Mike Sexton announced last Monday, May 22, that he will be leaving his iconic role as commentator with the World Poker Tour to become Chairman of partypoker. Sexton helped found the tour back in 2002 and for the past 15 years have helped WPT become one of the most recognizable brands in the industry along with Sexton as the face of the brand.
"It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the World Poker Tour since its inception in 2002," Sexton said in a release from the WPT. "When the World Poker Tour launched, it was a dream come true, and to be there from the beginning and see how the WPT changed the poker world forever by essentially turning poker into a televised sport has been amazing. And to do it all this time with my co-commentator from day one, Vince Van Patten, has made it even more special.
"I'd like to thank Steve Lipscomb for his vision to create the World Poker Tour, Adam Pliska for bringing the WPT to incredible heights, and the entire WPT family for all they do and have given me. I'd like to mention everyone, but there's simply too many to name."
In a press release from partypoker, Chairman Sexton will oversee a number of areas in the business as well as play the role of an ambassador. Some of the goals for Sexton will be to improve customer service and loyalty program, invest in software development, combat third-party software, create a friendly environment for amateur players, invest in marketing budgets in the community, oversee the growth of partypoker Live Tours, and many more.
Sexton included a statement in the press release:
"This is an emotional time for me because I have decided to leave the World Poker Tour to focus on this new role. I was at partypoker from the start, before there was even a name or a single virtual card was dealt. I experienced the crazy times of the poker boom when we became the number one site in the world, I remember people sleeping on the office floor when we were all working 24-7 get the software launched and I remember the first partypoker Million on a cruise ship which overlaid $500K. It was devastating for me to see the decline of partypoker when we were forced to pull out of the US and then watch from the side lines as our competitors remained and benefited from our customer base. I am really looking forward to working with people that love the game like I do. We are not aiming for second place. We are all in. Shuffle up and deal!"
Sexton's seat in the commentary booth will now be filled by Tony Dunst, who has been with the WPT since 2010 and has filled in for Sexton as an analyst before. Like Sexton, Dunst is also a WSOP bracelet winner and a WPT champion. His role will officially start in August this year.
"Mike Sexton set the standard for what it means to be an ambassador, and the positive impact he had on my career and the broader poker community cannot be overstated," Dunst said. "I'm honored to be taking his seat in the booth next to the legendary Vince Van Patten; and while I intend to bring my own style to the position, Mike will be a lasting inspiration for how I carry myself and treat people within poker."