Doyle Brunson


Doyle Brunson is a professional poker player who has played professionally for over 50 years, member of the Poker Hall of Fame, and author of "Super/System", one of the most influential gambling books of all-time.

Early Life

Brunson was born in 1933 in Longworth, Texas, a tiny farming village in West Texas with a population of approximately 100 people, most of who worked as farmers. During his teens he became a promising athlete in both basketball and running. He was part of the All-State Texas basketball team, and won the one-mile event at the 1950 Texas Interscholastic Track Meet. Despite receiving offers from many colleges, he chose to attend Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist college, in Abilene, Texas on both track and basketball scholarships. He chose the college because it was close to his home and many of his closest friends went there.

Brunson was selected as one of the top basketball players in the country and was going to be drafted by the the Minneapolis Lakers. While working at a summer job, he was unloading some sheetrock that landed on his leg, breaking it in two places. He was in a cast for two years, and the injury ended his hopes of becoming a professional basketball player. He still occasionally needs a crutch to get around because of the injury. After his sports injury he decided to concentrate more on his education, obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1954 and a master's degree in administrative education the next year.

Brunson had played poker before his injury, but played more often after the injury, including games in college. After graduating, his goal was to eventually become a principal county school, but the only job that he was offered was as a high school basketball coach. He was already making more money than that at the college poker games, so he took a job as a business machine salesman. But after he earned more than a month's salary during one session of playing poker, he left the company to play poker professionally.

Poker Career - Underground Games

Brunson started off by playing in illegal games in Texas with a partner, Dwayne Hamilton. These illegal games were usually run by criminals, and sometimes organized crime. The rules were not always enforced and the games were dangerous. Brunson had a gun pulled on him several times and was robbed and beaten. Brunson mentions in his book that he has seen three people die at the poker table. One man, sitting right next to Brunson, was shot in the head at point blank range in a dispute. Two others died of heart attacks: one from a possible mixture of drugs and alcohol, and the other may have died from the shock of losing a massive pot.

Eventually, Brunson and Hamilton began traveling around Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, playing in bigger games. They met fellow professionals Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. Brunson became partners with those two to travel around together and play poker, while Hamilton left to go back to Texas. The three men were known as the "Texas Rounders". Brunson and Amarillo Slim spent long nights in their hotels replaying hands hundreds of times, trying to find the optimal moves and strategies for every situation. The three men pooled their money together into one big bankroll. After six years, they made their first serious trip to Las Vegas to the Dunes Casino. They played in a competitive game against talented players such as Puggy Pearson and casino boss Syd Wyman. They lost all of their money - about $160,000. They were underfunded and had a bad streak of luck, but were not cheated. The three men decided to stop playing as partners but remained friends. Brunson moved his family to Las Vegas where poker was profitable, and legal.

Poker Career - Legal Games

Bruson has been a regular player at the WSOP since its creation in 1970, playing in the Main Event nearly every year since then. He has won 10 total WSOP bracelets, tied with Johnny Chan for second all-time. Phil Hellmuth is the only player who has won more than ten. He won his first two bracelets in 1976, one of which was the $10,000 Main Event. The following year, Brunson won the Main Event again, becoming the first player to win them in back-to-back years. His first 6 bracelets were in his first 6 cashes, and his next 2 cashes were 2nd place finishes. He made some Main Event final tables before his back-to-back wins, but since the event was winner-take-all at the time, these are not counted as cashes. His other main event cashes are: 1980 (2nd place, runner-up to three-time champion Stu Ungar, 1982 (4th), 1983 (3rd), 1997 (16th), and 2004 (53rd). Here are some other career highlights:

  • Brunson is the first player to earn $1 million in poker tournaments.
  • He is also one of only four players to have won the Main Event at the WSOP multiple times.
  • He is also one of only two players, along with Bill Boyd, to have won bracelets at the WSOP in four consecutive years.
  • He is the first of five players to win both the WSOP Main Event and a WPT title.
  • He won his 10th bracelet a week ago at the age of 72, proving that he can compete even at his age.
  • He was enshrined as a member of the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988, at the age of 54.
  • The hand, 10-2 off-suit, is referred to as a "Brunson" because he won the WSOP Main Event two years in a row with the hand (1976 and 1977), in both cases completing a full house. Both times he was an underdog in the hand.

As of 2009, his total live tournament winnings exceeded $5,800,000.

