Iconic Poker Player Doyle Brunson Passes Away at Age 89

Posted by Gerry Poltorak on May 16, 2023 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

Las Vegas, NV – Poker enthusiasts around the world are mourning the loss of Doyle Brunson, a legendary figure in the realm of poker, who passed away on May 14 at the age of 89. Brunson, widely known as “Texas Dolly,” left an indelible mark on the game, amassing a career that spanned an impressive 70 years.

According to his agent, Brian Balsbaugh, Brunson’s cause of death has not been disclosed. The news of his passing has come as a shock to the poker community, as Brunson remained an active and influential figure until his final days.

Brunson’s contributions to the world of poker are unparalleled. Bluff magazine recognized him as the most influential player in history, a testament to his skill and impact on the game. He achieved remarkable success by securing 10 World Series of Poker titles, including back-to-back victories in the prestigious Main Event in 1976 and 1977. Brunson’s tournament earnings exceeded $1 million, making him the first player to reach such a milestone. However, it’s important to note that his public live winnings amounted to $6.2 million, which only represent a fraction of his overall earnings, as many of his high-stakes games took place in private settings.

Brunson’s passion for poker never waned. He continued to participate in private games with astronomical stakes, frequently risking and winning or losing millions of dollars within a single month. Despite his wife occasionally expressing frustration with his gambling habits, Brunson remained dedicated to the game he loved. In an interview with Texas Monthly, he stated, “But this is what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. And if I drop dead at the table in the middle of a monster pot, hell, I’ll die a happy man.”

Born on August 10, 1933, in Longworth, Texas, Doyle Frank Brunson grew up in a modest farming community. His father, who worked at a gin manufacturer, played poker in secret to support his children’s college education. Brunson’s athletic prowess shone through during his time at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, where he excelled in basketball and track. It was also during this period that Brunson began engaging in poker games with friends on Saturday nights, showcasing his early aptitude for the game.

Following his graduation in 1954, Brunson pursued a master’s degree in education at Hardin-Simmons. He initially embarked on a career in business equipment sales but soon realized the financial potential of poker after a successful game that earned him a month’s salary in just a few hours. Reflecting on the pivotal moment, Brunson wrote in his book, “Super System,” “It was a Seven-Stud game where I cleared a month’s salary in something less than three hours. ‘My God,’ I thought, ‘what am I doing trying to sell machines nobody wants to buy from me when I can sit down at a poker table and make ten times the money in one-sixth the time?'” With that realization, Brunson bid farewell to his job and embarked on a lifelong poker journey.

In 1962, Brunson married Louise Carter, a pharmacist, in a unique ceremony held at a funeral home where his brother-in-law worked. Together, they had two children, Todd and Pamela Brunson. Brunson also gained a stepdaughter, Cheryl Carter, through the marriage. He is survived by his wife, children, stepdaughter, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Brunson’s impact on the game of poker extended beyond his achievements as a player. He possessed an uncanny ability to read his opponents, decipher their intentions, and employ strategic bluffs. His expertise in recognizing subtle cues and tells made him a formidable force at the poker table. In his acclaimed book, “Doyle Brunson’s Super System,” he shared valuable insights and strategies, earning him the reputation of a poker guru. The book became a revered resource among players, often referred to as the poker bible, and even made an appearance in the popular gambling film “Rounders” starring Matt Damon.

Brunson’s influence on the game reached its pinnacle with the advent of televised poker in the 1980s. As ESPN began broadcasting the World Series of Poker events, Brunson emerged as one of the game’s most recognizable faces. Often sporting his trademark tightly-fitted cowboy hat, he captivated audiences with his charisma and skill. Reports of his wealth circulated, suggesting that he had invested millions in ventures such as expeditions to locate the Titanic and Noah’s Ark.

Beyond his poker prowess, Brunson will be remembered for his tenacity and fearlessness in the face of danger. During the early 1950s, he honed his skills in the treacherous backrooms of bars and adult establishments along Exchange Avenue in Fort Worth. The atmosphere was rife with criminals and peril, prompting Brunson to always carry a pistol for protection. Though he cryptically responded with a “No comment” when asked if he ever used it, Brunson’s readiness for any situation was evident. On one occasion, a game he was involved in was abruptly halted by a gunshot fired at a player’s head. In a swift and instinctive move, Brunson secured his chips and sought refuge in a nearby creek.

Another harrowing incident occurred in Austin when armed bandits raided a game, demanding cash and ordering the players to drop their pants. In a moment of quick thinking, Brunson and the other players started tossing $100 bills onto the floor, diverting the robbers’ attention. Throughout these dangerous encounters, Brunson maintained a philosophical perspective on money, emphasizing the need for detachment. He often said, “You have to have absolutely no regard for money. You have to look at it as action and the money as units. What you’re trying to do is win as many units as possible.”

In the early 1960s, Brunson relocated to Las Vegas, the thriving hub of poker, and played a pivotal role in the establishment of the World Series of Poker in 1970. The tournament grew in popularity, attracting the attention of television networks and igniting a global poker frenzy. Brunson’s captivating presence on screen further propelled the game into the mainstream, captivating viewers with his strategic brilliance and magnetic personality.

Doyle Brunson’s contributions to the world of poker extended far beyond his playing career. He leaves behind a legacy that has forever shaped the game’s history. His keen understanding of the intricacies of poker, his unmatched achievements, and his role as an influential author have cemented his status as one of the greatest poker legends of all time.

As the news of Brunson’s passing reverberates throughout the poker community, players and fans alike reflect on the remarkable journey of a man who transformed a simple card game into an art form. Though he may no longer grace the green felt tables, his legacy lives on, inspiring future generations of poker players to push the boundaries of skill, strategy, and determination. Doyle Brunson will forever be remembered as a true icon of the game, leaving an indelible mark on the world of poker.

Comments are closed.

High Stakes News

Promotional News

Introducing the New and Improved Bad Beat Jackpot 2.0
Prepare for an exhilarating upgrade to our renowned Bad Beat Jackpot, …
Read more

Promo Code TTOPS100 BetOnline.ag Offers 100% Poker Bonus Match and FreeRoll Tournament
BetOnline.ag, a popular online gaming site, has unveiled a new promoti …
Read more

10 reasons to play Poker at BetOnline in 2019
2019 seems to be the year poker players search for a new poker site to …
Read more

UK And EU Poker Players Should Check Out The New One Time Poker Website
Most poker players in the European Union and United Kingdom may not be …
Read more