Poker Tales - Todd Brunson, Andy Beal and the $13 Million Game4 years ago
When you hear the name Brunson in a poker environment, there are few who are not star struck. But most of us will immediately jump to conclusions and assume you are talking about the legendary Doyle Brunson, the “Godfather of poker.” But Doyle is not the only legendary Brunson, as his son Todd is also one of the most recognizable faces in poker rooms across the world.
Todd was born in 1969 and lived with his family in Nevada, moving between the two family homes in Las Vegas and El Paso, Texas. Doyle chose not to expose his children to gambling, so poker and cards in general were not a part of everyday life in the Brunson family. But when he went away to college, the Brunson genes activated in Todd and he started to play card games. Like most, at first he lost.
But Todd learned fast and soon crushed the college games. His first experiences in real card rooms came during a summer he spent in California. Coached by his father’s friend, Mike Caro, Todd quickly became a force to be reckoned with at the poker table and started playing higher and higher stakes. While he has won poker tournaments in his career, Todd is primarily a cash game player and the most memorable story from his career was chronicled in the book “The Professor, the Banker, and the Suicide King: Inside the Richest Poker Game of All Time.”
The game in question was against billionaire and poker enthusiast, Andy Beal. The game was set at 7 am, and Todd, who hated getting up early, allegedly drank so much Red Bull to stay awake that it physically hurt him throughout the match. A day earlier, Todd and his partner, Jennifer Harman, were stuck big against the billionaire and Todd was looking to win his money back and then some.
The professional that he was, Todd let Andy get tired and lose his focus. As they entered the second day of play, Todd started winning pot after pot, and Andy’s game was deteriorating so much that he started just giving money away to Brunson in many hands. Andy’s trip to Vegas that year lasted 11 days, and on the last two days of the trip, he lost $13.5 million to Doyle Brunson’s son.
The game never ended for Todd, as he kept his professional career going, and has been playing in the highest stakes games on a regular basis ever since. But compared to the great match versus Andy Beal, all other games seem small and insignificant. It is not likely that a cash game of this caliber will be seen any time soon, even in the richest of poker rooms.
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