Mike Sexton Selected as Sole 2009 Poker Hall of Fame Inductee
The Ambassador of Poker is Now a Hall of Famer
Mike Sexton has been selected to be in the Poker Hall of Fame. Harrah’s and the World Series of Poker announced this morning that Sexton had been selected to become the 38th member of the Poker Hall of Fame. He will be the only person inducted into the Halll at the November final table of the WSOP this year.
Sexton’s selection is not terribly surprising. Of the 15 living members of the Hall of Fame and the 15 media members who also had a vote, seemingly no one spoke out against giving Sexton the nod and everyone who did publicly offer opinions pointed to him as a worthy selection.
Sexton’s poker résumé is a long one. He won a WSOP bracelet in seven-card stud in 1989, and took down the televised WSOP Tournament of Champions in 2006. With his most recent cash in the 2009 main event, he has made $3.18 million in tournament winnings and has accumulated 47 WSOP cashes, good for 11th on the all-time list.
But more than his stats on the poker felt, he is recognized for his contributions to the game away from the poker table. He has served as announcer for the World Poker Tour and has written for Card Player. He has also been very generous when it comes to charities, donating half of his $1 million payday from his Tournament of Champions win to various organizations and helping to start up pokergives.org, an organization that assists poker players in giving to worthy charities.
Sexton has also been a progressive voice in the fight for poker’s legal rights, even entering the court room in South Carolina as an expert witness to help out five South Carolina poker players who stand trial for playing a $20 Texas hold’em tournament.
Long recognized as an ally to the average poker player, he spoke on behalf of players who got shut out from play on day 1D of the WSOP main event this year in an attempt to find a resolution.
But while Sexton’s selection is not all that surprising, the fact that no other player will be inducted along with him may be for some poker fans. Sexton was up for consideration to the Poker Hall of Fame with eight other players — Barry Greenstein, Erik Seidel, Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, Scotty Nguyen, Dan Harrington, Men Nguyen, and Tom McEvoy.
Harrah’s originally indicated that it expected two to three members of that group to make the Poker Hall of Fame this year, similar to past years. But the new voting criteria instituted this year probably hampered that expectation.
Current Hall of Famers and selected media members were only allowed to vote for up to three candidates, and only candidates who received 75 percent ore more of the vote -– or at least 23 of the 30 voting members’ votes -— were inducted.
“Mike was the only candidate who met the 75-percent-of-votes threshold, thus why he is the only one who gets inducted this year,” Seth Palansky, WSOP communications director, told Card Player. “However, it’s important to note that this year’s vote has no effect on the other nominees and their eligibility in the future. We stressed to the voters this year to focus on who is most worthy this year, and thus next year and beyond will always get a fresh look.”
Like Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame, the Poker Hall of Fame has set a 75 percent threshold for inductees. Unlike Major League Baseball, there is no set number of years a poker player can remain on the ballot, and the actual voting results are not released to the public.
“We didn’t see any upside for the nominees [to release the voting results] this year,” said Palasnky, who said that policy could change in future years. He also noted that “several” voting members chose not to use all of their three votes.
Harrah’s will consider making changes to the 2010 selection process, but those changes are still to be determined.
Sexton will be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Rio during the final table of the WSOP main event.
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