Doyle Brunson

Any list of the greatest poker players in the world is incomplete without Doyle Brunson. Only two other players, Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth, have been able to equal his record of winning 10 World Series of Poker bracelets. He also has a World Poker Tour title to his credit. Even today, at the age of 77, Doyle continues to be a regular in the professional poker circuits.brunson

End of an Athletic Career and Entry into the World of Professional Poker

Brunson was born in Longworth, Texas in 1933. He was one of three siblings. His early years were spent working in farms in the small town with a population of 100. He was a talented athlete and excelled in both running and basketball. He won the state level mile run event and earned a place on the Texas basketball team.

Brunson received athletic scholarship offers from a number of colleges, but chose University of Hardin-Simmons located in Abilene as it was the nearest to his hometown. He was all set to play professional basketball, but an injury to his knee put an end to this dream.

Doyle financed his education with poker earnings and managed to get a Master of Business Administration degree. Soon after completing college, Brunson took up a day job as an office equipment salesman. But his salary was so insignificant in comparison with his earnings from poker that he gave up the job in favor of professional poker.

As playing poker was illegal, becoming a professional poker player meant having to face cheaters, robbers and the police. Doyle has had to look down a gun barrel and see a fellow player get shot in those early days. It was many years later that Brunson moved to Las Vegas, where poker was legal.

Family Life

In 1960, while still in Texas, Brunson met his future wife Louise. It took him many years to convince her to tie the knot with a professional poker player. Soon after their marriage, Brunson developed a tumor, which was diagnosed as cancerous. Due to its rapid spread to the brain, it was declared as incurable. Always a gambler, Brunson opted for an experimental procedure. After the operation, no trace of cancer could be found. The doctors termed his recovery as miraculous. After Doyle, Louise was diagnosed with a tumor, which also disappeared after a surgery.

Doyle and Louise have 4 children. At the 2005 WSOP Todd, Doyle’s son, won a bracelet in Omaha Hi-Lo. This was the first father-son pair to win the WSOP bracelets. Doyle’s daughter Pamela took part in the 2007 and the 2009 WSOP main events and outlasted her father as well as brother on both occasions.

Poker Career and WSOP bracelets

Doyle came across Johnny Moss, his mentor as well as Sailor Roberts and Slim Preston, his future partners, while playing professional poker. The trio soon became popular for being almost invincible. They parted ways only after losing a huge sum in Las Vegas.

Doyle won 10 WSOP bracelets in years 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1991, 1998, 2003 and 2005. He has made a number of records in his long career. He was the 1st player to cross the $1 million mark in poker tournament winnings. He is one of the only 3 players to win 10 WSOP bracelets. He is also one of the only 4 players to win the WSOP main event consecutively for 2 years. The most amazing thing about these wins is that on both the occasions Doyle won with the exactly same 10-2 hand. The hand is now famous as a Doyle Brunson. His live tournament earnings were over $5,900,000 as of 2010.

Other Interesting Facts About Doyle Brunson

Brunson has authored many books including ‘Super/System’. Today this book is considered one of the most comprehensive and respected books on poker. He has also authored Super/System 2, My Fifty Most Memorable Hands and Poker Wisdom of a Champion. He has also appeared in a number of Poker shows including the late night show Poker After dark. He is famous for coming up with some of the most memorable poker quotes.

A World Poker Tour event has been named after Doyle Brunson, solidifying his place in poker history. At the Bellagio casino, the main event for the Five Diamond World Poker Classic is the Doyle Brunson North American Championship. He is also the owner of the online gaming site DoylesRoom.com. He continues to take part in some of the biggest poker games in the world.

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