Jun 14, 2012
The world’s most expensive poker tournament will begin on July 1 as World Poker Tour’s Mike Sexton and as many as 47 other players ante up $1 million each to play in the Big One for One Drop charity event at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. We asked Mike why he decided to play in the event, and why he thinks being charitable is good for the future of poker.
WPT Blog: $1 Million is a huge buy in, even for professional poker players like yourself. Do you ever think about how much money you’re putting on the line? Do you think the buy in will affect the way people approach the tournament?
Mike Sexton: Obviously, this is an incredible amount to put up for a poker tournament, but because of the historical significance, the charity aspect, and the media coverage this event will garner, it seems like a unique opportunity – and makes the bucket list for all poker players. I think players will play a little tight in the beginning, but after a few hours, I expect it to play like a normal tournament.
WPT Blog: This is a special charity tournament to raise money for One Drop, which aims to bring clean drinking water and improve sanitation conditions for impoverished people around the world. Why is it important for the poker community to support charitable endeavors like this and organizations like the WPT Foundation?
Mike Sexton: Without the charity aspect, I doubt a $1M buy-in tourney would ever take place. This is why the businessmen are playing which in turn is why the top pro’s are playing. Poker events supporting charities like ONE DROP and the WPT Foundation make the world a better place and is what will hopefully lead to big-time corporate sponsorship in poker.
WPT Blog: You’ve been quite outspoken about your belief that the poker industry – and poker players – need to be more proactive in improving the game’s image. Why do you feel this is so important?
Mike Sexton: I just look at sports like golf and see the charity aspect of PGA events and the image portrayed by the pro’s – clean cut, they say the right things, etc. And because of this, golf has mega sponsorship for both events and individual pro’s. To me, golf is the perfect model for poker to follow.
WPT Blog: What do you think the game and the industry will look like five years from now?
Mike Sexton: I’m hopeful online poker will be full flow which will create much larger live events for the WPT. I’m also hopeful that the charity aspect of poker and sponsorship play a mega role in the poker world.
WPT Blog: Why do you think the One Drop tournament is capped at 48 players. Do you think a charity event like this should ever be capped or should these kind of tournaments be opened up to as many players who want to participate?
Mike Sexton: I’m sure it was set up this way to expedite players to sign up and create a buzz for the event – and it has. It also allows for better television coverage with just six tables. Having said that, it’s hard for me to believe if there’s 10 more people lined up with money to buy-in that they’ll cap it at 48 (and miss out on another $1.2M for the charity.)