Mike Sexton, World Poker Tour Commentator, Dies at 72

The Poker Hall of Famer had been battling prostate cancer

Last Updated: September 7, 2020 @ 6:58 AM

Mike Sexton, a member of the Poker Hall of Fame who was a longtime TV commentator for World Poker Tour events, died Sunday at age 72.

Linda Johnson, a fellow Poker Hall of Fame member who had been authorized to speak on his behalf, disclosed the news on Twitter. Last week, she said that Sexton had entered hospice care last month after his prostate cancer had spread to other organs.

Sexton earned $6.7 million in live tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database. His honors included a World Series of Poker bracelet in 1989 and a WPT event in Montreal in 2016.

But he is perhaps best remembered as the color commentator for televised WPT events from its inception in 2003 to 2017, where he helped popularize the game and explain it to Americans previously unfamiliar with the strategies and gamesmanship of Texas Hold’em.

After stepping down from his WPT gig, he became chairman of the online poker site partypoker.

He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009.

Tributes for Sexton soon poured in from the poker community and beyond.

I always enjoyed playing with Mike,” actress turned poker player Jennifer Tilly wrote. “He’s a great raconteur & a true gentleman. Even when he takes your chips he’s so gracious about it you somehow don’t mind.”

Poker champ Phil Gelfond praised him as “the ultimate role model” who advanced the game “while being positive and kind.”