Many of you reading this will instantly recognize the name Dan Bilzarian. A former Navy Seal and current poker player who shot to fame over the last few years as a social media icon, who constantly posts videos and photoâ€™s showing off his massive wealth and playboy lifestyle.
Iâ€™m guessing that not as many of you will recognise the name of another poker player with a military background, one who has had a very different path through life, his name is Mike Sexton.
In his early years, Sexton was a gymnast whilst studying public recreation and business at Ohio State University. After graduating, Sexton joined the U.S Armyâ€™s Paratrooper division, just as the Vietnam War was ending, so thankfully he didnâ€™t have to see any action.
Throughout this, Sexton was passionate about poker. He played a lot during his college years and after trying a number of different professions when he left the army, he decided to try and make a living from playing the game he loved.
Upon moving to Nevada, Mike became associated with the highly successful and infamous poker player, Stu Ungar. One of the greatest players ever, Ungar won three World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets and earned plenty of money for himself, and the mob, who used to back him in tournament.
Sexton would have learned so much from this friendship, both about the positive and negative aspects of high stakes poker. After Ungarâ€™s tragic death in 1998, Sexton was a pallbearer and speaker at his funeral. He also went on to write the foreword for the first official and authorized biography of Ungarâ€™s life, which went on to be published in 2006.
Over the years, Sexton has had huge success on the poker circuit. The online Poker Database records that Sexton has won numerous tournaments, both in America and in Europe, the highlight being the WSOP bracelet he won back in 1989.
Mike is widely celebrated as the best ambassador the game of poker has ever had and his successes, both as a player and a commentator, have made him synonymous with the game.
Sexton is also a much publicized philanthropist. After winning the WSOP Tournament of Champions, he pledged to donate half his one million dollar prize to charity. In an interview that followed, Mike urged his fellow professionals to follow in his footsteps.
â€œThe most ardent adversaries of poker could not be against poker if we were to start donating huge bucks to worthwhile charities. And why not? It’s the right thing to do.”
Not satisfied by molding the future of professional poker, Sexton uses his position as a Party Poker spokesman to transmit his experiences and knowledge to casual players around the globe.
His Party Poker Blog is full of hints, tips and useful insights. Instructing players how to make the most of their talents, different strategies to take note of and recalling entertaining and informative stories from both his times spent in the booth and on the felt.
It really saddens me when I realise that people in this modern world would rather follow the exploits of a gun slinging, misogynistic, Navy Seal drop out like Bilzerian, who has never used his poker fortune to contribute anything good to society, apart from providing a few cheap laughs from his terrible commercial â€œactingâ€.
I just wish an ambassador, philanthropist, role model and all-round man of the people, like Mike was celebrated in normal society like he is on the poker circuit. If anyone wants to see the benefits of hard work, dedication and the right attitude can bring to your life, look no further than Mike Sexton.