This year the poker community lost one of the big voices of poker. The professional poker player and commentator Mike Saxton died at the age of 72. His impressive career has earned him multiple wins, induction into the Poker Hall of Fame and is famously known as The ambassador of poker. This is the story of Mike Sexton.

Who is Mike Sexton?

Sexton was an american professional poker player and commentator. He was an entity in the poker community. Mike commentated The World Poker Tour with actor and former professional tennis player, Vince Van Patten. He got his first and only bracelet in 1998 in the $1.500 Seven card stud split event at the 1989 World Series of Poker.

His impact and achievements did not come unnoticed. Mike Sexton was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.

Mike Saxton

Early life of Mike Sexton

He was born Michael Richard Sexton, in september 22, 1947 in Shelbyville, Indiana. His parents got divorced when he was only four years old. When he was young he was actually far from a poker player. He was a gymnast. He earned a degree as public recreation after changing majors from business from The Ohio State University. He began playing poker during college. He often joked that he actually majored in poker due to the time he spent playing. Besides poker, he also played a bit of contract bridge.

Eventually he went on to join the U.S. Army as a paratrooper. He was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division in the year of 1970. He never went on to see combat as the division had just returned from war in Vietnam. His past as a gymnast went on to become useful, when he taught himself ballroom dancing in the army. He began teaching it to people. One of ‘clients’ saw a future salesman in Mike and encouraged him to pursue a career as a salesman. This became relevant later on in his life. During this time he got married. Mike spent a short period working as a salesman before returning to his ‘major in poker’.

He took on poker in 1977 as he thought that he would make more money playing poker, then he would as a salesman. This took a toll on his marriage and they eventually got divorced. It took almost 10 years before he really went for it. In 1985 he moved to Nevada and advanced to a full-time poker player.

The ambassador of poker

Mike Sexton has proved himself at the poker table. He has got an astounding 17 career cashes in the World Poker Tour (WPT). He even won as late as the 2016 World Poker Tour in Montreal. His first prize amounted to $317,896.

His bracelet from the World Series of Poker is still one of his biggest achievements. His highest rank in The Global Poker Index is #212. His all time money amounts to a humongous $6,516,421.

Mike Saxton

His cashes aside, Mike also cemented himself as a known innovator and entrepreneur within the poker community. Mike Sexton used his wits within his business majors to co-found the Partypoker platform. Partypoker became a major player in the realm of online poker and even topped the list of the biggest poker sites in the United States. Although it had a rough patch with a $500k deficit after its launch in 2020. The former salesman sold his shares two and a half years later for $15 million a year. The company went public later on, after four year, for 9 billion dollars. Auch. Mike Sexton is estimated to have lost around half a billion dollars due to his early departure. He never regretted his decision.

Charity

Even though he lost a lot of ‘dough’, Mike donated a lot of money to charity. He has donated way
beyond $1,000,000.

In 2006 he donated his entire winnings and pledged to do so with all following prizes. In 2009, the same year he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame, he went a bit further. Together with Linda Johnson, Jan Fisher and Lisa Tenner, he created PokerGives.org. The organization is non-profit and facilitates a way of making it easier for poker plates to donate to charity.

Mike Saxton Poker player

His wins, ability to commentate, entrepreneurship and heart for charity earned him the high honour of being recognized as the top poker ambassador at the Card Player of the Year Awards Gala in 2006.
Hence his nickname, The ambassador of poker.

Private life of Mike Sexton

Mike’s early divorce propelled him on to use all of his time on poker, but at the age of 60, he remarried. The lucky woman was a hostess at the Bellagio casino. Her name is Karen and they conceived a child. A boy.

His persona and work ethics has even made room for significant quotes from some of the biggest poker players around. Daniel Negreanu, the poker kid, said: “He’s always put a good face on poker. He’s always been someone who promotes the game in a very very positive way”.

Mike Saxton wife

The kind word seems to keep on as Phil Hellmuth once said that “Love Mike Sexton. He has been one of the biggest ambassadors for poker we’ve ever had”.

Sadly, Mike Sexton died on september 6th, 2020, at the age of 72 due to a long battle with prostate cancer. BUT Mike Sexton will continue to live on the Poker Hall of Fame and in history, as best described by Nolan Dalla. “Mike Sexton is simply one of the most important people in the history of the game.”

Are you the next Mike Sexton?

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