Remembering the Legendary Poker Pro Doyle Brunson

Legendary poker pro Doyle Brunson passed away at 89 over the weekend. Widely considered one of the best players in the game’s history, Brunson was a ten-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner, and his impact on the game is undeniable – he shaped it into what we know today.ย 

The family of Doyle Brunson, through his agent Brian Balsbaugh, issued a statement on Twitter expressing their sadness over his passing. The statement described Brunson as a beloved Christian man, husband, father, and grandfather. 

They also noted that they would provide more details about his life and legacy in the following days. Although the cause of death was not disclosed, the family asked the public to keep Brunson and their family in their thoughts and prayers as they grieve.

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Doyle Brunson, the “God Father of Poker” 

Doyle Brunson is a renowned poker player who significantly impacted the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event. He earned the top prize in the tournament in 1976 and 1977, a feat only a few others have accomplished more than once. 

Brunson won consecutively and was among the three players to achieve this. Moreover, he is a ten-time WSOP bracelet winner and was recognized for his achievements when he was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988. In August 2004, Brunson added another accomplishment to his list by winning a World Poker Tour championship.

Early Path

Doyle Brunson was a remarkable basketball player who played for Hardin-Simmons College during the 1950s. He was one of the top players on the team, and in the 1952-1953 season, he averaged 12.5 points per game. 

Brunson’s basketball skills were so exceptional that he was considered a potential NBA prospect. However, his hopes of returning to the NBA were crushed when he suffered a knee injury. After his injury, he became more interested in poker and eventually became one of the best players in the game during the 1970s and 1980s. Even in his 80s, Brunson remained a successful cash game player, despite being past his prime.

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Life as a Poker Player

Doyle Brunson’s introduction to poker wasn’t in lavish casinos. Brunson met and befriended fellow poker legends Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts.

As the poker industry grew into a multi-billion dollar business in Las Vegas, Brunson adapted to the changes and took risks to try new things. He was not afraid to fail and was successful in various competitions.

Although Brunson excelled in many tournaments, his most significant accomplishments came at the World Series of Poker, winning over ten gold bracelets and cashed out thirty-six times. His legacy in the poker world is undeniable.

Brunson, a poker live pro player, won the WSOP main event two years in a row. In 1976, he was up against Jesse Alto in the final moments of the tournament. At this critical juncture, he was dealt a 10 and 2 of spades, a combination that would help him get a full house and clinch the championship.

The following year, he was at the final table competing against Bones Berland. Once again, he was dealt a 10 and 2 of the same suit, which he used to his advantage to achieve a full house and win the title.

Dubbed “Ten Deuce” or “The Mystic Hand,” the 10-2 hand is believed to bring good luck to players who use it to their advantage.

List of WSOP Bracelets

  • 1976:  $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw โ€“ $80,250
  • 1976: $10,000 World Championship โ€“ $220,000
  • 1977: $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split โ€“ $62,500
  • 1977: $10,000 World Championship โ€“ $340,000
  • 1978: $5,000 Seven-Card Stud โ€“ $68,000
  • 1979 โ€“ $600 Mixed Doubles (with Starla Brodie) โ€“ $4,500
  • 1991 โ€“ $2,500 No Limit Hold ‘em โ€“ $208,000
  • 1998 โ€“ $1,500 Seven-Card Razz โ€“ $93,000
  • 2003 โ€“ $2,000 H.O.R.S.E. โ€“ $84,080
  • 2005 โ€“ $5,000 No-Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold ‘em โ€“ $367,800

During the 2010s, the professional poker player found tournament hours at the WSOP too lengthy, so he opted to play cash games instead.

However, in 2018, he surprised many by participating in the WSOP, where he finished sixth in the $10,000 2-7 Lowball Championship. 

Brunson declared that this would be his final WSOP event. After the pandemic hit in 2020, he announced on Twitter that he planned to play in a few specific tournaments during the 2021 WSOP. He returned to play in both the Super Seniors Event and the Main Event.

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How Brunson Shaped Modern Poker Into What We Know It Today

When it comes to the poker world, few names have had as much influence as Doyle Brunson. As a legendary pro poker player and author, his contributions to the game are immeasurable.

Brunson first made his mark in the 1970s when he dominated the World Series of Poker, taking home the championship bracelet in back-to-back years. His success on the felt was undeniable, but perhaps even more influential was his impact off the felt. 

Brunson’s book “Super System” was a game-changer, offering a comprehensive poker strategy and guide to winning that is still highly regarded today. By sharing his methods and insights, Brunson helped shape modern poker into the complex and strategic game we know today. His legacy inspires players at all levels, and his influence will undoubtedly be felt for generations.

Brunson’s Legacy

Doyle Brunson was an iconic figure in the poker world whose influence will be felt for many years. He had a remarkable career, from winning back-to-back WSOP championships to writing the seminal book “Super System” that forever changed how players approach their game. 

His passion and dedication to the sport were unparalleled, and his impact on modern poker is undeniable. We are all grateful for his contributions – both at the tables and off – that helped shape the game into what we know it as today.