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.”
It was my honor last year to meet and team up with a legend who ushered in poker’s modern age. RIP Mike Sexton, you were one of a kind as a person and a personality. #FuckCancer pic.twitter.com/RwrejF9bc7
— James Holzhauer (@James_Holzhauer) September 7, 2020
Mike Sexton the player, Mike Sexton the commentator & Mike Sexton the businessman would each be a poker legend in their own right.
What makes him the ultimate role model for me isn’t how much he accomplished & did for poker, but that he did it all while being positive and kind.
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) September 7, 2020
The last time I played with @Mike_partypoker was on Poker After Dark earlier this year.
I always enjoyed playing with Mike. 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.
RIP Mike.❤️ You will be missed. pic.twitter.com/1cbws7FWX3
— Jennifer Tilly (@JenniferTilly) September 7, 2020
People deal with grief in different ways and admit I haven’t dealt with the illness and passing of Mike Sexton as well as I should have. There comes a time in everyone’s life when more people we love pass away but this one really hurts. I loved him like a brother. #ThankYouMike pic.twitter.com/3XaYw6QKa8
— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) September 7, 2020