Mike Sexton, a commentator for the World Poker Tour and member of the Poker Hall of Fame, died Sunday of prostate cancer. He was 72 years old. World Poker Tour CEO Adam Pliska released a statement and called Sexton the "greatest ambassador in poker."
"Mike served as a WPT commentator for 15 seasons and spent a lifetime growing the game of poker around the globe," Pliska said. "His glowing presence resonated with players and fans of poker alike, who will all miss him onscreen and at the table. Mike’s legacy will forever be a part of poker’s history. The WPT Family joins the entire poker community in sending our thoughts and deepest condolences to the Sexton family, including his young son Ty."
Sexton was one-half of the World Poker Tour commentary alongside Vince Van Patten from the tour's first TV broadcast in March 2003 through 2017 when Sexton retired. He moved on to become the chairman of the online poker partypoker. Sexton was involved in partypoker since its launch in 2001. His role as a commentator and player before he became chairman was a big reason for poker's big boom in the early 2000s.
"I was at partypoker from the start, before there was even a name or a single virtual card was dealt," Sexton said back in 2017. "I experienced the crazy times of the poker boom when we became the No. 1 site in the world. I remember people sleeping on the office floor when we were all working 24/7 to get the software launched, and I remember the first partypoker Million on a cruise ship which overlaid $500K."
"Mike Sexton, one of my great gambling friends and one of my best friends forever -- just a stand-up, wonderful person -- has gone," Van Patten said in a video released by the WPT. "But he's not, because the whole poker world knows and loves him." Sexton was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009. He also was named a recipient of the WPT Honors, which is the organization's highest distinction given to the "most vibrant and vital members of the poker industry."