As the voice of the WPT and a noted poker player, Mike Sexton doesn’t have to worry about money much. In fact, he just won $302k through WPT Montreal. But Sexton recently revealed that he could’ve been worth $500 million had he not sold his Party Poker shares.
Speaking with Joey “ChicagoJoey” Ingram on the Poker Life Podcast, the 69-year-old discussed how they launched Party with a major Cruise Ship tournament in the early 2000s, “multiplying the business by 10.”
Sexton said, “It’s a business story that is just mind-boggling. These people had no hindsight investors, nothing. In less than 4 years time after launching Party Poker, they went public for $9 billion.”
Unfortunately, Sexton didn’t share in the big IPO launch because he sold his shares early.
“A year and a half before they went public, I was the last shareholder in the US … they offered to buy me out,” he recalled. “They said ‘what do you want for your stock?’ I said ‘what will you give me for it?’
“I didn’t have access to the books or anything, I just figured out what we made every day and just put a pencil to it real quick.”
Sexton wrote down that he wanted $15 million, and they countered with $10 million. Sexton held firm on his asking price and management agreed, provided that he earned the last $10 million by remaining a Party Poker employee over the next 5 years ($2m per year).
“By selling my stock, it only cost me about $500 million or so. But what’s $500 million here or there.”
It’s not hard to believe this story, given that we’re talking about the Poker Boom, when Daniel Negreanu was once offered $170 million for his small US poker site. Even still, Sexton has to feel like he made one of the worst stock deals of all time by selling early.
He cited concerns over Party Poker’s legality and the fact that he had little money at the time for reasons why he sold. See the entire story below: