Poker’s elite gathered in the Brasilia Room at the Rio All-Suite hotel and casino to honor one of its own Saturday night. Mike Sexton, host of the World Poker Tour, author, and highly accomplished poker player was the 2009 inductee of the Poker Hall of Fame. “The Ambassador of Poker,” Sexton is credited for being a catalyst for the growth of poker through corporate sponsorship and television.

Said brother Tom Sexton of Mike’s foresight into the future of poker many years ago, “Mike looked at the world through rose-colored glasses.” Tom further shared with the audience how proud the brothers’ mother would have been of the Poker Hall of Fame’s newest member and that among Mike’s successes, his 18-month old son Ty, was his greatest achievement.

1988 Hall of Fame Inductee, Doyle Brunson was the first of a few of poker’s legends to say a few words about Sexton and his contribution to poker over the past decades. Also on hand were Jack Binion, 2009 Hall of Fame finalist, Tom McEvoy and 2006 inductee, TJ Cloutier.

In his acceptance speech, Sexton barely mentioned himself, instead lending credence to his fellow 2009 Hall of Fame Finalists, WPT co-host Vince Van Patten, WPT founder Steve Lipcomb and Linda Johnson, who in the 1990’s, was publisher of Cardplayer magazine before selling it to Barry Shulman in 1998.

Before Johnson sold Cardplayer to Barry Shulman in 1999, she hired Sexton to write for the publication. Sexton credited his relationship with Johnson and Cardplayer for giving him the industry insight that led to his being one of the founders of the Tournament of Champions, and his involvement in Party Poker and the World Poker Tour. “If you’re looking for a next hall of famer, Linda Johnson has done more for poker than anybody out there,” said Sexton.
In closing, Sexton paid tribute to the two most important people in his life. “When you go home tonight, you’re not going to talk about Mike Sexton’s accomplishments, you’re going to talk about how beautiful Mike’s wife and son are.”