Mike Sexton is fighting prostate cancer, according to his poker friends on social media. And it appears the long-time World Poker Tour commentator and poker legend is severely ill.
Sexton left the WPT booth after 15 seasons in 2017 to return as Chairman at Partypoker, the poker site he helped build from the ground up in 2001. He’s one of the most beloved members of the poker community and among the game’s most valuable ambassadors.
The 72-year-old die-hard Ohio State Buckeye fan hasn’t tweeted since Aug. 22. He’s usually active on Twitter most days, but has been noticeably absent the past 10 days. On Monday, his gambling friend @dinkinc shared brief details of Sexton’s current situation.
My friend Mike Sexton is very ill…. Mike is pretty famous for his work in the poker world so many of my followers will know of him… He is one of the most universally liked humans in the gambling world… Mike is always funny and charming and is a friend to the friendless
— alan (@dinkinc) August 31, 2020
Poker pro Padraig Parkinson, another friend of Sexton’s, confirmed the initial rumors. He tweeted a similar comment about the Poker Hall of Famer’s situation.
Since some guy annouced that my buddy @Mike_partypoker was ill I am amazed at the number of people from near and far who have asked me if he is ok
I can only say he is battling his illness with the strength,determination and marvellous humour we have become used to.Go Sexton!
— Padraig Parkinson (@padraigpoker) September 1, 2020
His friends initially kept his illness tight-lipped and are asking the poker community to send well wishes to the sick poker legend, which many have done. But Poker Hall of Famer Linda Johnson disclosed his condition, per Sexton’s request, Tuesday on Twitter.
Mike Sexton is poker’s greatest ambassadors. He authorized this tweet. He has only wanted to deliver positive messages so he kept his health problems private. Mike has been battling prostate cancer that has recently spread to other organs. He began in-home hospice a month ago.
— Linda Johnson (@FirstLadyPoker) September 1, 2020
“Mike did a few unexpected and incredibly nice things for me when I showed up as a kid and he absolutely did not need to do. Mike is cool,” Justin “BoostedJ” Smith, a former online poker star wrote on Twitter.
“Mike is the best—everyone in our community loves him. I really hope everything turns out ok,” Jamie Kerstetter commented.
“Sending best wishes & thoughts,” CardsChat ambassador Jeff Gross wrote.
“This is horrible news. Like everyone, I adore Mike. Please keep us updated and I just hope he’ll make a swift recovery, soon,” poker commentator Kara Scott said.
Sexton is a Living Poker Legend
Sexton is one of the most successful poker pros of all time, both on and off the felt. As a player, he won a $1,500 7-Card Stud Hi-Lo WSOP bracelet in 1989, a WPT title in 2016, and has more than $6.7 million in live tournament cashes. In the WPT broadcast booth, the poker great spent 15 seasons alongside his co-host, Vince Van Patten.
Sexton was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2009 and has been one of the game’s top ambassadors for decades. The Indiana native was part of the initial team that created the Partypoker poker site in 2001. He left the company a couple of years later, but returned as an executive in 2017.
Sexton said in the past that he was paid $15 million for his share of Partypoker a couple years before the site was valued at around $9 billion. Had he held on to his shares, he’s said, they would have been worth approximately $500 million just a couple years later.