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Poker Prodigies Series – Doyle Brunson

by Craig Edwards
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Doyle Brunson upfront

Last week at Joe Wager, we started our Poker Player Prodigy Series by looking at Daniel Negreanu’s career from prodigy to celebrity and poker professional. At the end of the article, we mentioned how his career could easily end up in the movies. However, there is one poker player whose life has been the subject or foundation of many books, films or documentaries over the years and that is Doyle Brunson.

Known as the “Godfather of Poker”, Brunson was himself once a gambling prodigy and indeed a successful pioneer of card games and gambling.

Sadly, Brunson passed away in 2023, aged 89, after the most remarkable career and life story.

Let’s embark on a rapid journey through his life, discovering inspiration for your plays within the vibrant realm of online poker rooms.

Biopic Documentary in the Production Stage

A couple of months after Texas Dolly’s sad passing, a new movie paying homage to the legend was put into Hollywood production.

The title is said to be “Doyle Brunson’s Legendary Tale” with Justin Smith –himself a former poker player who was based in the gambling capital Las Vegas like the great man– taking the director’s role.

Doyle Brunson

Smith is known to have a long-time connection with industry mogul, Ted Field, who is well-known for a wide range of blockbusters from Tom Cruise’s Cocktail to the Jumanji films.

Why Was Doyle Brunson a Prodigy and a Pioneer?

Born in 1933, in Longworth, Texas, Brunson discovered his love of card games and poker at a young age, finding that he had a natural talent for playing winning poker and gambling for a living. Living his life on the “edge”, Brunson’s career was full of adventures most can only dare dream or fantasize about.

Any man who can amass a fortune in poker winnings estimated at $75 million can transcend boundaries on and off the table.

Indeed, his best-selling poker book “Super System” was thought of as the go-to bible for how to play no-limit holdem for decades, and I educated myself with the odds, reading from cover to cover.

Brunson had the innate ability to articulate not only his adventures but also the odds of drawing to winning hands. In fact, he was involved in several other publications during his life.

  • Doyle Brunson’s Super System: A Course in Power Poker (1979)
  • According to Doyle (1984)
  • Poker Wisdom of a Champion (2003)
  • Doyle Brunson’s Super System 2: A Course in Power Poker (2005)
  • Your Guide to Playing Online Poker Safely & Winning Money (2005)
  • My 50 Most Memorable Hands (2007)
  • The Godfather of Poker: The Doyle Brunson Story (2009)

Doyle Brunson Poker Accomplishments

On the felt, throughout his long and illustrious career, Doyle Brunson was a winning machine and his WSOP resume is impressive.

He won ten bracelets in a 30-year period between the 1976 $2,000 Deuce to Seven draw –where he won over $80,000– and the 2005 $5,000 short-handed no-limit holdem event for $367,800.

During the intervening years, he managed back-to-back No Limit Holdem Main Events and several seven-card stud bracelets to illustrate his mastery of both card games.

The Doyle Brunson Legacy

All poker players, from young to old, can feel the Doyle Brunson legacy.

The legendary tales of his nomadic commuting around America prior to the World Series inception are shrouded in folklore and myth.

He managed to achieve a life of such extremes while being happily married for seven decades to his wife, Louise. He was a man of the people, whom the common working men of America identified with, who fought many battles on and off the table in life.

Both he and his wife fought off cancer during their early years of marriage and suffered the tragic death of a daughter Doyla who was eighteen.

Their son, Todd, has followed the family tradition and become a successful poker player winning the 2005 WSOP High/Lo Omaha. Their daughter, Pamela, played the 2007 WSOP Main event outlasting both.

Todd and Doyle Brunson

Indeed, I played on the same day as the great man that year and the reception as he entered the Amazon Room at the Rio was spine-tingling and something I will always remember.

Doyle Brunson’s greatest legacy to the modern poker player is his participation in many of the events during the Televised pro-celebrity era of the 2000s. He carried himself with a cheeky smile and glint in his eye, the demeanor of a great champion, making his peers of all levels feel at ease playing poker in his company.

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Craig Edwards
Craig Edwards, an online tipster in golf and snooker for over four years, boasts a track record of 7800 bets with a 28% return on investment. A snooker professional from 1988 to 1996, he was once a single-figure handicap golfer. Achieving the 282nd position in the WSOP MAIN EVENT in 2007, Craig possesses a unique insight into the psychological shifts of professional sportsmen, anticipating their mindset week by week.

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