Top 5 Doyle Brunson Poker Stories

10 months ago
Top 5 Doyle Brunson Poker Stories
24 Jan

Doyle Brunson, AKA the Texas Dolly, is perhaps one of, if not the, most legendary poker player alive. One look at his WSOP record shows he’s had continuous success in tournaments dating back to the 1970s. He’s earned over $6 million in live tournament earnings, with a little over half of that coming from the WSOP.

The 88-year-old proved he can still play with his appearance in this year’s WSOP Main Event, his first appearance in the tournament since 2013. Brunson has played professional poker for generations, and has the stories to show for it. Here are five stories from his fabled past.

Close Calls

In an interview, Brunson said he was playing a private game when somebody entered the room and shot the man sitting beside him. Doyle even tweeted about the incident last year when a Twitter user asked him his craziest experience playing poker.

Brunson used to play on a street called “Bloodthirsty Highway,” a place where society’s worst were known to frequent.

In another incident, Brunson and his wife were handcuffed together when armed intruders broke in and robbed their Las Vegas home. He forked over $80,000 in casino chips and $4,000 cash to save his life.

A Business Blunder

Doyle Brunson revealed that nearly a decade ago he turned away a staggering amount of money for his online poker facility, Doyle's Room.

Brunson claims he was offered – and refused – a $235 million by Paradise Poker to sell Doyle's Room just before Black Friday in 2011, in response to a tweet from Rounders and Billions co-creator Brian Koppleman.

Brunson refused to sell the platform because he was sure that it would only get more popular and earn him more money. However, his timing couldn’t have been worse as Black Friday was looming around the corner.

A Forfeited Championship?

The World Series of Poker looked a lot different back in the 1970s. The 1972 Main Event was simply a high-stakes sit-n-go with eight of the best poker players at the time, including Brunson, Amarillo Slim, and Johnny Moss.

As players were eliminated, only Brunson, Slim and Puggy Pearson remained. The story goes that during a coffee break, the three discussed what winning the Main Event would entail.

Brunson had a big stack, but he preferred anonymity over being in the spotlight and told the two that he didn’t want to win the tournament. Pearson, who also wanted to keep his private dealings out of the spotlight, didn’t want to win either.

So, the three struck a deal that they would each take what they had won and allow Slim to be declared the 1972 winner.

Blessing in Disguise

As a young man, Brunson’s athletic skills earned him a scholarship to Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Brunson excelled at basketball and track, and the Minneapolis Lakers were interested in offering him a chance.

While working one summer, he sustained a knee injury that ended his athletic career. He went on to earn his bachelors, and in his newly found free time he learned how to play poker. After winning some local games, Brunson would go on to become a full-time poker player.

Beating Cancer

Last year, Brunson beat cancer for the fourth time. During one of his earlier bouts of cancer, Brunson was given just a few months to live.

After an initial surgery, he miraculously went into remission and staved off cancer. Brunson has done, and seen, it all, and the poker world is better with him still around.

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Nikk from Western New York is a part-time journalist, a successful tournament poker player, and an avid fly fisherman.Read more


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