Poker Legend Mike Sexton Calls for Metal Detectors in Casino

Mike Sexton Casino Metal Detectors - Mike Sexton Poker Tournament Security

Mike Sexton was the World Poker Tour’s play-by-play man for 15 years, before retiring in 2017.

Poker Hall of Famer Mike Sexton said on Twitter on Monday that casinos need metal detectors to protect customers. Sexton’s comments were spurred by Sunday’s shooting at a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.

The shootings, which left two victims dead, were captured on live stream as a Madden eSports tournament took place.

Because the video game tournament circuit has similar rivalries and fan followings to the poker circuit, the event hit home to many members of the poker community.

In his tweet, Mike Sexton suggested that casinos across the United States needed to install metal detectors to assure visitors do not carry weapons. Though he did not mention the poker industry directly, Sexton implied that casinos need to protect card players.

Sexton: “A Sad State of Affair”

Sexton posted, “It’s a sad state of affairs but it should be obvious by now that if we want to curb senseless shootings (inside buildings anyway), we need to install metal detectors at every school, arena, and store/building where there is substantial traffic.”

When Card Player Magazine asked the former World Poker Tour (WPT) broadcaster to elaborate on his tweet, he said, “Sadly, I’ve always worried about some poker player who went broke or felt he got a bad ruling to come back and start blasting. It’s a concern. I predict casinos will all go to metal detectors in the not too distant future.”

Jacksonville Video Game Shooting

The incident Sunday in Jacksonville appears to have stemmed from rivalries on the Madden circuit. According to several witnesses, David Katz had words with other competitors prior to the shooting. Katz, who shot 2 fellow competitors to death before turning his gun on himself, was a competitor on the Madden eSports circuit.

The eSports community, which plays video games for prize money, is a close-knit group. Most are friends or friendly acquaintances, though many described David Katz as quiet and standoffish. Katz, a resident of Baltimore, had lost a game earlier in the day and many thought he was upset over the loss.

David Katz Targeted eSports Competitors

Bystanders said that David Katz did not target fans. He picked out rivals in order to murder them. What emerges is the picture of a troubled, sullen loner who held grudges over Madden NFL competitions.

What Sunday’s tragedy shows is that people do not really know the other people at eSports tournaments. The same could be said of a major organized poker event. When 7,000 to 8,000 people show up for the World Series of Poker Main Event, it is impossible to know who is showing up. Anyone willing to pay a $10,000 entrance fee — or with the skills and luck to win their way into the event — can play the WSOP Main Event.

Why Casinos Need Metal Detectors

While the vast bulk of cardplayers who show up at the WSOP Main Event are good-natured and ready to have a good time, one has to know that poker events has to attract a certain number of the troubled loner type. When Mike Sexton talks about a poker player shooting up an event, he isn’t talking about a matter of if, but a matter of when.

The two communities are not that different. Esports is now a billion-dollar industry. Esports betting generates $6 billion in turnover every year. Last year, the various eSports circuits had $93 million in prize money. Epic Games has announced a $100 million investment in a Fortnite eSports circuit for next year alone. The video game circuit is not a niche hobby anymore, so it is possible the types of personalities both gaming circuits attract is similar.

The real point in both cases is both are huge gaming circuits which draw interest from people who see the games on TV or on the Internet, either through YouTube channels or Twitch live streams. In either case, a huge cross-section of people sign up for events. Most poker tournaments have far more unknown competitors than it has professional poker players, so no one is exactly certain what type of person is sitting across the table at a professional poker event.

That is the point Mike Sexton is trying to make. He is not suggesting that famous players are dangerous and need to be scanned at the front doors. Sexton is suggesting that the mass of unknown players might be dangerous — all it takes is one person like David Katz to be a poker enthusiast for a tragedy to happen. Such a person might be sitting across the card table when they have a bad beat and do not like busting out in that way. Or they might not a pro card player (or a fellow amateur) taunting them or otherwise trying to get them to go on tilt. In Mike Sexton’s thinking, metal detectors would cut down on the chances of an incident happening and it’s high time casinos take measures to protect the poker community.