London – 15th October 2009 – PartyPoker.com ambassador and World Poker Tour announcer Mike Sexton has deservedly been inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
For the first time in the history of the Poker Hall of Fame, the early stage of the nomination process was open to the general public and a mass of prominent figures in the game all publicly declared their support for Mike. The Ambassador of Poker is currently playing the final table at the PartyPoker.com World Open V in London.
Sexton said: “I am deeply honored to be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and it is particularly special because for the first time it was a process that involved the fans, the media and the living members of the hall of fame. To me the most meaningful aspect of this process was the acceptance by the living hall of famers who welcomed me into their exclusive club.”
Mike Sexton acts as a host, consultant, ambassador and player for PartyPoker.com and the online poker room will holding a special celebratory $10,000 freeroll on the 7th November, the day Mike is inducted.
Sexton needs little introduction and is unarguably one of the most respected figures in the game. As the face and voice of the World Poker Tour and holder of a WSOP bracelet, Mike is truly one of the games pioneers. Sexton is in the top ten for the most cashes at the World Series of Poker and is instantly recognizable to all poker enthusiasts. Regarded as ‘The Ambassador of Poker,’ for years Mike advocated corporate involvement with poker to take the game he loves into the mainstream.
Notably, Sexton also won the first $10k buy-in NL hold'em championship event at Foxwoods World Poker Finals in 1992 and in 2000 was the first American to win the championship event at the Euro Finals of Poker in Paris, which at the time was the biggest event in Europe. Through his role with the World Poker Tour Mike brought the game to millions around the world. In 2006 Sexton won the Tournament of Champions at the World Series of Poker, a concept he had originally created. He donated $500,000 of his winnings to charity and has since become a co-founder of http://www.pokergives.org/, which encourages players to make charitable donations.
The Poker Hall of Fame was established in 1979. Its membership includes poker's most influential players and other important contributors to the game. There are 16 living members, and to date 37 members have been bestowed the honour of entry. The WSOP Hall of Fame traditionally elects one or two new members annually. The enshrinement ceremony is now held during the final table of the Main Event of the WSOP. The criteria for selection was as follows:
A player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition
Played for high stakes
Played consistently well, gaining the respect of peers
Stood the test of time
Or, for non-players, contributed to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results
Amongst those who publicly endorsed Mike Sexton included Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu and Barry Greenstein. Below are some of the submissions players and figures made about Mike:
Annette Obrestad. “I may be from a different generation of poker players to Mike but in my mind he deserves induction into poker’s hall of fame this year.”
Erik Seidel: “Next up should be Mike Sexton. He has some impressive accomplishments as a player, he won the Tournament of Champions in 06', the European Heads Up, and is one of the leaders in WSOP cashes including one bracelet. If I'm not mistaken he also won the 1st 10k event at Foxwoods as well. I can't think of anyone though who has contributed more to the growth of the game then Mike and that's why he should be the next inductee. As the WPT's announcer he is the guy who introduced no limit poker to millions of people, and who explained it in a way that drew them in and got them interested. I meet people all the time who don't even play poker but watch the WPT because he manages to keep it exciting for everyone. People can tell his enthusiasm is real, Mike loves poker and fortunately is able to translate that for the viewer. He deserves huge credit too for the growth of the online game. As a consultant for PartyPoker he helped the online game get started and helped Party create the biggest poker site in the world. Party was just another poker site until Mike's commercials on the WPT started running, then overnight the numbers doubled, tripled and very quickly they became the largest site poker has ever seen. He is one of the best ambassadors poker has ever seen and I hope he is on deck for admission in 09’.”
Poker’s ‘Professor’ Howard Lederer: "More than any single poker player, Mike Sexton promoted the game of poker throughout the '90s and into this decade. He had a singular belief in the game as something that could be much bigger. Every poker player owes a great debt of thanks to Mike for helping to extend poker to places we could have never imagined before."
