Doyle Brunson

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Doyle Brunson
Doyle Brunson.jpg
Nickname(s) Texas Dolly, Big Papa, The Godfather of Poker
Residence Las Vegas, Nevada
Born (1933-08-10) August 10, 1933 (age 81)
Longworth, Fisher County, Texas
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 10
Money finish(es) 36
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
Winner, 1976, 1977
World Poker Tour
Title(s) 1
Final table(s) 3
Money finish(es) 8
European Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) None
Money finish(es) 1
Information accurate as of 24 January 2014.

Doyle F. Brunson[1] (born August 10, 1933) is an American poker player who has played professionally for over 50 years.[2] He is a two-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event champion, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, and the author of several books on poker.

Brunson was the first player to earn $1 million in poker tournaments and has won ten WSOP bracelets throughout his career, tied with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey for second all-time, behind Phil Hellmuth's thirteen. He is also one of only four players to have won the Main Event at the World Series of Poker multiple times, which he did in 1976 and 1977. He is also one of only two players, along with Bill Boyd, to have won WSOP tournaments in four consecutive years. In addition, he is the first of five players to win both the WSOP Main Event and a World Poker Tour title. In January 2006, Bluff Magazine voted Brunson the most influential force in the world of poker.[3]

Early life[edit]

Brunson was born in Longworth, Fisher County, Texas, a town with a population of approximately 100, and was one of three children. Because of Longworth's small size, Brunson frequently ran long distances to other towns, and became a promising athlete. He was part of the All-State Texas basketball team, and practiced the one-mile run to keep in shape in the off-season. Although he was more interested in basketball than running, he entered the 1950 Texas Interscholastic Track Meet and won the one-mile event with a time of 4:43. Despite receiving offers from many colleges, he attended Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, because it was close to his home.

The Minneapolis Lakers were interested in Brunson, but a knee injury ended his playing days. He had taken a summer job and was unloading some sheetrock; when the ton of weight shifted, Brunson instinctively tried to stop it, and it 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 requires a crutch to get around because of the injury. Brunson changed his focus from athletics to education, obtaining a bachelor's degree in 1954 and a master's degree in administrative education the following year.

Brunson had begun playing poker before his injury, playing five-card draw and finding it "easy." He played more often after being injured and his winnings paid for his expenses. After graduating, he took a job as a business machines salesman but, on his first day, he was invited to play in a seven-card stud game and earned over a month's salary in under three hours. He soon left the company and became a professional poker player.

Poker career[edit]

Doyle Brunson on the way to his 1976 WSOP Main Event title.

Brunson started off by playing in illegal games on Exchange Street, Fort Worth, Texas with friend Dwayne Hamilton. Eventually, they began traveling around Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, playing in bigger games, and meeting fellow professionals Amarillo Slim and Sailor Roberts. The illegal games Brunson played in during this time were usually run by criminals who were often members of organized crime, so rules were not always enforced. Brunson has admitted to having a gun pulled on him several times and that he was robbed and beaten.

Hamilton moved back to Fort Worth, while the others teamed up and travelled around together, gambling on poker, golf and, in Doyle's words, "just about everything."[4] They pooled their money for gambling and after six years, they made their first serious trip to Las Vegas and lost all of it, a six-figure amount. They decided to stop playing as partners, but remained friends.

Brunson finally settled in Las Vegas. He has been a regular player at the World Series of Poker since its inception in 1970, playing in the Main Event nearly every year since then, in addition to many of the other preceding bracelet-awarding events. He made some WSOP championship event final tables before his back-to-back wins, but since this was when the event was winner-take-all, they are not counted as cashes. Besides his two championship wins in 1976 and 1977, Brunson's other main event cashes are: 1980 (runner-up to three-time champion Stu Ungar), 1982 (4th), 1983 (3rd), 1997 (16th), 2004 (53rd) and 2013 (409th).

Brunson authored Super/System, which is widely considered to be one of the most authoritative books on poker. Originally self-published in 1978, Super/System was the book credited with transforming poker by giving ordinary players insight into the way that professionals such as Brunson played and won, so much so that Brunson believes that it cost him a lot of money. An updated revision, Super/System 2, was published in 2004. Besides Brunson, several top poker players contributed chapters to Super/System including Bobby Baldwin, Mike Caro, David Sklansky, Chip Reese and Joey Hawthorne. The book is subtitled "How I made one million dollars playing poker," by Doyle Brunson. Brunson is also the author of Poker Wisdom of a Champion, originally published as According to Doyle by Lyle Stuart in 1984.

Brunson continues to play in the biggest poker games in the world, including a $4000/$8000 limit mixed poker game in "Bobby's Room" at the Bellagio. He also plays in many of the biggest poker tournaments around the world. He won his ninth gold bracelet in a mixed games event in 2003, and in 2004, he finished 53rd (in a field of 2,576) in the No Limit Texas hold 'em Championship event. He won the Legends of Poker World Poker Tour (WPT) event in 2004 (garnering him a $1.1 million prize) and finished fourth in the WPT's first championship event. Early in the morning on July 1, 2005, less than a week after Chan had won his 10th gold bracelet (presented to each WSOP tournament winner) - setting a new record - Brunson tied him at the 2005 WSOP. He is currently three bracelets behind Phil Hellmuth, who earned his 13th bracelet at the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe.

