First Anniversary, One Year
he creation of Sexton’s Corner happened at the 2007 World Series of Poker.
At the time my wife, Janis, suggested I get a job at the 2007 WSOP with
PokerNews.com, as she heard they might be hiring. I met a group for basic
training a week before the WSOP at the Tuscany Casino in Las Vegas,
where we were taught how to write up various hands in various games.
The first year one begins this, you are called a Junior Reporter. At age 60, it
wasn’t easy being a Junior Reporter, as everyday you are on your feet all
day with very few breaks. In fact, for all of you poker players playing in
various 2008 WSOP events, begin to appreciate the hard work that goes into
the live reporting, chip counts, and internet computer blogging. Your friends,
family, and fans that follow your progress online in each tournament rely on
the whole PokerNews.com team to keep them updated, and they work very
hard for you. Believe me, I know how hard they have to work everyday
during the whole WSOP.
My hat is off to the whole PokerNews.com team! When I started out as a
Junior Reporter, I was very fortunate my boss, John Caldwell, took notice that
some of the color commentary I was inserting in my write-ups about many of
the poker players were noteworthy. About half way through the 2007 WSOP,
John asked me if I might consider writing a Column for PokerNews.com. My
first reaction was, “Well, thank you, but I don’t know if that is something I can
do or not. I’ve never written a column, so let me think about it.” The next
day, I approached John and said, “John, I’ll tell you what I’ll do: I’ll write you
three articles in advance, sort of like an audition. Take a look at them, and if
you like them, I’ll go ahead and write a weekly column for you.”
(Above Left to Right) Mike Sexton, Chip Reese, Danny Robison,
Stu Ungar, Archie Karas and Benny Binion.
As it turned out, John loved all three stories, starting with the first one I submitted called The Cab Is Parked. In fact, it is this first article in the
archives, as Vol. 1, which ended up being my sign off tag line at the end of each article: The Cab Is Parked. To round things out, I asked for using
the name Sexton’s Corner for the column’s name, and wanted a yellow cab parked into a big pile of poker chips, as the column’s logo. Thus was
born my column……Sexton’s Corner!
For the past year, a new story has come out every Monday, and readers have been able to read many
colorful stories about some of our poker greats from the past. In the second year during the next 50
articles, you can count on more of this, combined with some stories of several of our new champions as
well. A new feature I want to include at the end of each column is an interesting tidbit poker trivia
question, with the answer to follow in the very next article. Besides the interesting mix of poker
personalities I write about each week, this new feature will always make it interesting for our readers to
Sexton’s Corner today reaches over 50 Countries, and is read literally by thousands of people every
week. If you miss any stories, they can all be found in the PokerNews.com archives, by following three
1.) First, go to the PokerNews.com home page.
2.) Once on the homepage, look at the bars of categories at the top. The second from the left is
called Poker News, so click it.
3.) The page this brings you to will show News Categories in the right hand column. This is a list of
authors or categories that are archived. About half way down this list just click Sexton’s Corner, and
every article I’ve ever written for PokerNews.com can be found in the archives.
Almost everyday I receive emails from fans of Sexton’s Corner, which are very uplifting. Every once in
a while they will send me their own colorful story of something that happened in the poker or gambling
world that is fun to read. A couple of weeks ago I received such an email from Olen Wells of
Washington, Oklahoma. I enjoyed his story so much; I contacted him to get his permission to share his
email with you: ( Special Email Below ).....
Tom Sexton was the official WSOP
photographer, between 1999 thru 2002 at
Binion's Horseshoe, and the creator of
Poker Masterpieces. Today, he writes his
weekly column, Sexton's Corner, that has
become so popular!
Tom, A few nights ago I was surfing looking for the latest updates about the WSOP. I remembered last year I had googled the WSOP and
found PokerNews.com. So after scrutinizing the WSOP home page, I drifted over to PokerNews.com, and that is where I’ve been ever since! I
started reading your columns about your brother, and I’m a HUGE fan of Mike and Vince. I watch every episode of the WPT, including reruns. I
think I have seen every episode at least 3 times. As a matter of fact, it’s airing as we speak, but I’m recording it so I’ll watch it after this email.
I have absolutely been mesmerized by your articles, not just Mike’s, but ALL of them. I’ve read about 25 of them the past 3 nights and I think I’ve
still got about that many to go from the archives. I felt compelled to write you and tell you what wonderful reading it has been. You are very
proud of your brother, but he should also be very proud of you, because you are a very gifted writer. And your knowledge of the “players” both
past and present is very impressive. I’m 56 years old and I’ve always loved to play cards my whole life, but always just penny ante stuff, because
that is all I could ever afford. But I had no interest whatsoever at all in Hold’em until the WPT came along, and I too was swept in by the
Moneymaker feat. It is good food for thought…what would have happened had Sammy had called Moneymaker’s bluff and Sammy, not
Moneymaker, had won the title? Obviously the hole card camera created the boom that hold’em has experienced, but no matter the how’s or
whys, the end result is that its become Americas game, if not the Worlds.
