Commentator, Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton dies at age 72

Mike Sexton, one of the most recognizable and influential personalities in the modern poker world, died Sunday of prostate cancer. He was 72.

Sexton, a 2009 inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame, served as one-half of a commentary team for the World Poker Tour alongside Vince Van Patten from the tour's first TV broadcast in March 2003 through 2017, when Sexton retired to become the chairman of online poker platform partypoker.

Sexton had been influential during partypoker's launch in 2001. As both a promoter of the platform and in his role as a commentator and player, Sexton was one of the key figures in driving the worldwide poker boom in the early 2000s -- an era that saw tournament prize pools balloon by millions of dollars and online poker cash games grow.

"Mike Sexton, one of my great gambling friends and one of my best friends forever -- just a stand-up, wonderful person -- has gone," Van Patten said in a video released by the WPT. "But he's not, because the whole poker world knows and loves him."

As a poker player, Sexton had more than $6.7 million in live tournament results including a 1989 WSOP bracelet win in seven-card stud hi-lo and a 2016 WPT title won in Montreal. In addition to three final tables under the WPT banner, Sexton made 23 WSOP final tables over the course of his playing career, including a ninth-place finish in the inaugural $1 million buy-in "Big One for One Drop" event in 2012.

Sexton also won $1 million in the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions invitational on ESPN, defeating Daniel Negreanu heads-up to secure the title.