Making the case for Doyle Brunson’s WSOP legacy

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jul 15, 2013 Posted in Op-Ed, WSOP News | No Comments »

Doyle-Brunson 77After his declared retirement (which he later went back on to play in the Poker players Championship and the Main Event) the question was: What would the WSOP do to honor Doyle Brunson?

Now, I like the sentiment of unveiling the Bronze bust of Doyle, but truthfully it falls way short of what he deserves. Too often we procrastinate on these types of honoraries and before we know it lifetime achievement awards and dedications turn into posthumous ceremonies, which would be an utter shame when we have the 80 year-old Doyle Brunson right in Las Vegas, frequenting poker rooms up and down the Strip, ready to be honored.

Earlier this year I wrote an article about potential honorees at the 2013 WSOP where I referenced an article I wrote back in 2009 where I called for some type of honorarium for Doyle:

With Doyle I am hoping for much more. Doyle deserves to be officially honored by the WSOP, not only this year but also for posterity. I made this argument a few years ago, and I still think it’s the only “proper” way to honor Doyle’s contributions to poker and the WSOP, and that is to rename the Player of the year award in honor of Doyle Brunson. Personally I’d like to see it go a step farther, and add Doyle’s name to the WSOP Main Event somehow, but I’m willing to settle for the World Series of Poker Doyle Brunson Player of the Year Award.

We already have the Chip Reese trophy which goes to the winner of the $50k Poker Players Championship, so why not create a trophy for the Main Event? Pretty much every sports award and trophy is named in honor of some legend in the field and its time poker did the same.

The WSOP Main Event needs to be renamed The Doyle Brunson WSOP Main Event and I needed it done yesterday –although I’ll still settle for the World Series of Poker Doyle Brunson Player of the Year Award. Every sport’s award handed out is named in honor of some legend of the game (the All-Stars game MVP in Basketball is called the Bill Russell Award and every hockey award is named after someone), and in poker there is no bigger legend than Doyle. He’s the last of the road gamblers, and bridges the gap between that era of poker, the lean years of the 1970’s through the 1990’s, and into the Internet era. He’s been an author, a player, and one of the faces of the game for decades.

The biggest question I have is how the Poker Players Championship was renamed the Chip Reese Memorial Trophy so easily and with such alacrity, yet we get nothing for Doyle? Why can’t the Main Event undergo the same subtle change? There aren’t any “traditions” in poker that are unchangeable, considering the WSOP was moved from Binions to the Rio; bracelets are awarded in Europe and Australia; and the WSOP schedule is changed yearly. Are there people out there that would protest the WSOP Main Event winner receiving the Doyle Brunson Trophy? Really, what’s the big deal?



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