Doyle Brunson: Player Profile

A living legend, Doyle Brunson is one of the few men who started out playing poker with a gun in their pockets, before the game turned into the international, multi-million sport that it is today. After several decades of playing the game, “Texas Dolly” is still one of the best players in the circuits and shows no intention of slowing down.

Doyle Brunson’s Beginnings in Poker

Doyle Brunson was born in Longworth, Texas on August 10, 1933. Growing up in a town of just 100 people, Brunson had to run to nearby towns so he could help out with home errands. He developed quite a bit of stamina and athleticism during his early days due to all of the running.

Eventually, Brunson went on to win the 1950 Texas Interscholastic Track one-mile race with a time of 4:43. He also played basketball and attained All-State honours. A number of universities from all over the United States sent Brunson scholarship offers, but he decided to attend Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas because it was not far from home.

Brunson continued on his path to athletic success at Hardin-Simmons. His basketball performance even generated interest from the NBA’s Minneapolis Lakers. Unfortunately, Brunson suffered a horrific broken leg when a huge amount of sheetrock crushed his leg during a summer job. That injury ended his basketball days, but it allowed Brunson to venture into Seven Card Stud.

Stuck with a broken leg, Brunson had time to really learn how to play poker, which he only played a few times before he was injured. Soon enough, Brunson discovered that he had skills for the game, and was particularly successful in Draw poker. Right after college, he decided to keep playing poker.

Brunson left his hometown and began playing at places where there was more poker action, like Oklahoma and Louisiana. Back then, poker games in casinos were not as common as they are now and poker games online were non-existent. Brunson usually played at games run by criminals. Brunson experienced his fair share of being robbed, beaten, and threatened because of his skills.

He eventually ended up in Las Vegas, where he has been inspiring poker fans ever since.

Professional Poker Success

Doyle Brunson was one of the very first players of the WSOP. He began his WSOP participation way back in 1970. After making several deep runs in the main events, he cemented his pro poker player status by winning back-to-back Main Event titles in 1976 for US$230,000 and 1977 US$340,000.

Now you may think that the prize money is smaller, but remember that poker in the 70s is not like what it is today. Today, there are thousands of players that buy into the tournaments through preliminary rounds and games at poker sites. Back in the day, Brunson had to go head-to-head with the world’s best players, and he managed to defeat elite 23-player and 34-player fields for two straight years.

Aside from Main Event wins, Brunson also won a $5,000 Deuce-to-Seven Draw tournament in 1976 and a $1,000 Seven Card Stud Split event in 1977 for a total of four WSOP gold bracelets in two years.

Now well into his golden years, Brunson is as busy at the tables as ever. According to Brunson himself, he is still winning more than he loses. From very humble beginnings to one of the most influential figures in poker today, Brunson meant it when he said, “A man with money is no match against a man on a mission.”

World Series of Poker Bracelets

Brunson is a true veteran of the World Series of Poker, having played at the tables for over five decades. Out of his ten bracelet wins, the biggest prize money he got was US$367,800 for the $5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold'em in 2005.

Here are all of Brunson’s WSOP bracelets, so far:

YearTournamentPrize (in USD)
$5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw
$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship
$1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split
$10,000 No Limit Hold'em World Championship
$5,000 Seven-Card Stud
$600 Mixed Doubles (with Starla Brodie)
$2,500 No Limit Hold'em
$1,500 Seven-Card Razz
$2,000 H.O.R.S.E.
$5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold'em (6 players per table)

Doyle Brunson Trivia

Here are some interesting facts about Doyle Brunson:

  • Doyle Brunson has a total of 10 WSOP bracelets, a record that he shares with Johnny Chan.
  • Brunson is sometimes referred to as the “Godfather of Poker”.
  • In January 2006, Bluff Magazine voted Brunson the most influential force in the world of poker.
  • Shortly after marrying his wife, doctors found what they deemed to be an incurable tumour in Brunson’s neck. To prolong his life for a few more years, Brunson underwent surgery. Doctors eventually discovered that the cancer had miraculously disappeared.
  • Brunson’s book Super/System is often called “the poker bible”.
  • Brunson's nickname, “Texas Dolly”, came from a mistake by Jimmy Snyder. Jimmy Snyder was supposed to announce “Texas Doyle”, but he blurted out “Dolly”. The name stuck and many of Brunson’s fellow poker pros simply call him “Dolly”.
  • Brunson has the honour of having two Texas hold'em poker hands named after him. One is the ten and two of any suit (10-2), which he won the 1976 and 1977 WSOP No Limit Hold 'Em events with. In both cases, he won with a full house. The other hand is the ace and queen of any suit because, as he says on page 519 of the Super/System, he “never plays this hand.”

Doyle Brunson Winnings and Net Worth

While the information on Doyle Brunson net worth has not yet been publicly released, the Hendon Mob Poker Database puts his total live earnings at US$6,131,775. This figure has put him in 66th place of the United States All Time Money List and in 3rd place of the Texas USA All Time Money List.

At one point in his life, the Doyle Brunson worth was at the top of the All Time Money List. Now, his current rank is 104th.

Notable Career Highlights

Here are Doyle Brunson’s notable career highlights, starting with his biggest win of US$1,198,260 in 2004.

DateEventBuy-in (in USD)PlaceWinnings (in USD)
Aug 31, '04
No-Limit Hold'em Championship 2004 Legends of Poker (WPT)
Dec 16, '05
No-Limit Hold'em Championship Day 1 Chip Count 2005 Five Diamond World Poker Classic (WPT)
Jun 30, '05
No-Limit Hold'em Short Handed 2005 36th Annual World Series of Poker
May 10, '77
No Limit Hold'em World Championship - Event 13 8th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1977
Jul 15, '06
Event 20 - H.O.R.S.E. 2006 37th Annual World Series of Poker
May 10, '76
No Limit Hold'em World Championship - Event 8 7th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1976
May 11, '91
No Limit Hold'em 22nd World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1991
Apr 18, '03
WPT Championship - No Limit Hold'em 2003 Five-Star World Poker Classic (WPT)
Feb 09, '05
No-Limit Hold'em Main Event 2005 Poker Superstars Invitational
May 17, '80
No Limit Hold'em World Championship 11th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1980
Sep 20, '94
No Limit Hold'em 1994 Queens Poker Classic Summer Edition
Jun 29, '08
Event 45 - World Championship H.O.R.S.E. 2008 39th Annual World Series of Poker
Jul 02, '07
Event 50 - World Championship Pot-Limit Omaha 2007 38th Annual World Series of Poker
May 16, '83
No Limit Hold'em World Championship 14th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1983
Apr 22, '98
Seven-Card Razz 29th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1998
Apr 24, '03
H.O.R.S.E. 34th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2003
May 05, '76
Deuce to Seven Draw - Event 3 7th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1976$5,000
May 01, '98
Omaha Pot Limit 29th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1998
Mar 07, '10
NBC Heads Up Championship Event 2010 NBC National Heads-Up Championship
May 11, '80
Deuce to Seven Draw With Rebuys 11th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1980
May 10, '78
Seven-Card Stud 9th World Series of Poker (WSOP) 1978

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