Doyle Brunson was born on August 10th, 1933 in Fisher County, Longworth, Texas. A legend in the industry, he has been a professional poker player for over 50 years. Poker historians credit Brunson with bringing a new level of respectability to the game of poker. Because of that, he is one of the greatest poker players to have ever lived. He is in fact referred to as a poker icon.
Brunson is nicknamed ‘Texas Dolly’ with many stating that not only does he exude charisma, he is also a true gentleman.
Brunson started off his early career as a basketball player. He was drafted by the Minneapolis (Los Angeles) Lakers in the NBA whilst still in college. However, a knee injury put a sudden halt to his basketball career. As a result, he turned his competitive interests to poker. His injury could probably be seen as a good thing as without it he might never have gotten into poker.
Doyle Brunson is the first back-to-back world champion of poker having won the World Series of Poker in 1976 and 1977. Only four people have won the event more than once and only two, Brunson and Stu Ungar (1980 and 1981) have won it in consecutive years. Ungar went on to win it again in 1997.
What makes Brunson’s consecutive wins even more incredible is the fact that he won with the same hand both times. The hand – ‘10-2’ – is now known as a ‘Doyle Brunson’. Even Doyle himself still has a fondness for playing the hand as much as possible. Can’t blame him really!
Brunson also became an inspiration to many when he became the first poker player to win more than $1 million from playing poker tournaments. Since then his total live tournament winnings have exceeded $6,100,000. His WSOP cash outs alone are worth over $3,000,000.
This is an incredible achievement when you put into context. When Brunson started out there wouldn’t even have been such a thing as a poker tournament. Games would have been played behind closed doors and gambling would have been considered a fairly taboo. even those events that had credibility didn’t have the purses that we see today.
When Brunson won the WSOP title in 1976 the prize was $80,250. That is still a huge amount of money but really only equates to about $360K in today’s money. To put that into perspective, Hossein Ensan beat out 8,568 other competitors to win the $10 million first-place prize in the 2019 World Series of Poker’s main event.
It is amazing to think that Doyle has gone from playing behind closed to doors to a superstar of poker. He has even written a book on the game, ‘Super System’ which is often referred to as the definitive work of poker literature.
His achievements in the game now span five decades. As well as winning the WSOP amin event twice he holds 10 WSOP bracelets from seven different categories. They are No Limit Hold ‘em, Seven-Card Stud Split, Seven Card Stud, Mixed Doubles, Deuce to Seven Draw, Seven Card Stud, and H.O.R.S.E. He is one of only two people to hold so many bracelets.
He has also placed first among the largest ever WPT field in the 2004 Legends of Poker WPT event, at the age of 71. It’s good to know that Brunson is passing on his amazing talent. He has a son and daughter who compete in the professional poker circuit.
His son, Todd, has already won a WSOP championship bracelet in Omaha Hi-Lo in 2005. That makes Doyle and Todd the first father-son combination to win World Series bracelets.