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
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
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
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.
Poker Tournament Accomplishments
$5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw
$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship
$1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split
$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship
$5,000 Seven-Card Stud
$600 Mixed Doubles (with Starla Brodie)
$2,500 No Limit Hold’em
$1,500 Seven-Card Razz
$5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold’em
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
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.
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