WSOP Bracelets

Year Event Prize
1976 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $230,000
1976 $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw $80,250
1977 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $340,000
1977 $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split $62,500
1978 $5,000 Seven-Card Stud $68,000
1979 $600 Mixed Doubles (with Starla Brodie) $4,500
1991 $2,500 No Limit Hold'em $208,000
1998 $1,500 Seven-Card Razz $93,000
2003 $2,000 H.O.R.S.E. $84,080
2005 $5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold'em (6 players per table) $367,800

Brunson still plays in the World Series but he makes his real money in ultra-high stakes cash games, including a $4,000/$8,000 limit mixed poker game in "Bobby's Room" at the Bellagio. One of the things that qualifies him as one of the greatest poker players in history is how he has successful been in both cash games and tournaments, which require different skill sets.

"Super/System"

In 1978, Brunson wrote "Super System", referred to by some as the Bible of poker. Besides Brunson, several top poker players contributed chapters to Super/System including Bobby Baldwin, Mike Caro, David Sklansky, Chip Reese and Joey Hawthorne. "Super System" was a groundbreaking book that helped further the understanding of poker and allowed everyday players to learn the strategies that professional poker players employed (although some people believe that the book is somewhat outdated and that Sklansky has rewritten the Bible for poker). Brunson has said that so many of the book's readers adopted his techniques that he actually had to change his game because so many people knew his tricks. Brunson has stated that he believes that the book cost him a lot of money.

Before the book's publication, there were a few publishing companies that were asking Brunson to write a book and let them publish it, but he was worried that he would never get paid the royalties he would be due, so he went out and spent tons of money just to get the book published by purchasing almost an entire publishing company, renting a building, and hiring a staff. When they started selling the book at $100 by running ads in newspapers they found out the market was pretty limited. Although he planned on publishing more books, he wasn't making enough money to keep the business going, so he closed it down. He broke even on the book only after its 8th or 9th edition. It is the bestselling poker book of all time.

A highly-anticipated follow-up to the book, "Super System II", was published in 2005 to lukewarm reviews. Brunson is also the author of Poker Wisdom of a Champion, originally published as According to Doyle by Lyle Stuart in 1984.

Business Ventures

In July 2005, Brunson made an unsolicited offer to buy WPT Enterprises, Inc., the publicly traded owner of the World Poker Tour, at a high premium over its market value. His widely-publicized offer triggered a sharp rise in WPT's stock price on record trading volume. In December 2005, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) formally investigated whether Brunson's offer, and its publication, violated federal securities laws, including the anti-fraud provisions of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. As part of its investigation, the SEC subpoenaed documents and testimony from Brunson's lawyers. Brunson invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to testify in the investigation. The WPT stock price declined sharply, costing investors tens of millions of dollars in lost market value. The offer eventually expired.

Brunson also endorsed the online poker room "Doyle's Room", a medium traffic site that was shut down with a lot of other poker sites on Black Friday in 2011.

Personal Life

In the 1980s, Brunson became known for the huge amounts of money that he wagered on the golf course, up to $400,000. "The guys out on the pro golf tour don't compete for the amount of money we bet on a single round", Brunson once said. People have joked that Brunson made more money at golf than any other person before Tiger Woods came along, and that he once bet one million dollars on a single hole. He also bets large sums of money on sports, and was rumored to have been the largest sports bettor in the world at one point.

In the early 1960s, Brunson married his sweetheart, Louise. Together, they had four children. Doyle's son, Todd Bruson, also plays poker professionally. Todd has won a bracelet at the 2005 WSOP, making the Brunson's the first father-son combination to win WSOP bracelets. His daughter Pamela played in the 2007 and 2009 WSOP main events, outlasting both Doyle and Todd both times.

Brunson's nickname, "Texas Dolly," was a result of a mistake by Jimmy Snyder. Snyder was supposed to announce Brunson as "Texas Doyle," but incorrectly pronounced the first name as Dolly. The nickname stuck and many of Brunson's professional friends now refer to Brunson as "Dolly."

Even though most of his dangerous days were in his past, he was robbed during the World Series of Poker. He went home after a tournament and drove into his driveway; two guys wearing ski masks and carrying guns dragged him inside. The robbers left after he was able to call his security company but he never felt comfortable at the house afterward, so they moved to a new home with better security.

COMMENTS:

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I agree with ?????. Hellmuth is THE GREATEST TOURNAMENT HOLD EM PLAYER EVER!!!!!!!!!! PERIOD!

And pay no mind to that idiot, "unregistered" who obviously has no clue on how to play "big stack poker" since he's never had the big stack in any tournament he's ever played at, obviously.

