Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson has quite the back story. I’m a fan of it because it’s really what you’d expect from an old school, bad ass, Texan poker player. So here are some details about his life.

Early Life

Doyle was born on August 10th, 1933. He lived in Longworth, a small town in Texas.

Growing up he was an athlete. He ran a lot as a kid, so he naturally progressed in track. But his interest lied more in basketball, and that’s where he applied his focus. He even made the All-State Texas basketball team.

In fact, if it wasn’t for an injury sustained during a summer job we might not know Doyle at all today, let alone for his poker accomplishments. That’s because the Minneapolis Lakers were interested in recruiting Brunson. But he broke his leg in two places while unloading sheetrock, which kept him in a cast for two years, and on a crutch off and on for the remainder of his life.

With basketball out of the picture, Brunson decided to focus on education. He got his bachelor’s degree in 1954 and his Master’s in administrative education the following year.

Around this time he started to participate in (illegal) poker games around the state. He realized that he wouldn’t make much money as a teacher, and after making more money in a game than a month’s salary at his current job, he decided to focus on poker full time.

However, at that time poker games were often ran by criminal organizations. So poker players risked not being paid their winnings. That was in addition to the risk of being robbed, which was commonplace back then.

In fact, Doyle shared a story once where a game was raided. The thugs forced everyone to stand up against the wall, with their pants around their ankles. One of the thugs came up to Doyle and asked him who was running the game. Doyle wouldn’t say, claiming that he wasn’t a snitch. The robber beat him, asked him again, and again, Doyle wouldn’t say. However, a few minutes later he quickly changed his mind when the thug held up a gun and threatened his life. Situations like this was standard back then.

Later on Brunson made his way to Las Vegas with Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. It’s where he’s lived since.

Earnings, Tournament Scores and Bracelets

Doyle has been playing poker for the better part of 50+ years. So he’s got a laundry list of accomplishments. Instead of listing all of his accomplishments, which would take a while, we decided to list his bracelet wins instead.

  • 1976 WSOP 2-7 Draw – 1st - $80,250
  • 1976 WSOP Main Event – 1st - $230,000
  • 1977 WSOP 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo – 1st - $62,500
  • 1977 WSOP Main Event – 1st - $340,000
  • 1978 WSOP 7-Card Stud – 1st - $68,000
  • 1979 WSOP Mixed Doubles – 1st - $4,500
  • 1991 WSOP NLHE – 1st - $208,000
  • 1998 WSOP Razz – 1st - $93,000
  • 2003 WSOP H.O.R.S.E – 1st - $84,080
  • 2005 WSOP NLHE 6-Max – 1st - $367,800

There are a couple of interesting things to note here.

First, back in the early days many of the tournaments were winner takes all. So even if you took 2nd place, you didn’t actually win anything. So your results were never recorded. What that means is that Doyle (probably) has more results that no one knows about.

Secondly, the fields were smaller back then, too. I don’t think we’ll ever see a Main Event winner take home less than a few million bucks, let alone anyone on the final table leaving with less than 1 million. The days of 6-figure main event scores are over.

Doyle’s tournament winnings exceed $6 million, with $3 million coming from his 35 WSOP cashes.

In 2006 he was voted The #1 Most Influential Force in the World of Poker, by BLUFF Magazine. He was indicted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988, but has continued to play poker for the last 25 years.

The Doyle Brunson Poker Site

For a short period Doyle Brunson used his name and brand for an online poker site. It was called Doyle’s Room and it launched in 2004.

The site made several changes between it’s start and end in 2011. They first started on the Tribeca Poker Network, which is now the iPoker network. But they moved to the Prima (Microgaming) Network in 2007, then Cake in 2009 and the Yatahay in 2011.

The games and tournaments offered depended on the software used. But one of the common draws to any of them was being able to play in tournaments with the pros, such as his son Todd Brunson, Mike Caro, Cyndy Violette and Hoyt Corkins.

In May 2011, immediately following Black Friday, the room was seized under the premise that they were violating online gambling laws. Doyle Brunson decided enough was enough, and cut ties with the room. Doyle’s Room was later acquired by Americas Cardroom in October 2011.

What’s Doyle Brunson Up to Today?

Doyle Brunson continues to play poker. He has stated on more than one occasion that having to think keeps him young.

However, the combination of being older and the long hours at the WSOP has taken it’s toll. In the beginning of the 2013 World Series of Poker, he mentioned not participating due to the hours required. Instead he’d focus on cash games and side events. He ended up playing anyway, as the event was already paid for by the casino. He finished in 409th, marking the first time he’s managed to cash in the WSOP since 2009. The remaining players gave him a standing ovation as he left the room.

In addition to tournaments Doyle continues to play in the biggest poker games in the world, including the $4/$8k limit mixed game at Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio. He’s also been a participant in Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker.

Outside of poker, Doyle maintains his own Twitter and Facebook pages, although the two of them are linked together sharing the same information. He also blogs at his personal site,

6 Facts About Doyle Brunson

Here are 5 interesting facts about Doyle Brunson.

1. Brunson was the first player to win $1 million from poker tournaments.

2. His nickname, Texas Dolly, came from a mistake made by Jimmy Snyder. He meant to announce Brunson as Texas Doyle, but pronounced it incorrectly. The name stuck.

3. Doyle’s cash in the 2013 Main Event marks the 10th decade he’s managed to cash in the event. It’s his first cash since 2009.

4. Doyle won back-to-back Main Event titles in 1976 and 1977, both with 10-2. The hand is now known as The Brunson, and Brunson as Ten-Deuce.

5. Brunson won his 10th bracelet with 10-3. He first thought it was 10-2, which is what he won his Main Event titles with.

6. Doyle has written several books. His most popular book(s) are his Super System I and II, considered by many to be the “bible” of poker books.