Poker Giant Mike Sexton Has Prostate Cancer, In Hospice Care

  • Linda Johnson said that Sexton has metastatic prostate cancer and is in hospice care
  • Poker players and fans have been flooding Twitter with messages of love
  • “The Ambassador of Poker” was the WPT’s lead announcer for 15 years
  • Sexton was one of the original members of partypoker’s team
Mike Sexton posing with a microphone
Poker Hall of Famer and “The Ambassador of Poker” Mike Sexton has been receiving in-home hospice care for a month as he battles prostate cancer. [Image: Flickr.com]

Situation is dire

Poker legend Mike Sexton, known as “The Ambassador of Poker,” is gravely ill, currently receiving in-home hospice care for prostate cancer that has metastasized to other organs. Poker players, fans, and friends had been concerned recently that Sexton had not tweeted since August 22. Sexton was a fairly frequent poster, almost exclusively promoting the game on the social media network.

one of the most universally liked humans in the gambling world”

The first public word of Sexton’s health struggles came from his friend, who posts under the handle “@dinkinc” on Twitter. On Monday, Sexton’s friend said that he was “very ill,” calling him “one of the most universally liked humans in the gambling world.”

Fellow poker legend and Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson confirmed the worst on Tuesday. Sexton himself permitted her to let the world know about his situation:

Outpouring of love

Since the news broke, poker players and fans have expressed nothing but love for Mike Sexton. Ali Nejad, one of the most familiar voices in televised poker commentary, wrote: “Never met anyone who had an unkind thing to say about @Mike_partypoker. A true gentleman w/ a big heart & smile to match; a better ambassador to poker than we deserved; & an inspiring example of a life lived fully. Please don’t go.”

light to all who crossed paths with him”

Ebony Kenney called Sexton a “light to all who crossed paths with him.”

Sexton was always extremely generous, known to help out friends financially whenever he could. Actress and poker player Jennifer Tilly reminded the poker Twitterverse of a story from Nolan Dalla’s book One of Kind in which Sexton gave the almost mythical Stu Ungar, who was broke and near the end of his life, a credit card to buy his daughter clothes for school. Sexton himself briefly recounted the tale in an interview with PokerListings three years ago:

Todd Brunson said that Sexton is “the epitome of what and how a player should conduct himself both at and away from the poker table,” adding that he is the “consummate Gentleman.”

The tributes and praise go on and on as people send their well-wishes for Linda Johnson and his closest friends to pass along.

Sexton is poker’s king

Mike Sexton’s nickname, “The Ambassador of Poker,” is well-deserved. For many poker players and fans, his voice is the voice they associate with learning and loving the game. He, along with Vince Van Patten, was the on-air commentator for the World Poker Tour broadcasts from day one. He finally left in 2017 after 15 years in the booth.

one of the few poker personalities to bridge the generations

Sexton was also a member of the partypoker team from the beginning, dating back to 2001. Not only was he the face of televised poker, he was the face of online poker, getting everyone excited to play during the poker boom. He was one of the few poker personalities to bridge the generations: he played with the old school crowd of Doyle Brunson, Billy Baldwin, and more, yet also embraced the online game and the young players that came up with it.

Through the decades, especially the last two, Mike Sexton was the greatest promoter poker could ever have. He was relentlessly upbeat and to a person, everyone says he was always the most welcoming person they had ever met.

“Truth is,” Daniel Negreanu tweeted, “poker as it looks right now wouldn’t be the same without Mike’s influence.”

Sexton is, of course, an all-time great on the felt, as well, with over $6.7m in live tournament cashes, a World Series of Poker bracelet, and a WPT title.

In July, the World Poker Tour named the WPT Champions Cup after him, renaming it the “Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.”