I've played in house games with bigger tournamnets than 22 and 34 people. Still, Brunson is a legend and was probably the best player of his era (which was the dark age) LOL!

bad_dog76 on November 30, 2007

For your information, Raymer and Gold were never all-in, when
all their chips were at risk!...That's how you play the monster stacks, and you will get beat some hands, and ypu'll draw out with the worst hand...but if you have (ie) 800,00, and your opponents have 100,000, you're not risking your chips, until you lose 3/4 of these types of "all-in"...Once Raymer and Gold got the big stack, they kept looking for these types of opportunities...AND THEY MADE IT WORK FOR THEM!....You have the wrong idea about this game.

????? on November 15, 2006

It's apparant that you were educated in Public Schools!.......
I SAID HELLMUTH WAS THE MOST SUCESSFUL HOLD'EM TOURNAMENT
PLAYER, then you go on about other games.

????? on November 15, 2006

beener in reference to your "he's been gettin his ass kicked in big games lately" lemme remind you of something out of a multi-thousand person field out of the several times you get all your money in you have to escape a multiple of bad beats even gettin your money in a 4-1 favorite 4 times obviously your gonna lose 1. The horse game he made the final table. Doyle is the man lol

Unregistered on November 8, 2006

Wow. That was the most retarded thing I've ever read in my life. How is it that Phil Helmuth is the best tournement player ever. All his wins HAVE been in holdem'. Meaning, if he is in any other event he's not much of a threat. You seem to think that larger fields of players equal higher quality of player, but these fields are filled with the most ignorant players I've ever seen. The Main Event has become nothing more then a lottery. Name one champion in the past few years that wasn't at one point all-in and behind, only to draw out and double up. The fact is that when you are playing heads up you have to play a lot more hands, and Doyle Brunson is good enough to win with out making a hand, so there was no reason for him to fold just because "he didn't have it." Plus he flopped top pair both times then made two pair on the turn. If you're a person that will just give up top pair heads up, you should even be playing. Doyle is an aggressive player and would have played second pair if he thought it was right. This person makes it sound like Doyle called an all-in with just a gutshot on the turn. So if you think Doyle Brunson is overrated, then get a couple hundred thousand, play him heads up, and see what happens.

Unregistered on November 6, 2006

He beat fields of 22 & 34, sucking out on the turn and river
with the worst hands both times....screw all those phoney bracelets, with fields of under 150...His best win ever was
in 2005 at the ledgens w/ 667 entries...then 2005 WSOP 6 handed per table w/301 entries....WSOP braclets with 150+ entries are only(3)w/150+...Chan with(5)w/150+ Hellmuth with eight(8) w/150+
Hellmuth's average field 324 entries..Chan 224. Brunson 221

Hellmuth is the most sucessful tournament Hold'em player by
far, as well as the most sucessful bracelet winner in the WSOP period!....All of his braclets are NLH-LH-PLH, whereas
Brunson included in his short fields is a piece of garbage
mixed doubles title (total BS), and Chan beat Hellmuth is a
"Heads-up" piece of garbage tournament.

????? on November 4, 2006

no one can compare to this man 72 and still young. 10 bracelet winer and best poker player around!!!!!!

extremekaratekid on August 27, 2006

he is the best poker player, and no one can really argue with that !!

alextt on August 26, 2006

Poker Legend. Super System's great! Don't think anyone posting here will ever be able to criticize any play he ever makes with any authority - He's just too damn good!

igotnoluck on August 29, 2005

It is a known and well published fact that he and chip Reese are two of the biggest cheats ever known in poker and the poker room manager Doug Dalton cheated Andy Beal out of several million with hidden cameras in the big game at Bellagio. With Dalton being the master mind of it.

Jack Runner jrrunner on August 28, 2005

If you even busted him which i doubt it was luck.

Got Lucky on August 26, 2005

Poor Doyle, I Busted Him Up. Hes In The Bb Wtih Q 7. The Flop Comes Q-7-4, He Bets 3500 (we Just Started With 10k In Chips), I Call, Next Card Is A Jack, He Bets 2000, Next Card Is A 2, He Bets 2 Or 3k More......i Was Holding 4-4. People Watching Were Pretty Much Boing Me Cuz I Beat The Master With Dumb Luck. Ever Since Then, My Lucky Hand Now, 4-4, Has Won, No Joke, 24-29 Times That Ive Played It. Guess Its Due To Lose

I BUSTED HIM UP on August 23, 2005

boob, read super/system and super/system 2

JetsFan315 on August 21, 2005

doyle i suck can u help

boobman113 on August 20, 2005

Brunson = hasn't even hit his prime

Unregistered on August 19, 2005

Doyle Is KING. He's done more for poker than anybody. Screw all those who critisize this LEDGEND.

