The WPT Tournament of Champions gets underway today, with a room full of invited former WPT champions taking their seat. This tournament will be an exciting and meaningful part of their annual poker schedule for most, but for one man, the tournament will have special significance…
WPT champion in Montreal
For many years, Mike Sexton was not offered the opportunity to participate in WPT events, because as a commentator for the WPT company, it was felt that it would not be right for him to be involved as a player. It was only after 8 seasons that this situation finally changed. When the WPT negotiated new terms with its partners, the company was finally allowed to give the green light to Sexton and Vince van Patten playing WPT events. Sexton managed two final table finishes before finally getting his name on the WPT trophy by winning the WPT Montreal Main Event for $317,817. He then followed this up with a 4th place at the WPT L.A Poker Classic just a few months later, adding $300,690 to his WPT winnings.
With a WPT title under his belt, Mike Sexton also found himself the recipient of a lifetime invitation to the WPT Tournament of Champions. Entry to this $15,000 special invitational tournament is restricted to players who have previously won a WPT tournament.
This moment takes on special significance for Sexton, as he was the man who originally thought up the concept.
Winning his seat into the Tournament of Champions
Today, he will take his seat among the other former champions in his quest for ultimate WPT glory. His delight was evident as he told us:
“The Tournament of Champions has a special place in my heart, because I created the original Tournament of Champions back in the 90’s, and to this day, I still think it’s the greatest event in the history of poker”.
Few people are capable of being widely respected both as a commentator and a player in their respective field, but Mike Sexton has found notoriety on both sides of that divide with apparent ease. Having originally been an accomplished professional player back in the 1980’s, he won a WSOP bracelet in a Seven Card Stud event in 1989, and played against legends of the game such as Chip Reese, Amarillo Slim, and Stu Ungar. His abilities are not confined to tournaments however, as he also regularly played $30/$60 and $50/$100 Seven Card Stud hi/lo split cash games.
With almost four decades of experience as a player and commentator, he has truly become synonymous with the game. As one of the founding figures of the WPT, Sexton has also been incredibly important for the growth of poker, with the WPT playing a pivotal role in the poker boom. Few would doubt his status as an iconic voice in the world of poker, but in case anyone had forgotten, his recent results prove that he’s equally accomplished as a player.
Mike Sexton WPT Champions Club acceptance speech (Video PokercityNL)
Article by Craig Bradshaw