Brunson's nickname, "Texas Dolly," came from a mistake by Jimmy Snyder. Snyder was supposed to announce Brunson as "Texas Doyle," but incorrectly pronounced the first name as Dolly. It stuck, and many of Brunson's fellow top pros now simply refer to Brunson as "Dolly."

Brunson has two Texas hold'em hands named after him. One hand, a ten and a two of any suit, bears his name because he won the No Limit Hold 'Em event at the World Series of Poker two years in a row with them (1976 and 1977), in both cases completing a full house. In both 1976 and 1977, he was an underdog in the final hand. Another hand known as a "Doyle Brunson," especially in Texas, is the ace and queen of any suit because, as he says on page 519 of Super/System, he "never plays this hand." He changes his wording in Super/System 2, however, noting that he "tries to never play this hand."

As of 2014, his total live tournament winnings exceed $6,100,000.[5] He has totaled $2,994,116 in earnings from his 36 cashes at the WSOP.[6] Brunson reached the money in the 2013 WSOP $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Championship event, marking the fifth decade he has cashed in the event.

World Series of Poker bracelets[edit]

Year Tournament Prize (US$)
1976 $5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw $80,250
1976 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $230,000
1977 $1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split $62,500
1977 $10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship $340,000
1978 $5,000 Seven-Card Stud $68,000
1979 $600 Mixed Doubles (with Starla Brodie)[7] $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

Family life[edit]

Brunson met his future wife, Louise, in 1960 and married her in August 1962. Louise became pregnant, but later that year, a tumor was discovered in Doyle's neck. When it was operated on, the surgeons found that the cancer had spread and declared it incurable. They felt that an operation would prolong his life long enough for him to see the birth of the baby, so they went ahead with it. After the operation, no trace of the cancer could be found.[8] The doctors said that his recovery must have been a miracle, and Brunson has attributed his cure to the prayers of friends of his wife and their correspondence with Kathryn Kuhlman, a self-proclaimed Christian faith healer.[9] Louise developed a tumor shortly afterwards and, when she went for surgery, her tumor was also found to have disappeared. In 1975, their daughter Doyla was diagnosed with scoliosis, yet her spine straightened completely within three months.

Doyla died at 18 when she took too much potassium for a heart-valve condition. Over the following year, Brunson read Christian literature and converted to Christianity.

His son, Todd, also plays poker professionally. Todd has won a bracelet in Omaha Hi-Lo at the 2005 WSOP, making the Brunsons the first father-son combination to win World Series bracelets. His daughter Pamela played in the 2007 World Series of Poker and 2009 World Series of Poker main events, outlasting both Doyle and Todd both times.

SEC investigation[edit]

On December 14, 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed an action[10] to enforce subpoenas issued to the attorneys of Doyle Brunson regarding his unsolicited offer in July 2005 to buy WPT Enterprises, Inc., the publicly traded owner of the World Poker Tour, at a high premium over its then-market value. Shortly thereafter, the Commission contends, a public relations firm Brunson hired, and a website he endorses, publicly announced the offer. The Commission asserts that publication of this offer, widely covered in the media, triggered a steep rise in WPT's stock price on record trading volume.

When pressed for details, Brunson and his lawyers immediately stopped responding to the WPT and the media. Instead, after delivering the offer, Brunson withdrew from the engagement. When the WPT publicly disclosed Brunson and his law firm's unresponsiveness, its stock price sharply declined, costing investors tens of millions of dollars in lost market value. The offer eventually expired by its terms.

The SEC is formally investigating 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. However, Brunson, who has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to testify in the investigation, directed his lawyers to withhold certain documents and not to testify on critical aspects of the offer, under the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine. The subpoena enforcement action seeks to set aside these privileges on various legal grounds, including the crime-fraud exception, and to compel Brunson's firm to provide the requested documents and testimony. The court has not yet set the Commission's action for hearing.[11]

The case was reported to have been dropped by the SEC in 2007.[12]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

Doyle Brunson et al. (2005). "My Story". Super System 2. Cardoza Publishing. pp. 41–68. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "F.E.C. Image". Federal Election Commission. 2007-11-28. Retrieved 2008-08-24. 
  2. ^ Ryan Bernstein. "Doyle Brunson: Poker's Ace is Poker's King". The Hall of Fame Network. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  3. ^ "Poker's Power 20: The Most Influential People in Poker". Bluff Magazine. 2006. Retrieved 2011-08-13. 
  4. ^ Super System 2. p. 47. 
  5. ^ Hendon Mob Database: Doyle Brunson
  6. ^ World Series of Poker Earnings, www.worldseriesofpoker.com
  7. ^ Butt, Robert. "$ 600 Mixed Doubles". TheHendonMob.com. Retrieved 2008-05-07. 
  8. ^ Super System 2. p. 50. 
  9. ^ Super System 2. p. 51. 
  10. ^ Securities and Exchange Commission v. David Chesnoff and Chaka Henry
  11. ^ Pokernews.com: SEC Files Action Against Doyle's Attorneys
  12. ^ SEC drops investigation

External links[edit]