PR. on August 14, 2005

you see Brunson play Watkinson like a little bitch

Unregistered on August 11, 2005

too bad i have no clue who THE FUCK U R. and by the way, lets look at the facts of who is the idiots, lets see here, thinking doyle brunson a 10 BRACELET WINNER sucks and that Gus Hanson sucks and that pretty much every pro is horrible, yet ur the one playing play money on ur mommys computer.

JetsFan315 on August 7, 2005

Mr BRunson your the man with clout could you start a petition or talk with the head honchos at harrahs to change the format of the main event to a mixed games format that way its not a new online nugget winning it every year thanks it will also help in reducing the field cuz most only play hold em like its the only game out there thanks mr brunson

Unregistered on August 4, 2005

when doyle goes all in with crappy hands and plays not very good ones it's because he is trying to pick up the smaller pots and the blinds, his moto is win all the big pots and take all the small ones uncontested, he's just sticking to his game plan ( and after all he's done it looks like a pretty good one to me) Read Super Systems 1 or 2 it explains all this

dolly on August 2, 2005

Quote:
Posted by: Huge Fan of Dolly on Jul 30, 2005 - Doyle, big fan. Wish I would've picked up your book years ago & moved out to Vegas. Keep going! Long live Doyle!
trust me u didnt want to buy it YEARS AGO it was like $100

JetsFan315 on July 31, 2005

Doyle, big fan. Wish I would've picked up your book years ago & moved out to Vegas. Keep going! Long live Doyle!

Huge Fan of Dolly on July 29, 2005

I Am A Poker God!!!!!!!!

doyle brunson on July 29, 2005

I just started playing Poker this year and have really gotten into it. I enjoy watching Doyle play and I respect him Highly, and wouldnt even mind playing against him one time. I respect him highly and love to see him smile,Although a few hands that he has gone all in didnt make sense to me Im sure he had a good reason. Keep Smiling Doyle and live long Love ya. Msrosie

Msrosie96 on July 29, 2005

ron ur not correct about anything

max on July 27, 2005

he is a legend but even poker players lose there edge

Unregistered on July 21, 2005

doyle has not lost his edge, he won his tenth bracelet this year.

JetsFan315 on July 21, 2005

Doyle Brunson sucks ass. I saw him at a WPT final table and he was making the most stupid plays like he just couldn't care less. He eventually went all-in with like 6-Q or some junk when he wasnt desperately short-stacked and got called by 2 others with better hands. He just doesnt give a toss.

Unregistered on July 20, 2005

lets see u play Doyle and see who sucks. have u ever read Super/System it helps allot. and u cant say a man with 10 WSOP bracelets sucks.

JetsFan315 on July 20, 2005

hi my name is JOE PASQUALE i been a fan of Mr Brunson to me he is texas holdem!! he is a leagend and he has so much class i really admire him he is just a inspiration is there anyway can Mr Brunson send me a autograph picture i would treasure it foreverGOD BLESSJOE PASQUALE347 MIDLAND AVEMIDLAND,PA.15059

therod15230 on July 20, 2005

doyle has more the got it. tenth braclet in this years wsop. you know this is good for espn and poker in general. goes to show he can still put up. besides does anyone remember doyle treating crew member fishman like his pesonal gimp?? that was poker school 101 and i love watching him kick the crap out of fischman. that was great poker

loveland on July 19, 2005

oh yeah by the way, anyone heard of event winner and 13 million dollar winner at the cash games TODD BRUNSON?? gee wonder how he got so good?? hmmm DOYLE IS THE MAN nuf said. and no dissrespect to Mr todd. he is the one sitting at the table winning like his dad. but it goes to show you there is a system of winning in poker.

loveland on July 19, 2005

just to tell every1, Joe Macham won the Main Event in 05(this year). he made the final table of No Limit Hold'Em with re-buys this year so he is most likely not a fluke. he won with 7-3 offsuit(i know, i know it is a horrible hand but he made the final table of another event so he obviously is still good) he got a straight, 3 to the 7.

JetsFan315 on July 16, 2005

doyle is a great poker player its suck hes out this year in the wsop maybe next year hes going to win i hope or make it down to the finaly table

Unregistered on July 11, 2005

Yes he is out but hey has 10 wsop bracelets tied with Johnny Chan. Chan got the 10th bracelet first.