But I just wanted you to know how impressed I am with your articles, and now I’m a big fan of both Sextons. I’ve worked in radio for 35 years as
a DJ and production director, so I know a little bit about good M.C.’ing, hosting and writing. Both of you are terrific at your craft. (I suspect you
drove a pretty mean cab too.)
I even have an old Benny Binion story to tell. (I just read your story about the guy who rolled the dice for $777,777 and won, so maybe you
haven’t heard this story.) A guy I once worked with moved to Vegas back in the 80’s to be a blackjack dealer. He got a job at the Horseshoe,
and some of the dealers who had been around for a while told him about the time a guy walked up to a blackjack table with a suitcase with
$1,000,000 in it! The guy says “I want to lay it all on one hand!” The dealer calls the pit boss, and the pit boss calls upstairs and so on, until
finally Benny shows up. Benny says, “What can I do for you?” The guy says the same thing: “I want to bet it all on one hand!” Well, by this
time word had gotten around and there were TV crews and media types everywhere. Truth be known, I’m sure Benny had called them all. So
Benny agreed and the guy wins the hand! The guy says, “I’ll take it all in cash.” So, they put it in a box and the guy leaves with his suitcase and
box with $2,000,000 in them! After the shift, the dealer who was a lady, went home thinking “That’s it! I’ll never work in this town again, after
costing the house $1,000,000! Soon, her phone rings and it is Benny! She’s thinking, “OK I’m fired.” But Benny says to her, “Julie, what is your
favorite kind of car?” She responds, “A Mercury Cougar.” Benny says, “What color?” Julie says “Red.” Benny says,” Stop by the local Mercury
dealership tomorrow, and they will have a new one ready to go for you. Julie responds, “I don’t understand……….You mean I’m not fired?”
Benny says, “FIRED, of course not! You just got us the kind of coverage that I can’t buy!” He didn’t say what would have happened had the guy
lost…..Sorry for going on and on, but you inspired me! And by the way from one Sooner to another…..I live in Washington, Oklahoma, which is
12 miles from the University of Oklahoma campus…. And I’m a huge Sooner fan!
Washington, Oklahoma (Population = 348)
Wow…………I love colorful stories like this! Olen, thanks for the interesting story about colorful Benny Binion, and the nice email about
becoming a new fan of Sexton’s Corner. When any writer receives an inspirational and uplifting email like yours, it is motivating to say the least!
Looking back over the first year of my column, it is amazing how fast the time went by, before there were 50
stories ending with this week’s column. Perhaps the highlight was the 10 Part Chronicles I wrote on Archie
“The Greek” Karas, found in the archives in Vol.31 thru 39. I was fortunate to have interviewed Archie for
over 60 hours, as he granted me permission to write about several things never before written about in his
amazing saga of parlaying $50 into over $40,000,000 in a two year period of time between 1992 to 1994,
before losing it all back by 1995! As Jack Binion was quoted, “The biggest gambler I ever went up against
was Archie Karas.” His story is now googled around the world from PokerNews.com in Sexton’s Corner, and
it looks like a book deal and movie might be around the corner as well! A lot of credit goes to PokerNews.
com for allowing me to write a 10 Part story, that basically has never been done before from a weekly poker
column! They recognized Archie’s story to be one of the most unique and intriguing stories that probably
ever happened in the history of Las Vegas, and granted me complete backing to write the story how I
wanted to. A special thank you goes to PokerNews.com’s Editor in Chief, John Caldwell, for his consistent
Another highlight was the 6 Part story I did on The Golddust Twins in Vol.
24 thru 28, which was about the early days of Chip Reese and his original
partner from Dayton, Ohio Danny Robison. It is a story about the two of
them coming to Las Vegas in the very beginning in 1973 with a $700
bankroll, and within two years, amassing a fortune of over $2,000,000!
The old timers around back then like Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Puggy
Pearson, and Amarillo Slim dubbed Chip and Danny the Golddust Twins,
as everything they touched seemed to turn into gold! I wrote a 6 Part story
on them, including an individual story on Danny in Vol.27, and a special
Tribute to Chip Reese in Vol.28, after his shocking death last year. When
I first wrote these articles I got a personal phone call from Danny, who
couldn’t get over how good the stories were on him and Chip. He said,
“Tom, these are the best stories I have ever seen written, about our early
days in Las Vegas, they were unbelievable!”
In Vol.19 thru 23, I wrote a 5 Part story on Stu “The Kid” Ungar, who is generally regarded as the best gin
rummy and No Limit player who ever played cards! These articles talk about his three WSOP Main Event
titles he won in 1980, 1981, and 1997, and many of his ups and downs during his lifetime. The first article
highlights the important role Billy Baxter played in Stu Ungar’s life, backing him up in 1997 again, after Stuey
was the chip leader on day 1 in 1990, but got high on drugs over night, being sent by ambulance to the
hospital, not able to return for the tournament. The poker lore intertwined between these two Hall of Famers
is a must read, as very few would ever back up a player again, if he got high and threw away the Main Event
over drugs on day one as the chip leader. Billy has won 7 WSOP gold bracelets himself, and is one of Las
Vegas most respected and successful gamblers for over the past 30 years. I got a nice call from Stuey’s ex-
wife, Madeline Ungar thanking me for the accurate, yet sensitive job I did telling Stuey’s story, including the
last two parts of Stu Ungar’s Final Journey. I’m so very proud of both Madeline and her daughter Stefanie for
their work on the Stu Ungar Foundation they have created. Please look it up in Part 5 of my Stu Ungar
articles in Vol. 23 in the archives.
