Poker's most beloved ambassador -- WPT host and commentator Mike Sexton - edged out "Kid Poker" Daniel Negreanu after 17 hours to win $1 million at the WSOP's Tournament of Champions in Las Vegas. Sexton says he will donate half of his winnings to several charities.
"Mike Sexton has spent so many nights on our set toasting to the millionaire winners of the WPT. It is truly an honor for us to be toasting Mike on his million-dollar victory," said Steve Lipscomb, President and CEO of WPT Enterprises, Inc.
"Mike is a true gentleman. His contributions to the WPT and to the game of poker are unmatched, and we are fortunate to have someone who not only talks a great game, but plays one -- as a member of our team. Most of all, with his selfless devotion to teaching the game to anyone and his commitment to give something back, he is a role model for all of us," Lipscomb said.
Sexton will donate $100,000 of his winnings to each of five charities: the Special Olympics, the Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project (helping families of those wounded or killed in action), The Buoniconti Fund (to help cure paralysis), and Children Incorporated (which provides food, clothing and school supplies to underprivileged kids worldwide. Children Incorporated is also the primary recipient of donated funds from fellow poker star Barry Greenstein.
What makes this victory -- logged June 26 at the Rio -- especially sweet for Sexton is the fact that he created the Tournament of Champions in 1998, out of his own passion and desire to raise poker's profile. The current Tournament of Champions is an invitation-only freeroll featuring an array of the leading champions on the poker circuit -- hence the winner is truly at the top of his game.
In post-event interviews, Sexton acknowledged that his opportunity to view every hand played on the WPT has improved his game significantly. And he certainly demonstrated his prowess, beating a field that included Negreanu, Mike Matusow, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Andrew Black, Kido Pham and Gus Hansen, among others. The victory marks Sexton's second WSOP bracelet. He won the Seven Card Stud High Low in 1989.