Mike Sexton was a gymnast and attended Ohio State University where he earned a degree in public recreation after changing majors from business. He jokes that he majored in poker because he played very frequently in college. He also played contract bridge a lot and taught classes on it in North Carolina.
Sexton joined the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division in 1970. The division, however, had just gotten back from Vietnam, so he never saw any action. While he was in the army he taught ballroom dancing and one of his clients convinced him to try being a salesman, which he continued to do after his two year enlistment was up. After a while he realized that he could make money playing poker than being a salesman, so he took up poker in 1977.
Although Sexton frequented poker tournaments, he was never able to make it to the World Series of Poker because he coached little league baseball teams and the schedules overlapped. In 1985 he moved to Nevada to pursue poker full time.As of 2006, Sexton has won several poker tournaments, including one World Series of Poker bracelet, and over $1,000,000 in total tournament winnings. He is also in the top 10 for all time number of finishes in the money at the WSOP, with 37 cashes.
However, Sexton is more well known for his promotion of various poker events and services. He is the main host of the World Poker Tour and spokesman for PartyPoker.com, the biggest online poker room. Additionally, he is a writer for Cardplayer Magazine and the Gambling Times. He also founded the now defunct Tournament of Champions of Poker, which only let tournament winners from the previous year compete.For all his work promoting poker, Sexton is often known as the “ambassador of poker”.
Because of his affiliations, however, Sexton is unable to play in some poker events. Although the number of games he plays currently is less than before, he states that he doesn't mind so much, having played for so many years. Sexton did finish 10th in a preliminary event at the 2005 World Series of Poker and also in the final 16 of Poker Superstars II.On February 15, 2006, Sexton was recognized as the top poker ambassador at the Card Player Player of the Year Awards Gala