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Sexton honored by Hall of Fame induction
Player, TV commentator, poker author and ambassador Mike Sexton will be the sole inductee into the Poker Hall of Fame this year, Harrah's announced Thursday.
"It's a nice honor," Sexton told PokerListings from London, just moments after he was notified about his induction.
"It really feels great. I'm truly flattered. Being inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame is about more than winning a tournament or having a good year. Essentially it is about having your career evaluated, being appreciated for what you've accomplished and what you've done for poker."
For the first time in the Hall's 20-year history, the nomination process was open to the public, who helped define nine finalists for this year's class, including Daniel Negreanu and Sexton.
The decision on inductees was then left up to the 17 living Hall of Fame members and a 15-member media panel.
Sexton was the only finalist that received the 75% of the panel's votes necessary for induction.
"The fact that, for the first time, this was a process that involved the fans, the media and the living members of the Hall of Fame is what makes this very special to me," Sexton said. "That they consider me worthy of induction into this exclusive club is the most precious thing."
Sexton, 62, has more than $3.7 million in career tournament earnings over an almost 30-year career in the game, but is perhaps best known as an analyst for the World Poker Tour's television coverage and as a spokesperson for PartyPoker.
While he claims he started out as just another poker player, after winning the 1996 Four Queens Poker Classic $5,085 No-Limit Hold'em Championship Finals, Sexton began writing a regular magazine column and embraced a role as a catalyst for poker's growth, setting up major tournaments and working as an ambassador for the game.
"I've always tried to promote poker in the best possible way," he said. "A lot of it has just been about being in the right place at the right time."
While he will officially be inducted in a special ceremony during the final of the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event Nov. 7, Sexton said becoming the 38th member of the Poker Hall of Fame is no indication his poker career is coming to a close.
"As long as I'm alive and healthy and I can walk back and forth from the tournament area, I'll still be playing, it doesn't matter how old I get," he said.
"I still enjoy playing and now I feel like when I play poker, I'll be carrying the torch for all the Hall of Famers."
The Poker Hall of Fame was established in 1979 and acquired by Harrah's Entertainment along with the World Series of Poker in 2004.
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