Amazingly, these four topics I wrote about added up to 26 articles this past year out of the 50 I’ve written about! A few of the other articles were
on Bobby Baldwin, Poker’s 10 Billion Dollar Player, Dewey Tomko, who is one of the true legends in poker, and Puggy Pearson and how he met
Mike Sexton over 30 years ago, which is an absolute classic! Benny Binion and a few of his colorful stories from the past are written about. Now
we all have one more, as told in the email above. The second article in the archives was called Poker’s Perfect Trifecta, which is about Jerry
Yang winning three key hands with pocket eights when down to the last two tables, to capture last year’s WSOP Main Event in 2007. Anther
article is written about one of poker’s nicest guys, Bill Edler, who won a WPT event and a WSOP gold bracelet on the same year! Then there is
Wayne Gretzky’s wife, Janet Jones Gretzky, who joined Doyle, Dewey and the boys in the High Stakes Golf tournament on ESPN! The most
recent articles were on Russ Hamilton winning the 1994 WSOP Main Event in an amazing series of events that has never been written about
before. There are a half of dozen or so miscellaneous topics written about you’ll enjoy if you check out the archives as well.
All in all, it has been a fun first year writing articles in Sexton’s Corner, and I’m looking forward to many more stories to tell each week over the next
twelve months. I appreciate everyone who has become a fan of Sexton’s Corner this past year, and hope many more join in this upcoming year.
Again, at the end of each article from this point on, I’ll be asking you a poker trivia question, with the answer to follow in next week’s article.
The Cab Is Parked,
(LEFT) Archie "The Greek" Karas is pictured winning $5,000,000 in one day at the dice table at
Binion's Horseshoe in 1994. The 10 Part Chronicles written on Archie in Sexton's Corner are
regarded as the best ever written. If you start with Part 1 and read thru Part 10, you'll feel like
you just read an amazing movie script of Las Vegas's most amazing gambling story! CLICK HERE
(RIGHT) A young Chip Reece with his close friend Danny Robison are pictured, as the two of them headed for Las Vegas in 1973
with a bankroll of $700. Everything they touched seemed to turn to gold, as they won $2,000,000 within two years together. Poker
greats Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Puggy Pearson, and Amarillo Slim named them The Golddust Twins. In Sexton's Corner there
are 4 entertaining stories written about these two legends in those younger days! The 5th article is one on Danny Robison,
followed by number 6, that is a special tribute to poker's great one that recently passed away.......Chip Reese. CLICK HERE.
(LEFT) Stu "The Kid" Ungar was considered to be the best gin rummey and No-limit hold'em
tournament player in the world by just about everyone! Sexton's Corner writes 5 terrific articles
on Stuey, from his early days through his three WSOP Main Event titles in 1980, 1981, and 1997.
Tom Sexton relays his personal story, as to how Stuey influenced him to begin Poker
Masterpieces. In Part 4 and 5, Tom writes about Stu Ungar's Final Journey, that adds a lot of
interesting details about this poker legend at the end, including information about "The Stu Ungar
Foundation." CLICK HERE.
The 5 Part story I wrote on my brother, Mike Sexton, covered him being selected as Poker’s Ambassador by his
peers, as well as him being the creator and founder of the original Tournament of Champions. His articles are
in the archives are found from Vol.43 thru 47. Mike’s story goes into his winning the 2006 WSOP TOC as a
player, followed by some insights as to his being both a television and Internet pioneer! It seems like almost
every day I run across someone who thanks me for the articles I wrote on Mike, as they say something like: “I
know Mike, but learned a lot more about him through your articles and what he has really meant to the
industry.” The testimonial in the above email is an example of the impact Mike has made on many of the poker
fans across America. I’ve said it many times, but it is worth repeating………”I’m so proud of what Mike has done
for poker and his accomplishments along the way!”
(RIGHT) Mike Sexton is pictured holding his Poker Ambassador Award he won in 1995, as voted upon
by his peers. In Sexton's Corner you'll read many details about Mike's journey to the top you may not
have heard about before. The 5 Parts cover him as Poker's Ambassador; the creator and founder of
the original TOC; his victory in the 2006 WSOP TOC where he won $1,000,000 and donated $500,000 to
charity; his contribution to the industry as a television pioneer; and his contribution to the industry
as an Internet pioneer! On Sexton's Corner's home page there are two extra stories on Mike you'll
not want to miss! "Mike Sexton Tribute Page"