The Quietman on July 11, 2005

I picked up a top pair magazine and in it was an ad for one of the brunson poker networks for the fish tank, it promised a 100.00 match bonus with a deposit of 100.00 and to see site for details. i went on the site and there were no details on this match offer so i opened a chat with a rep there she said she would send me the details on email and when i received them it only said that i had to use the code i already put in and just deposit the money. i did and they didnt. although it was in writing and they had a copy of this they said that i had to earn so many player points to get the match. I know some sites just give you money and some do make you play for it but they said although the rep made the error they could not give me my 100.00....this is badddddddbusiness for doyal to get caught up in. they need to stand by their word so i would not recommend the fish tank ever (they know who i am by my nickname and they can still do right and give me what they promised)

inajiffy on July 10, 2005

he is one of the best poker player there is and ever will be

Unregistered on July 10, 2005

cant believe theres more comments on moneymaker being good than anything about doyle....moneymaker sucks...

99. on July 10, 2005

Its actually a tribute to him if they beat him. It like "Hey the only reason I beat you is because I read Super System."

Sean Gecko. on July 9, 2005

I think Todd Brunson will eventually live up to his father's legendary title. After all, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

dave on July 9, 2005

Doyle Brunson is my favorive player to watch. He can still read the players, and still play the game better than any of the "NEW YOUNG GUNS" I LOVE IT WHEN HE TAKES THE POT!!!!!!!!!!! AND WHEN HE LOSES THE POT "HE WAS ROBBED BECAUSE HE HAD THE BEST HAND, AND PLAYED IT RIGHT!!!

Meodee on July 7, 2005

I'm looking for a good online poker spot. Not a fan of partypoker or pokerstars. Any other good ones? I'm looking for a site that offers cash games and tournaments and also has reliable payouts. All suggestions will be appreicated.

Need Some Help on July 6, 2005

hey Need Some Help i do use PokerStars and think its great but if ur not into that i suggest Full Tilt or UB i have both installed along with Stars.

JetsFan315 on July 6, 2005

Reply to James: The legend's career speaks for itself he's the greatest player of all time and his 50 year record of winning poker proves that.

Triumph Chop on July 5, 2005

astonishing player.gona be a shame wene he dies.

mercinary mike on July 5, 2005

he did something this year at the 2005 WSOP. He won his 10th Braclet

FergyFan315. on July 3, 2005

I can't believe there's a million comments on some nobody's page...but there's barely any on the Legend's page. Whats the deal?

James on July 3, 2005

Doyle certainly holds his own in the side games,and Chip Reese does even better.I'd say ive seen Ivey have more success at the side games than either of them two this year.Again like ive mentioned earlier im only saying what ive seen to be the case.Its hard to get much of a gage on how Doyle does he rarely plays long sessions at the bellagio these days.My main point was about Hellmuth though,you wont see him involved in any side action.

Warwick Cotterill on December 23, 2004

warwick cotterill...brunson and the other "old guard" players like chip reese have a crapload of success in NLH. Just not in the little WPT tourneys you watch on ESPN. Its a pity they dont play the big World Series side games and other cash games on TV because you dont see any of these young tourney players winning them (like Negreanu, Ivey etc) instead you see the veterans taking all the money in the side games/cash games.

Unregistered on December 22, 2004

Doyle is a great player.He is still a winner in the big cash games,but doesnt play as many tournements these days,because he doesnt have the stamina needed (understandable when you look at him) he did how ever win a wpt event this year,so dont write him off in tourneys yet!

warwick on November 29, 2004

yes all hail the two time main event champion with fields of 30 and 54???? thats a joke...he won events with like 30-50 entrants and hasnt made the final table since AND since when is going all in in the dark such great poker...and poker is skill cuz between doyle and fischman doyle had the extreme skill to win a coinflip

Unregistered on November 29, 2004

not so much the hand that doyle beat that punk fischman but its how doyle got in his head..doyle owned him.why is it that every pro says doyle is one of the best ever but you come in here , never doing anything in poker and dismiss him..its laughable...go put your 11 bucks up on an internet tourney,thats the level your on...dont knock guys like doyle until you are fit to be in the same room as them...

djnpa_30 on November 29, 2004

been getting his ass kicked lately in the big games

beener on February 26, 2004

how do you spell Brunson? GOD

mafiso314 on February 21, 2004

I bought his book and ever since I have been playing a lot better!!!!

Reed L. on February 14, 2004

all-time great. the new players do not have half the gamble as brunson and he has much more class than them.

rookie on February 12, 2004

I don't understand the first comment. Just writing that book and giving his knowledge makes him one of the all-time greats, besides winning all those tourneys.

Mario on February 11, 2004

I just don't understand how somebody who has never even played in a real tourny can put someone down that has won the biggest tourny known to man. Brunson yes old but can still play with any of the pros.

holdem pro on February 4, 2004

brunson is awesome! hes way better than u, and jus as well as anyone else!!! hes just old!

shaun on January 30, 2004

way past his prime.

Ron on January 27, 2004

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