Doyle Brunson, “The Godfather of Poker” and Poker legend is now 78, he was born on the 10th August, 1933 and has been playing poker professionally for over 50 years. He is a two-time World Series of Poker Main Event champion, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, and the author of several books on poker.
Doyle Brunson was born in Longworth, Fisher County, Texas, and a town with a population of about 100, and was one of three children. A promising athlete, Doyle was part of the All-State Texas basketball team, and practiced the one-mile run to keep him-self in shape in the off-season.
A knee injury ended his basketball playing days, when he broke his leg in two places and was in a cast for two years, his leg never healed properly and he still uses a crutch today. With this twist of fate Brunson changed his focus from athletics to education; Doyle attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in 1954 and a master’s degree in administrative education the following year.
Brunson had started playing poker before his injury, he would play five-card draw and found it “easy.” He played more often after being injured and his winnings paid for his living expenses.
After graduating, he took a job as a business machine salesman, on his first day at his new job, he was invited to play in a seven-card stud game and earned over a month’s salary in less than three hours! He soon left his job to become became a professional poker player.
Brunson married his wife Louise in August 1962. Louise fell pregnant but then that same year life took a turn for the worse in when he was diagnosed with cancer and given a mere three months left to live. Doyle Brunson beat the odds and recovered with no trace of cancer to be found.
10 Time WSOP Champion – Brunson was the first player to earn $1 million in poker tournaments and has won ten World Series of Poker bracelets throughout his career; he tied with Johnny Chan for second all-time, three behind Phil Hellmuth’s thirteen. He is also one of only four players to have won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker multiple times, which he did in 1976 and 1977. Doyle Brunson is one of only two players, along with Bill Boyd, to have won bracelets at the WSOP in four consecutive years. In addition to this, he is the first of five players to win both the WSOP Main Event and a World Poker Tour title. In 2006, Bluff Magazine voted Doyle the most influential force in the world of poker.
He was the star of the infamous band of traveling poker sharks, the Texas Rounders. Brunson began by playing in illegal games on Exchange Street, Fort Worth, Texas with a friend named Dwayne Hamilton. Eventually, they began traveling around Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, playing in bigger poker games, and meeting fellow professionals Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. The illegal games Doyle Brunson played in during this time were usually run by criminals who were often members of organized crime, so rules were not always enforced. Brunson has admitted to having a gun pulled on him several times and that he was also robbed and beaten up.
Brunson finally settled in Las Vegas. He has been a regular player at the World Series of Poker, since its creation in 1970. He has played in the Main Event nearly every year since then.
Brunson authored the book “Super System”, which is considered to be one of the most authoritative books on poker.
Originally self-published in 1978, Super System was the book that transformed poker by giving ordinary players insight into the way that professionals such as Brunson played and won, so much so that Brunson believes that it has cost him a lot of money. An updated revision, Super System 2, was published in 2004. Brunson is also the author of “Poker Wisdom of a Champion”, originally published according to Doyle by Lyle Stuart in 1984.
Brunson continues to play in the biggest poker games in the world, including a $4000/$8000 limit mixed poker game in “Bobby’s Room” at the Bellagio. He also still plays in many of the biggest poker tournaments around the world. He won his ninth gold bracelet in a mixed games event in 2003, and in 2004, he finished 53rd (in a field of 2,576) in the No Limit Texas hold ’em Championship event. He won the Legends of Poker World Poker Tour event in 2004 (garnering him a $1.1 million prize) and finished fourth in the WPT’s first championship event. Early in the morning on July 1, 2005, less than a week after Chan had won his 10th gold bracelet, setting a new record; Brunson tied the record at the 2005 WSOP. He is currently three bracelets behind Phil Hellmuth, who earned his 13th bracelet at the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe.
Doyle Brunson’s nickname, “Texas Dolly,”came from a mistake made by Jimmy Snyder. Snyder was supposed to announce Doyle Brunson as “Texas Doyle,” but incorrectly pronounced “Doyle” and said “Texas Dolly” … this slip of the tongue stuck and now many of Doyle’s poker colleagues simply call him “Dolly”.
As of 2011, his total live tournament winnings exceed $6,000,000. He has totalled $2,945,053 in earnings from his 34 cashes at the WSOP.
Doyle recently told the History Channel, “to be a successful gambler you have to have a complete disregard for money, that and a keen eye for what´s happening in the eyes of the other guy.”
Brunson is the King of poker. He virtually created the phenomenon that is Texas Hold´em and has become the most popular poker game played today. He paved the way for a sport that was once considered only to be played by gangsters and criminals. Poker today has become a professional sport is now played by many prominent leaders and business men all over the world. In the World of professional poker, Doyle “Texas Dolly” Brunson is the “Godfather of Poker” and it’s King.