Poker Icon Mike Sexton Passes Away

Poker Icon Mike Sexton Passes Away

Lillie Mcguire
Posted on September 10, 2020 at 3:09am

Poker is now widely available at the best casinos in Canada, but it was not so long ago that the popular card game was still a more niche service. At least as far as online casinos were concerned. But, with the rise of PartyPoker, the game enjoyed an enormous boost in popularity, quickly becoming one of the most played at gambling sites everywhere. This is all partly thanks to Mike Sexton, who was not only a founder, but also acted as a World Poker Tour television announcer for 15 years.

This dedication to the game, both as a site founder and an incredible player himself, earned him the affectionate nickname the Ambassador of Poker.

Sadly, it was announced by Linda Johnson, a close friend, that he passed away Sunday, September 7th, 2020. He was 72, and at the time of passing was surrounded by loved ones.

A Cornerstone Of The Industry

It is argued by many that Mike Sexton is the most important person in Poker history. He was present for both the boom in popularity of the game on television, as well as being a major part of the online revolution. This makes him, according to many, the link that managed to bridge the gap between old school and new school forms of playing.

He also acted as the spokesman for the World Poker Tour, being at the forefront of every tournament that took place between 2002 and 2017. This means that, for over a decade, when professional players thought of playing cards, they almost inevitably thought of him.  

Taking The Game Online

In terms of PartyPoker, Mike was a key reason that the site grew into the mega-popular online venue it is today. He founded the site with Mike O’Malley in 2001, and together the pair set out to do what had never been done before.

It is reported by O’Malley that Mike convinced the site executives to run a Million promotion, which encouraged new players with enormous tournament prizes. The effort resulted in a loss of $500,000, given that less than the anticipated number of newcomers paid to be part of the contest. However, after a second tournament with the same cash prize, and a partnership with World Poker Tour, the site eventually managed to achieve enormous success.

O’Malley posted a recent Tweet, stating that without Mike Sexton there is almost no question that the game would not have found the success it did, and would not still be one of the most played games at the best casinos in Canada.

Saying Goodbye

With the announced passing of the Ambassador, the internet was flooded with well wishes from fans all over the world. Tournament director Matt Savage stated that he was not dealing with news of the passing as well as he should, given that he loved Sexton like a brother.

Professional Poker player David Williams declared that his life had been changed by knowing Sexton, and that he was sure many professional players would acknowledge the same thing. He concluded the message by saying that he hopes wherever his friend is that all is cards are live, and that all his pots are monsters.

As much as The Ambassador was known for his promotion of the game, he was also one of the best players in history. It is reported that he won around $6.7 million in tournaments around the world. This includes a World Series win in 2006. Though, what most remember about his win on this occasion is that he donated a full half of his winnings, $1 million, directly to charity.


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