Mike Sexton has just added more proof as to why he is affectionately known as the 'Ambassador of Poker.' After taking down the $1,000,000 purse for first place in the WSOP Tournament of Champions, Sexton announced that he would be donating $500,000 of his win to be split evenly between 5 different charities.
Sexton has long been one of the most outspoken pros on the issue of donating money to charity, and he showed that he is certainly willing to back up his words after his big win. The charities that Mike chose include the Special Olympics, The Buoniconti Fund to help cure paralysis, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project that helps families of those wounded or killed in battle, and Children Incorporated, the charity of choice for Barry Greenstein that provides food and school supplies for underprivileged children around the world.
Mike joins a trend made famous by Greenstein, who is referred to as the "Robin Hood of Poker" for his large tournament donations to charity. Upon the announcement of his donation, he noted, "Barry is a pioneer. Poker can do good things for underprivileged people."
Mike is known as an idea man around the poker community for his golden touch in any idea he pursues, such as PartyPoker, the WPT, and the Tournament of Champions. One of his focuses as of late, though, has been his attempt at trying to push pros and businesses to donate large amounts to charity because of the benefits that it could bring to both the poker community and the world. In previous interviews, he has noted, "The most ardent adversaries of poker could not be against poker if we were to start donating huge bucks to worthwhile charities. And why not? It's the right thing to do."
Not only would donations help clean up poker's image, Sexton believes that they could also lead to corporate sponsorship down the road. Modeling his idea after the PGA tour and its huge prize pools, he suggests that every major poker tournament could pledge to donate a percentage of the money to charity. Doing so would encourage corporations to add into the prize pool, since part of their backing would go to charity as well. "The PGA model is perfect," Mike has said, "and the poker industry would do well to learn from this tried-and-true business model."
"My next goal in life is to lead this change, because there are many worthwhile charities, and it's a win-win situation for all. The time is here for this to happen." Here's hoping the "Ambassador of Poker" touches gold again.
Ed Note: Mike Sexton endorses Party Poker, but you knew that.