Doyle Brunson is a ten time WSOP champion and a Las Vegas Poker Legend. In 2006, Bluff Magazine voted Brunson the most influential force in the world of poker. Brunson's unique strategies and breath-taking moves are sure to leave you on the edge of your seat if you ever get the chance to see him play in person.
Brunson, properly nicknamed, "Poker's Living Legend," still devotes a huge part of his life to poker at his ripe age of 82. His accomplishments in poker haven't only left a lasting impact on the poker world, but on his children as well which is probably why he was one of the first inductees into the Poker Hall of Fame.
Doyle F. Brunson was born in August of 1933 in the small town of Longworth, Texas. He was born into a large family with many brother and sisters. His family was far from wealthy, but they were always well fed and cared for.
In high school, Brunson was a well-rounded athlete who excelled in basketball and track and field. His fastest recorded time for the one-mile was 4:43 which he ran at age 17. He also earned a spot on Texas' All-Star basketball team.
Brunson was offered scholarships from multiple universities across the United States, but he chose to attend and play basketball for Hardin-Simmons University in Texas so that he could stay close to home.
He was actually being scouting by the Minneapolis Lakers when a horrible knee injury crushed his hopes of ever becoming a professional player. During a summer job at a local gypsum plant, Brunson's knee shattered as the sheetrock he tried to save from falling crushed his knee.
Following his injury, Brunson dedicated himself to his studies earning a Bachelor's Degree in Education in 1954 and a Master's Degree in Administrative Education the following year. After not immediately getting a job in the education field, he took a job working for a business machine company.
Brunson's poker career started on the streets of Texas and its surrounding areas where he would play illegal games with his friend, Dwayne Hamilton on the weekends. These games were typically run by organized crime groups and were therefore not regulated.
Brunson claims he has had several guns pulled on him, and his life threatened multiple times, because he was so good that others thought he was cheating. Despite this fact, Brunson still made a significant amount of money playing poker, and left his job to become a professional.
After years on the street, Brunson finally headed to Las Vegas where he would spend the rest of his poker career. The World Series of Poker was established in 1970, and Brunson has been a regular attendee of the tournament ever since.
Brunson is one of the only players to win four consecutive WSOP tournaments from 1976 to 1979, and during the first two years of this span, he won multiple WSOP bracelets. He has since won an astonishing total of ten WSOP bracelets over the course of his career.
In 1978, Brunson published his first book, Super/System, a poker strategy book read by many aspiring poker players still to this day. In this book, Brunson provides valuable tips and advice for players of all different levels.
As of the beginning of 2015, Brunson's total tournament wins exceed six million dollars. The, "Doyle Brunson," a Texas Hold'em hand named in honor of Doyle's book where he warns players to fold when they see this hand: an ace and a queen of any suit.
Doyle's signature hand, known as the Texas Dolly, consists of a ten and a two of any suit. He used this hand during the No Limit Hold'em WSOP event to complete a full house for the win two consecutive years in a row.
|1976||$5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw||$80,250|
|1976||$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship||$230,000|
|1977||$1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split||$62,500|
|1977||$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship||$340,000|
|1978||$5,000 Seven-Card Stud||$68,000|
|1979||$600 Mixed Doubles (with Starla Brodie)||$4,500|
|1991||$2,500 No Limit Hold'em||$208,000|
|1998||$1,500 Seven-Card Razz||$93,000|
|2005||$5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold'em||$367,800|
Doyle Brunson married Louise in August 1962, and she faithfully supported him through his poker endeavors. They had three children together: a son Todd, and two daughters, Pamela and Doyla.
Their daughter, Doyla, died at the age of eighteen after being given too much potassium to treat a previous heart-valve condition she had, leaving the family devastated. Both of Brunson's other children are both healthy, and they enjoy playing poker along-side their father.
He has taught them every strategy he knows, and it certainly has paid off. In 2005, Todd won a WSOP bracelet in Omaha Hi-Lo the same year that Doyle won the No-Limit Texas Hold'em WSOP bracelet, making them the first father-son winning duo. His daughter, Pamela more recently has played in the 2007 and 2009 WSOP main events, placing higher than both Todd and her father.
Brunson was close friends with Chip Reese until his death in 2007. They went on many adventures together which include expeditions to find Noah's Ark, the Titanic, and the jewels of Africa. None of their efforts paid off, but they deeply enjoyed each other's company.
More recently, Brunson decided to convert to Christianity. Some people believe his conversion sprouts back to when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in the late 1960s and was said to be cured of it through the prayers of his family and the support of a faith healer.
Author: Nicole Miller
Updated: November 2016
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