Life's a Gamble - Mike Sexton

In many ways Mike Sexton is the face of poker. Famous for his role on the World Poker Tour, he has also been an influential force behind the success of Party Poker, as well as continuing to be a professional player based in Las Vegas. In his autobiography, "Life's A Gamble" Sexton recounts his experiences as a pro player for over 40 years, including many tales of the famous characters he's encountered both on and off the felt.

 "Life's a Gamble" opens by going back into Sexton's childhood when he was introduced to cards by Danny Robinson, who later went onto to become a world-class seven card stud and gin rummy player. Despite his continuous losses to Robinson, Sexton got hooked on the action and finally realized how good he had become once left home and began beating the games at college and later in the army. In the late 1970s, Sexton took at shot at playing professionally in Las Vegas. There he was reunited with Robinson, who had already found his place among Nevada's gambling elite and was introduced to legendary players such as Doyle Brunson, Chip Reese and Stu Ungar.

While remaining a successful pro Sexton began contributing articles to Cardplayer Magazine which allowed him a platform to create the highly successful "Tournament of Champions" event. As online poker rooms began to appear he was invited to join as poker advisor to a new site, Party Poker, which became a huge success, dominating the market until 2007 when changes in the law forced them to refuse players from USA. However during that time, with his connections to Party Poker and the TOC, Sexton was introduced to Steve Lipscombe, who shared his idea for the World Poker Tour. Sexton helped Lipscombe realize his vision, and became the face of the show as lead commentator along with Vince Van Patten.

This book is a real page turner and hugely enjoyable read. Sexton's charisma carries through the pages as he describes the hilarious gambling exploits he shared and witnessed, and a sober voice can be heard as he recounts the tragedies of his friends and peers. There is also a rightful air of pride as he goes through his business successes, which revolutionized the game, although when you could argue more could have been added to these sections. This is a man who has been on the forefront as poker evolved from a backroom pursuit to a world-wide craze and anyone with an interest in poker will really enjoy discovering "Life's a Gamble".

Rating: 4.5 out of 5