.
Congrats from all of us at PokerUpdate, Mike!
Congratulations Mike Sexton. You're a very deserving WPT champion. I'm so happy for you & so proud of you. Can't wait to celebrate with you!— Linda Johnson (@FirstLadyPoker) November 18, 2016