It's been a wild 15 years, but Mike Sexton decided it was time to move on. Sexton announced his retirement as the co-host of the World Poker Tour. Since its inception in 2002, the World Poker Tour has been one of the most popular tours in the saturated global poker circuit. The WPT brand has grown into one of the biggest players in the gaming world and a lot of that has to do with Mike Sexton. He's been a true ambassador of poker over the last 15 years and responsible for brining millions of people into poker as it blossomed at the turn of the century. Sexton “classed up” a game that had shady origins and even shadier figures.
As the voice of the World Poker Tour, Sexton appealed to both beginners and pros alike. At the peak of the glorious online poker boom in the mid-00s, Wednesday nights were consistently one of the most popular nights of the week to play online poker. Why? The World Poker Tour aired every Wednesday on the Travel Channel. Didn't matter if it was a new episode, or a repeat… but people would watch a final table and then jump online as soon as the program ended… or even multi-tasked and played simultaneously. Wednesdays were juicy because Mike Sexton and the WPT got everyone fired up and excited to play poker.
Who knows how many Americans got their poker fix through the WPT and Sexton, but one thing is for certain… Sexton helped feed the majority of pros… by bringing in tons of dead money and fish into the game. At the same time, Sexton helped an entire generation of players become better… simply by his advice and ability to explain complicated topics in a concise matter.
Mike Sexton retired from the WPT, but he's not leaving poker. Sexton announced that he's the new Chairman of partypoker, a company that he was with from the earlier days.
Mike Sexton Retirement Statement
"This is an emotional time for me because I have decided to leave the World Poker Tour to focus on this new role. I was at partypoker from the start, before there was even a name or a single virtual card was dealt. I experienced the crazy times of the poker boom when we became the number one site in the world, I remember people sleeping on the office floor when we were all working 24-7 get the software launched and I remember the first partypoker Million on a cruise ship which overlaid $500K. It was devastating for me to see the decline of partypoker when we were forced to pull out of the US and then watch from the side lines as our competitors remained and benefited from our customer base. I am really looking forward to working with people that love the game like I do. We are not aiming for second place. We are all in. Shuffle up and deal!"
Read WPT's full press release on Sexton's retirement here.
Vince Van Patten is going anywhere! He's sticking around for the 16th season. VVP will be joined by new host Tony Dunst. The snazzy-dressed Dunst, a.k.a. Bond18, will step in as Sexton's replacement. Dunst essentially got promoted. He had been handling WPT live streaming duties and filled in for VVP or Sexton on numerous episodes. Dunst appeared on EPT Episodes during the Raw Deal segment.
According to WPT's CEO Adam Pliska, “Today is a bittersweet day in WPT history. As we announce the end of Mike Sexton's incredible tenure as WPT co-commentator, the World Poker Tour celebrates the internal promotion of Tony Dunst to one of poker's most visible positions. Mike, along with Vince Van Patten, is more than just a part of one of the longest-running commentating pairs in sports broadcast history. His graciousness, enthusiasm, passion, and genuine spirit are emblematic of all we have wished the World Poker Tour to be. In short, Mike has made us a better company. For years, we knew that this day would come, and the WPT is immensely grateful that Mike stuck it out for 15 years of nonstop travel and devoted work to the benefit of all of his colleagues. Mike will forever be a cherished member of the WPT family, and his impact will forever shape the core of this company and the entire industry.”
Tony Dunst said, “Mike Sexton set the standard for what it means to be an ambassador, and the positive impact he had on my career and the broader poker community cannot be overstated. I'm honored to be taking his seat in the booth next to the legendary Vince Van Patten; and while I intend to bring my own style to the position, Mike will be a lasting inspiration for how I carry myself and treat people within poker. The success and popularity of the World Poker Tour are the result of the culture he created here.”
Sexton represented the old guard, most of whom started out gambling in pool halls, bowling alleys, underground clubs, VFW halls, and other places of ill repute. Dunst represents the internet and TV generation that learned how to play online poker via various media like episodes of the WPT and training videos. Oh, and VVP? He's the bridge between the too.
Dunst's first gig as co-host will occur in August when the new season of the WPT begins at the Choctaw Casino in Oklahoma.
Mike Sexton set the standard for what it means to be an ambassador, and the positive impact he had on my career and the broader poker community cannot be overstated.