A SALUTE TO MIKE SEXTON

Mike Sexton has spent a lifetime making poker and Situs Poker Online players better.

I could probably stop right there; that sets him plenty apart from the rest of us. But whether you know who Mike is or not, read on—it’s worth spending some time saluting one of the true heroes of the game.

I don’t know how long Mike has been around poker—I could look it up in the blogs, the interviews, and the books—but it doesn’t matter. It’s longer than I’ve been around poker and longer than you, too. It seems like forever. Mike’s stories go back into the old days of Las Vegas poker with people such as Doyle Brunson, Johnny Moss, and Chip Reese.

Mike has stories of legendary poker games, and golf bets when he had more money riding on the game than he had to his name. The tales are amazing and I encourage you to track them down, not least in his book, Life’s a Gamble.

But anybody who immersed himself in the Las Vegas poker/gambling milieu for that long is likely to have a story or two. What makes Mike different is not his stories, but how he directed his career and life to the betterment of poker.

In 1999, he created a tournament only for people who had won a tournament with at least a $200 buy-in in the prior year, or had a WSOP bracelet. He called it the “Tournament of Champions” and wanted to use it to get attention and sponsorship for poker from outside the casino walls. I know because I was there; I had won the BARGE tournament in 1998 and that turned out to qualify me. I got together a collection of suckers backers and put up the $2,000 buy-in.

It was at the Orleans in Las Vegas, and man, what a spectacle. The players marched in, Olympics style, to Queen’s We are the Champions. It took forever, the song played forever, and to this day, I have to click past the tune as soon as We Will Rock You fades down. But no matter, Mike was there in his tux, with a dream to make poker something bigger.