Not content to rest on its laurels while the World Series of Poker gets all the headlines, the World Poker Tour (WPT) dropped a stunner on Monday, announcing that the legendary Mike Sexton is retiring from his position as the WPT’s long-time co-announcer. Sexton, a Poker Hall of Famer and the “Ambassador of Poker,” has been in the broadcast booth for the WPT in all fifteen seasons of its existence. Taking his place alongside broadcast partner Vince Van Patten is Tony Dunst, who has served as the host of the WPT Raw Deal for seven years.
In statement Sexton reflected on his decade and a half as the face and voice of televised poker:
It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the World Poker Tour since its inception in 2002. 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. Fifteen years later, another dream of mine came true when I won my first WPT title, and I now have the opportunity to play in the exclusive WPT Tournament of Champions for years to come. It’s been quite a ride over these 15 seasons, and one that I’ve been extremely blessed to take. 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. They know who they are, and without them, the WPT wouldn’t have become what it is today.
Tony Dunst has been extremely popular as the host of the Raw Deal. He is extremely knowledgeable, in tune with the poker community, has great camera presence, and is an accomplished player himself. He has appeared at a number of WPT final tables and has earned both a WPT title and a WSOP gold bracelet while accumulating almost $3 million in live tournament earnings.
WPT CEO Adam Pliska called Dunst’s promotion obvious, saying, “We always knew it would be Tony elevated into the position… it’s a special honor for us to welcome Tony to the commentary booth to carry on a legacy.”
Mike Sexton is not retiring from the poker business altogether, though. Far from it. On the same day his departure from the WPT was announced, GVC Holdings Plc also announced that Sexton has been named Chairman of partypoker. Sexton has had a longstanding relationship with partypoker, having been one of the co-founders of the site and being the face of the poker room during its heyday at the start of the poker boom.
“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,” Sexton said in the partypoker blog.
“t 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!”
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