Poker has lost its greatest ambassador. On Sunday, Poker Hall of Famer and long-time World Poker Tour host Mike Sexton passed away after a prostate cancer battle. He was 72.

His passing comes about a week after Linda Johnson revealed his illness to the world. Since that time, poker players and fans worldwide shared their memories and well wishes, remembering a man who many feel was one of the direct reasons for poker’s explosion in the early 2000s.

Sexton Passes Away After Battle With Prostate Cancer

Last Tuesday, Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson announced to the world that Mike Sexton was battling prostate cancer and that it had spread to his organs. He had already been on home hospice for a month, so many knew that his time was short.

Mike Sexton Passes at 72

The tributes to Sexton began rolling in after that point. One of the best tributes was from Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. He held a special edition of his podcast “The Mouthpiece” on September 3rd and turned it into Sexton’s tribute. Poker pros came onto the show sharing their well wishes and their stories about a man who truly revolutionized the game.

Unfortunately, it is extremely rare that someone goes into hospice care and survives. Such was the case for Sexton. On Sunday night, Linda Johnson posted that Mike had passed peacefully surrounded by his family.

Linda then posted the following to Twitter:

Mike Sexton was 72.

Poker World Owes a Debt to Sexton

There is a lot that can be said about Mike Sexton as a poker player. He won over $6.7 million in live poker tournaments, won a WSOP bracelet, won the 2006 Tournament of Champions, and even took down a World Poker Tour title.

However, he will be best remembered for changing the poker world as we know it. Back in 2002, Sexton helped to launch the World Poker Tour. He became the face of the company on TV as the host of World Poker Tour broadcasts.

The WPT was the first television program to broadcast poker tournaments on a regular basis. This helped to usher in what is known as the Poker Boom. While many give credit to Chris Moneymaker for starting the Boom, many know that Mike Sexton and the World Poker Tour were directly responsible for helping poker grow.

While most know Sexton for the World Poker Tour, he was involved with many other ventures. Many don’t know that he was involved with partypoker from its inception. He is credited for coming up with the name. Sexton returned to partypoker after leaving the WPT in 2017 to become the chairman of partypoker.

Sexton was also involved with many charitable initiatives. He famously donated half of his earnings from the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions to charity. He also helped to form PokerGives.org, an organization whose focus is to help poker players donate to charity. Sexton helped champion the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop and was involved in various charitable initiatives throughout his career.

Tributes Continue To Pour In

Following the announcement of his death, poker players and fans continued to remember poker’s greatest ambassador. Here are a few of those tributes:

From a personal note, this writer had the honor of both playing with Mike on a couple of occasions and covering him as a poker tournament reporter. Mike always was a true gentleman and gave freely of his time. He truly cared about people and the game of poker as a whole. Some people in the poker world claim to want what’s best for the game, but Mike truly lived it. He will truly be missed.

About the Author
James Guill avatar
James Guill

James Guill is a veteran of the gambling industry with over a decade of experience. Starting as a semi-professional poker player, he transitioned into the media. He’s worked for many top companies in the past, including Ongame, bwin, and 888. Originally specializing in poker, he now brings a wealth of knowledge and experience covering the spectrum of online casino gambling. James brings the latest news and casino market information, including an ongoing Game of the Week feature highlighting the latest and greatest online slots and casino games.

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James Guill is a veteran of the gambling industry with over a decade of experience. Starting as a semi-professional poker player, he transitioned into the media. He’s worked for many top companies in the past, including Ongame, bwin, and 888. Originally specializing in poker, he now brings a wealth of knowledge and experience covering the spectrum of online casino gambling. James brings the latest news and casino market information, including an ongoing Game of the Week feature highlighting the latest and greatest online slots and casino games.

READ MORE
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