Considered by many within the industry to be the game's top ambassador, Mike Sexton's election as 38th member of the Poker Hall of Fame was a no-brainer and the fact that he was the only player elected this year is a testament to how much of an impact he has made on the game.
Sexton's poker resume on the felt speaks as loudly as his booming voice on the World Poker Tour set. Having spent many years playing high-stakes cash games against tough competition (one of the requirements for entry in to the HOF), Sexton has also managed to score big tournament wins as well, earning over $3.8 million in tournament winnings over the course of his career.
He also owns a World Series of Poker bracelet for his 1989 win in the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Split tournament and has 45 WSOP cashes. In 2006, Sexton once again showed he belongs alongside the game's elite with his win in the WSOP Tournament of Champions event.
Although his table prowess is an obvious reason for his election, Sexton's actions off the felt provided Hall of Fame voters more than enough ammunition to push him over the threshold. Having helped introduce the world to the game as a commentator on the WPT and as a representative of Party Poker, Sexton also helped bring legitimacy to the game through his political lobbying and philanthropic nature which made him donate half of his $1 million win in the TOC to five charities.
Always quick with a smile, no one can argue that Sexton hasn't helped propel the game of poker from the back rooms to the forefront of pop culture.
Fittingly, many of the game's living legends turned out for Sexton's induction, which took place during the dinner break of the 2009 WSOP Main Event final table. Kicked off by Doyle Brunson, Sexton's election ceremony saw players such as Howard Lederer, Phil Hellmuth and Mike's brother Tom, give compliments about Sexton, both as a man and as a poker player.
Appropriately, Sexton received a 30-second standing ovation from the players on hand. Having beaten players such as Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Dan Harrington and Barry Greenstein for the honor as this year's sole inductee, it was well deserved.