It's almost been a week since we got word that Mike Sexton passed and the news still stings. It's so rare these days to find a truly good man, especially in gambling circles. That's why this loss will be incalculable because of the numerous lives that Sexton touched and different aspects of the poker community he had been a part of... from a player, to a pro, to media, to online poker executive, and most importantly... as a fan.
Houston Curtis and Padraig Parkinson shared tributes over at CardPlayer. Curtis delved into the nosebleed celebrity games that had been a part of Hollywood over the last couple decades.
I heard about the Mike Sexton's foray into Hollywood games many moons ago from his brother Tom Sexton, but Tom swore me to secrecy about the details. He only revealed a few nuggets, mostly funny stories, but I held my word to Tom and never divulged the details.
The one thing that stood out was the fact that Mike Sexton wad a true ambassador for the game, especially when he was rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite. Many other pros would have seen easy money by taking down a town full of narcissistic degens, but Sexton made sure to keep the high stakes ecosystem running without relentless shark attacks from Vegas cardslingers.
In a piece for CardPlayer Magazine, Houston Curtis shared his Mile Sexton tribute.
"Mike Sexton was a friend whom I had shared many nights with playing high-stakes hold'em, along with many celebrities, athletes, and billionaires," said Curtis.
The Hollywood types were very strict with their no-pros allowed rule. But Sexton bucked that tradition. For one, he's Mike Sexton and one of the coolest cats that walked the Earth. The other main reason is that he brought along a billionaire with a penchant for cards and gambling. Tobey Maguire, Curtis, et al were cool with Sexton playing in Molly Bloom's high-stakes game.
Curtis explained that Mike Sexton always downplayed his wins and made sure he flew under the radar, but he also highlighted the losses. It's an old-school tactic to downplay the skill and let the fish think you've been lucky.
Padraig Parkinson shared a tribute called "Rest In Peace Mike Sexton: The People's Champion" over at CardPlayer. Even though Parkinson is Irish and Sexton is American, the two became friends and shared a common bond of poker and storytelling.
Parkisnon shared a quote from Jesse May that summed up how Mike Sexton never stopped promoting poker, "Mike put on a suit and tie every day to demand respect for the game we love, whose vision for poker came to pass. He gambled hard, he burned for the underdog, he walked with honor."
Parkinson and Sexton first met in the late 1990s and the two had become peas in a pod. Parkinson loved to give Sexton guff over his instance of using ketchup with his steak, even at the world-famous and fancy Aviation Club in Paris. Check out Parkinson's funny and touching tribute here.