Legendary poker ‘ambassador’ Mike Sexton dies of cancer at 72

Mike Sexton, a legendary poker player who was often called the “ambassador” of the game, has died.

Sexton succumbed to prostate cancer on Sunday. He was 72.

Poker legend dies

The sad news was shared by poker pro and fellow Hall of Famer Linda Johnson, who revealed that Sexton had died peacefully at home with his family.

“Mike Sexton passed away peacefully at home earlier today surrounded by family members. He appreciated all the wonderful comments and farewells from poker players all over the world. Service details are forthcoming. For now, please keep his family in your thoughts as they grieve,” she said.

Sexton leaves behind a legacy as the “ambassador of poker,” known for his great skill as much as his role in popularizing the game. Over the course of a storied career, he earned $6.7 million in live tournament winnings and numerous honors, including a World Poker Tour title in 2016, in Montreal. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

He is also remembered for working as a longtime commentator for World Poker Tour, starting in 2003, alongside Vince Van Patten.

“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. “But he’s not, because the whole poker world knows and loves him.


Sexton also played a big role in the game’s digital boom in the early 2000s, helping to start the website partypoker, ESPN reported. He became chairman of the site in 2017, after leaving his commentator role.

Tributes from colleagues and fans have poured in for Sexton since his death.

“I always enjoyed playing with Mike,” actress and 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.”

“Mike served as a WPT commentator for 15 seasons and spent a lifetime growing the game of poker around the globe,” said Adam Pliska, CEO of the World Poker Tour. “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.”

Sexton is survived by a son, Ty.

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