Celebrity Apprentice runner-up Annie Duke: “There is quite possibly no single individual who did more to mainstream poker and grow the game than Mike Sexton. During the 90’s , when tournament poker was still an obscure, insular world, Mike always believed in and promoted what poker could become even as many of us remained steadfast in our skepticism. Mike saw the potential for the game and never gave up in his promotion of it and for that we should all be deeply grateful.”
Steve Lipscomb -- “I would support Mike Sexton for president, much less induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. Mike is the consummate face of poker. He was making poker mainstream before it had a prayer of being mainstream. He helped launch the World Poker Tour – which changed the poker world forever. Then, he convinced the World Poker Tour to put PartyPoker on the Tour in season one – which changed the poker world again forever. His commitment and love for the game -- which is evidenced every time he appears on-screen in a World Poker Tour episode -- is part of what has transformed this great game into the first-ever global aspirational sport. Let’s get the man into the Poker Hall of Fame!”
Des Wilson -- “Having spent a number of years studying the history of the game, I can think of nobody more deserving than Mike Sexton to be in the hall of fame and urge everyone else to support him. He is more than a great player - he is, and has been for many years, an outstanding ambassador for the game.”
The First Lady of Poker Linda Johnson: “I nominate Mike Sexton for the 2009 Poker Hall of Fame. I can't think of anyone who has done more for the poker industry than Mike. He has exhibited tremendous skills as a poker player and incredible vision in his ability to market the poker world. Mike is the best poker commentator in the world and is a household name to millions of players. He is generous, hard working, and donates his time and money to many various charities. Mike is a role model to all poker players and is very deserving of being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.”
Recent inductee into the Women’s Hall of Fame Jan Fisher: “I've known Mike Sexton for nearly 30 years. During this time, Mike has always worked hard to promote poker. His stellar reputation speaks for itself. One of the true good guys in poker, no one deserves this honor at this time more than Sexton. I've worked on both sides of the tables, and I believe that Mike is a role model for the poker industry. I am proud and honored to call him my friend.”
From the famous poker family, Todd Brunson: “Mike Sexton helped take poker to a level never before achieved and without him we would not be seeing the prize pools we have today. We all owe Mike our most sincere gratitude and appreciation."
Padraig Parkinson: “I thought that Mike was nuts when he shared his vision of where we were going with me but never for a second doubted that he was the man to lead us there. Unusually for me, I was right.”
Leading Tournament Director Matt Savage: “Mike Sexton should be a slam dunk, not only for the over 40 WSOP cashes but especially for the work he has done to promote the world's greatest game. Poker would not be where it is today without the ambassador work that Mike has done.”
Irish Open Tournament Director Liam Flood: "I have known Mike for 25 years and I have always found him to be a true gentleman. He is the best ambassador poker could ever have. Whether it be in Las Vegas, Paris or Dublin he is always the same and is always prepared to listen to anybody about the game he loves."
WSOP bracelet winner and Asian Poker Tour ambassador Steve Sung: “The first poker commentators’ voice I ever heard was Mike Sexton. The man’s a legend – get him into the Poker Hall of Fame.”
Top professional David Williams: “Mike Sexton is a true professional and I wholeheartedly believe that he should enter Poker’s Hall of Fame this year.”
Top professional Roland De Wolfe: “He is a personality and voice that has opened the game up to new people. He is a component of poker's story and a significant part of poker history.”
Amongst the most recent inductees include Henry Orenstein, Dewey Tomko, Phil Hellmuth, Barbara Enright, TJ Cloutier, Bobby Baldwin, Johnny Chan and Lyle Berman. Doyle Brunson was given Hall of Fame status in 1987. Once the public has voted the top ten among consideration are announced during the Main Event. It then goes to a committee stage in August and then a secret ballot of living Hall of Famers in September. In addition, a select group of media members were sent a ballot for ranking the finalists.
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