Interview With partypoker Chairman & Poker Legend Mike Sexton

2 years ago
Interview With partypoker Chairman & Poker Legend Mike Sexton
01 Aug

Known worldwide for his many years of poker commentary at World Poker Tour events as well as his affiliation with partypoker, Mike Sexton is one of the most respected poker players in the game today.

A 2009 Poker Hall of Fame inductee, Mike has live tournament winnings in excess of $6.5 million. He left his long-time position as WPT commentator last year to focus on his new duties as Chairman of partypoker, a role that finds Sexton wearing many hats as the poker site aims to regain its former status as the top poker room in the industry.

PokerTube had a chance to ask Sexton a few questions regarding the state of poker today, questions covering everything from his vision for partypoker in the future, to whether or not Doyle Brunson has actually retired from the game. Mike was gracious enough to answer.

Q: Did you ever think you would have had this long of a relationship with partypoker and to see such a huge revival in the last 12 months?

Mike:I've been with partypoker since Day 1 but I couldn't/wouldn't have expected to have had such a long relationship due to the fact they have had various owners over the years.  I certainly would have never left what many considered to be (me included) the best job in poker - commentator on the WPT unless GVC redirected their efforts considerably toward the growth and revival of partypoker (to the credit of Rob Yong and Tom Waters).  It's so exciting to see partypoker and the partypoker LIVE tour headed in such a positive direction.  I'm extremely proud to be a part of it.  

Q: Out of all the live events you will travel to and hopefully commentate is there a specific one you are looking forward to the most?

Mike:That would be the CPP in the Bahamas November 9-18.  I truly believe this will be the greatest poker event of the year, and perhaps all-time.  It will feature a variety of buy-ins including two massive $10m guaranteed prize pools ($5k & $25k buy-ins)!  And Baha Mar is truly a luxurious property in an incredible setting. This is one tournament/vacation players should definitely put on their calendars.

Q: Do you think the WSOP has lost some of it’s magic due to holding so many events now and WSOPE editions?

Mike:I love the WSOP and its history but I do feel they need to be careful in not diluting the brand (& the value of the bracelet) by continuing to increase the number of events each year.  And since players can qualify for WSOPE and WSOPC events on partypoker, I love 'em!     

Q: Doyle recently announced his retirement...out of 10 how much do you believe he will keep to this?

Mike:Zero.  There's a chance he might not play any more tournaments, but he will never quit playing poker unless he's physically unable to get to the Bellagio.  

Q: What are three things you would ban/ban players from doing at the poker tables?


1)Anything that slows down the game (tanking, stare-downs, talking too much to your opponent during a hand, etc.).

2) I'd like to ban all sunglasses and headphones.

3)Verbally abusing or criticizing other players (or dealers) at the table.  

Q: Are you anti or pro online software tools such as HUDs?

Mike:  Anti.

Q: There are 6 seats at a poker table with 1 seat reserved for you. Who would fill the other 5 seats to create your dream game and why?

Mike:Five rich guys that love to play but can't spell p-o-k-e-r.  

Q: How long do you think it will be until someone hits $100,000,000 in live tournament cashes and who are you betting on to do it?

Mike:I don't see it happening in the next ten years. I'm not sure Hi-Roller events will continue to be as numerous as we've seen in the past few years and I think anyone who gets to $50-$60m will not be as eager to travel and play nearly as much as they used to.  If Fedor Holz, Jason Koon, or Justin Bonomo would continue playing a heavy schedule of big buy-in events for the next ten years, they'd have a shot.    

Q: Top tip of advice for a newbie coming into poker?

Mike:Play within your means and recognize that money management is as important, if not more important, than being a good player.  My question to them would be, "Do you know how tough it is to make it as a professional poker player these days?" And no matter how good you are, don't even consider playing full-time unless you love to play poker - not 'like' to play, 'love' to play. 

Q: Top tip of advice for a young player winning $Millions?

Mike:Don't let early results fool you.  You're not as good as you think you are.  And if you're fortunate enough to make a big score early in your career, don't blow your money foolishly (on sports, horses, in the pit, on drugs, at night clubs, etc.).  You'll discover it's not so easy to make it again.

That's some solid, sound advice from one of poker's good guys. With Sexton at the helm, partypoker has been growing its customer base and making an effort to really connect with its players. We may see that growth continue.

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Charles is a Chicago native and long time poker player who dusted off his journalism degree and began writing about poker following the events of Black Friday in 2011. He has written for a number of leading poker websites, offering his insights and expertise on subjects ranging from online poker leg...Read more


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