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PartyPoker’s WSOP for Life promotion is now running. You can win entry to the WSOP Main Event every year for ‘life’! Here, PartyPoker ambassador Mike Sexton recalls one of his favourtie WSOP memories.

This is my personal favorite WSOP story. It was 1989 – the year I won my first bracelet. At that time of my career, I was playing Seven Card Stud 8 or Better ($30/60 and $50/100) every day for a living. So, the $1500 buy-in 8 or Better Stud tournament was my ‘main event’ at the WSOP.

No Limit Hold’em wasn’t big back then

Unlike today, No Limit Hold’em wasn’t big back then. You couldn’t find a cash game of NLH any time in Vegas except at the WSOP. So, the main event at the WSOP was something I hadn’t really considered playing yet. Stud 8 or Better was my game and my dream was to win the bracelet in this event.

Before the event started, a number of players were trying to get a ‘last longer’ bet going. It was $1,000 to get in and the guy who went the farthest in the tournament, took down all the cash. Ken Flaton asked me to enter. As I hesitated a bit, he said he’d love to take half of me in the last longer bet. So, bolstered by his confidence, I got in (and gave him half).

This was the best tournament I have ever played

Seventeen players got in the last longer bet. For some reason, that last longer bet made me more determined to do well. To this day, this was the best tournament I have ever played. I truly don’t think a made a bobble the entire tournament.

When we got to the final table, I was the chip leader! I was feeling great and really believed this was going to be my day. On the very first hand at the final table, I was rolled up with three sixes! YEAH! I was looking to become a massive chip leader. Instead, I lost the hand to a flush and just that quick, half my chips were gone.

Ouch! It hurt bad but I kept saying to myself, “Look, you’re still at the final table with average chips. That’s all you need.” When we got down to four players, we all had about average chips.

My favorite hand of all-time came up

Then, my favorite hand of all-time came up – and I wasn’t even in the pot! I had the low card and brought it in, but then folded as the other three players went to war. They capped it on 3rd street, 4th street, 5th street, and were all-in on 6th street.

They turned up their cards. One player had Aces up and a wheel draw, another was rolled up with three Kings, and Men ‘the Master’ Nguyen was rolled up with three Queens (and let me add he never took one raise in this pot).

It was the ultimate cooler. The three Kings stood up and the other two players busted out. I was so happy! I moved up from $15k to $60k in real money and had a chance to play heads-up for the bracelet. I came back from a 3-1 chip deficit to win the title (and the last longer money)! I had done it. I won the bracelet I had dreamed about.

In my career, I’ve been fortunate to win a number of events bigger than that one, including the 2006 WSOP Tournament of Champions (and $1M), but I know that nothing will ever compare to the joy I had when I won my first WSOP bracelet in Stud 8 or Better in 1989.


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