The Poker Hall of Fame is one of the most esteemed enshrinements a poker player can earn in their career. While there have been hundreds of World Series of Poker bracelet winners and dozens of World Poker Tour champions, the Poker Hall of Fame has only thirty seven members, of which only sixteen are still alive. With this in mind, it is time that PartyPoker spokesman and “The Ambassador of Poker” Mike Sexton is awarded his place in the Hall.
The criteria for entrance into the Poker Hall of Fame is one of the most rigorous for any sport’s top enshrinement. To be eligible for election to the Hall, a player must have played poker against acknowledged top competition, played for high stakes, earned the respect of his/her peers and played consistently well over a long period of time. For a person who wasn’t a player, they have had to contribute to the overall growth and success of the game of poker, with indelible positive and lasting results (such as Henry Orenstein – the creator of the “hole card cam” among other poker innovations – who was elected last year).
Mike Sexton has met all of those criteria and more in his forty-year career. He currently sits in the Top Ten in cashes at the WSOP and has earned one bracelet. His most notable victory was in the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions, where he captured a million dollar payday after defeating Daniel Negreanu in heads up action. For all the skills that Mike has demonstrated at the tables, however, it is perhaps his work away from the felt that has earned him the moniker “The Ambassador of Poker.”
Sexton was at the forefront of the online gaming revolution when he joined PartyPoker at the beginning of this decade. His skill and knowledge of the game helped PartyPoker became one of the largest online poker rooms in the industry. Throughout its growth, Mike was intimately involved with the room and its promotion, which continues to this day.
In addition to being involved with the birth of online poker, Sexton also was on the front lines during the birth of the current “Golden Age” of live poker. When Steve Lipscomb, the founder of the World Poker Tour, was looking for a face to put on his product, he tapped Mike to be part of a two man announcing team with actor Vince Van Patten. The duo proved to be an excellent choice, as the WPT recently completed its seventh year and continues to bring the excitement and skill of poker into living rooms around the world.
Add in the fact that Mike Sexton has been one of the driving forces for changes to the world of poker (through the original Tournament Of Champions, which he created) and he has a great deal of support throughout the poker community. Annette “Annette_15” Obrestad, who was the champion of the inaugural WSOP Europe and not a contemporary of Sexton, has admitted she plans to nominate Sexton. “I may be from a different generation of poker players to Mike but, in my mind, he deserves induction into the Poker Hall of Fame this year”, she stated.
For the first time in the thirty year history of the Poker Hall of Fame, nominations are currently ongoing for anyone in the poker community to name players for consideration. Until July 2nd, people can go to the World Series of Poker website and cast their votes for who they wish to nominate. After that, the top ten nominees will be announced during the Championship Event of the WSOP and, in August, the sixteen living members of the Hall of Fame will cast their votes as to who is worthy of induction. A nominee who earns 75% of the vote will be inducted during the final table of the Championship Event played in November.