The Poker Hall of Fame’s 2009 induction ceremony will have just one honoree: Mike Sexton.
In a nod to his singular importance in promoting the game during the early online boom years, Sexton, the 62-year-old face and voice of the World Poker Tour since it first hit the airwaves in 2004, was the lone player to receive the endorsement of at least 75% of the selection panel made up of 15 living members of the Hall and 15 media representatives. The selection panel decided to pass over all the other candidates on this year’s ballot, including all-time leading money winner Daniel Negreanu, eight-time WSOP bracelet winner Erik Seidel, seven-time bracelet-winning November Niner Phil Ivey, and three-time bracelet winner and Bobby’s Room veteran Barry Greenstein.
Sexton attended Ohio State university on a gymnastics scholarship and later served as a paratrooper in the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. After leaving the military he toiled at a few civilian jobs before taking to the felt professionally. He made his reputation through the early-middle years of tournament poker when both the fields and the prize pools were mere fractions of what they are today, winning his only WSOP gold bracelet in 1989 in Stud Hi-Lo and the first-ever World Poker Finals $10,000 main event at Foxwoods in 1992. Despite being ineligible to play in World Poker Tour events since the poker boom because of his association with the WPT, he has more than $3.7 million in career tournament earnings, most of them coming through his 46 career WSOP cashes. In the special 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions he demonstrated that his poker chops hadn’t gotten rusty, besting Negreanu in a late-night heads-up battle to win a career best $1,000,000 first prize.
Sexton will be officially inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in a ceremony at the Rio in Las Vegas on November 7th.
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