The penultimate preliminary heat of the Party Poker World Open V is in the books and the sixth spot at the final table now belongs to a very familiar face; that of World Poker Tour host, longtime Party Poker spokesman and candidate for the 2009 Poker Hall of Fame class, Mike Sexton.
Thanks to a last minute swap with online poker pro Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Sexton moved from Heat 3 to Heat 6 of the London event. While he avoided the stiff Heat 3 competition like Roland de Wolfe, Neil Channing, Sammy George and Paul Zimbler, he faced some other tough opponents in the sixth heat. Just a few of the eight names playing in the heat were Sexton, Bruno Fitoussi, Team Party Poker Pro Felipe “Mojave” Ramos and reigning World Open Champion, Marty Smyth
In his Party Poker blog post breaking down the competition, Sexton suggested that Fitoussi and Ramos were two players to watch, but his prediction was a little off as those two players were the first two eliminations from the table. It looked as though Sexton would be making an early exit as well, but he was able to rally from a short stack. He eliminated Smyth when his pocket nines flopped a full house against Smyth’s pocket eights after the two players got it all-in preflop.
Smyth’s chips allowed Sexton more room to maneuver and he immediately revved up the aggression at the table. Even after doubling up one of the online qualifiers, Sexton still outlasted some of his competitors to get down to heads-up play against European Open winner Roberto Romanello. To say their heads-up match was short-lived would not do Sexton justice as it took just one hand for Sexton to eliminate the Welsh pro and grab the Heat Six title.
On the first hand of heads-up play Romanello pushed all-in after flopping a flush draw and Sexton made the easy call with two pair. The two pair held and Romanello moved on to the runners-up heat while Sexton advanced to Thursday’s final table. He is the first of the Party Poker pros to win their heat to make the final table, but Bodo Sbrzesny has a chance to make it two for Team Party Poker should we win the runners-up heat to claim the final chair at the final table.
The addition of Sexton to the final table means there will be at least five pros vying for the title, as he will join Luke “Full_Flush1” Schwartz, Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Andrew Black and online qualifier Jan Veitman. The table is beginning to have all the marks of a lucky wedding. The final table now boasts a bevy of good storylines ranging from the outlandish behavior of Schwartz, the love story between Laak and Tilly and the potential success story of Sexton the old school poker pro.
The rumor is that Sexton will be the lone new inductee in this year’s Hall of Fame. Should he book a victory in the tough invitational field, it would only add icing to the cake for a man that many suggest is one of the nicest people in poker.

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