Doyle Brunson, Poker Champion Known as ‘Texas Dolly,’ Dies at 89

Doyle Brunson, a champion poker participant who, in a protracted, profitable and colourful profession with a deck of playing cards, gained 10 World Series of Poker occasions, together with two back-to-back titles, and influenced numerous gamers along with his definitive information to Texas maintain ’em and different video games, has died at 89.

His dying was introduced in a household assertion posted(*89*) on Twitter on Sunday night time by his agent. It didn’t embrace additional particulars.

On his web site, Mr. Brunson was as soon as immodestly described as “the Babe Ruth, the Michael Jordan, and the Arnold Palmer of poker.”

The comparisons have been apt. The first individual to win $1 million in match play, Mr. Brunson — nicknamed Texas Dolly — grew to become a star to a brand new era when poker grew to become a fixture on tv within the Nineteen Nineties, his cowboy hat and no-nonsense drawl a gentlemanly foil to brash, talkative youthful gamers.

“The testosterone that floods most of at the moment’s video games owes its existence to Brunson’s philosophy of assault, the outlaw whiff of his fashion, the cowboy jingle-jangle of his prose,” Sports Illustrated wrote in 2005.

Mr. Brunson, whose profession in poker started in unlawful video games within the again rooms of Texas bars, gained the World Series of Poker primary occasion, the game’s most coveted prize, in 1976 and 1977. His whole match winnings exceeded $6 million.

Since the Sixties, he had presided over a high-stakes personal money sport in Las Vegas recognized as “The Big Game,” reserved for essentially the most fearless and well-financed poker gamers as nicely as rich amateurs.

Mr. Brunson “bridges the span between the damaging street video games of the Fifties and the safely official mountains of cash within the twenty first century,” the poker journalist James McManus wrote in “Cowboys Full: The Story of Poker” (2009).

When mr. Brunson gained the World Series of Poker primary occasion, he wrote that folks considered him extra as knowledgeable gambler than a poker participant. He acknowledged that he had made tens of millions and misplaced a lot of it early on betting on different sports activities, particularly golf.

But he grew to become well-known for successful at poker after which educating it, particularly no-limit Texas maintain ’em, a variation of the sport that he first performed in 1958, when it was changing into standard in his house state.

Doyle F. Brunson was born on Aug. 10, 1933, and grew up in Longworth, in north central Texas, the youngest of three youngsters of Mealia and John Brunson, a farmer and cotton gin supervisor. Doyle didn’t be taught till his mid-20s that his father had secretly put his first two youngsters by faculty by enjoying poker.

Initially an undersize basketball participant, Doyle grew about six inches in a 12 months and helped lead Sweetwater High School, in close by Sweetwater, to the state match in Austin. The night time earlier than the semifinal sport (which his group misplaced), schoolmates launched him to poker, which he had seen performed solely in films.

He additionally excelled at baseball and observe. After lacking the deadline to just accept a full scholarship to the University of Texas, he attended the Baptist-affiliated Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene and began enjoying poker there. Five instances he confronted a college disciplinary board for playing however averted suspension due to his success as an athlete.

After nearly main Hardin-Simmons to the NCAA basketball match, Mr. Brunson landed a summer time job at the native gypsum plant. His athletic profession ended when a stack of Sheetrock fell on him, mangling his proper leg.

He earned a grasp’s diploma in training whereas enjoying poker for revenue. But shocked at how little college directors have been paid, he determined in opposition to an educator’s profession and took a job promoting enterprise gear. While making a gross sales name on a pool corridor in Fort Worth, he found a poker sport, joined it and in three hours equaled his month’s wage. He stop his job and began a lifetime of unlawful poker in Texas.

Mr. Brunson quickly joined a betting partnership with Thomas Preston Jr., higher recognized as Amarillo Slim, and Brian Roberts, recognized as Sailor, wherein they shared bankrolls till they misplaced all their cash in Las Vegas in 1970. Each of them would ultimately win the World Series of Poker primary occasion.

In 1962, Mr. Brunson married Louise Carter, a Fort Worth pharmacist. A listing of his survivors was not instantly obtainable.

Mr. Brunson was among the many three dozen gamers invited in 1970 to the inaugural World Series of Poker, a reputation that belied its modest beginnings. The match was the brainchild of the on line casino proprietor Benny Binion and Jimmy Snyder, then a public relations agent higher recognized as Jimmy the Greek.

The World Series expanded its roster of poker contests to incorporate a number of variants of the sport, however Texas maintain ’em remained essentially the most publicized and profitable occasion. Mr. Snyder referred to as Mr. Brunson “Texas Doy-lee,” which reporters mistook for Dolly, and the nickname Texas Dolly caught, although it appeared incongruous for somebody who stood 6 toes 3 inches tall and weighed nicely over 250 kilos.

After shifting to Las Vegas in 1973 for steadier playing alternatives, Mr. Brunson gained the match’s primary occasion in 1976 and 1977, extensively seen as the world championship, incomes $560,000 in a winner-take-all format. His 10 World Series bracelets are tied for second behind Phil Hellmuth’s 16.

In 1978, he self-published his e book “How I Made Over $1,000,000 Playing Poker,” which included chapters by different high professionals. Later renamed “Super System: A Course in Power Poker” when it was picked up by B & G Publishing in 2002, the e book and its follow-up, “Super System 2,” stay top-selling poker manuals.

“As a postgraduate information to the intricacies of high-level, high-stakes poker the work has no equal,” wrote the English poet Al Alvarez, who coated the 1981 World Series of Poker for The New Yorker. “The grammar could also be shaky in locations, the punctuation baroque, however the voice is distinct and the message is obvious: aggression, fixed aggression.”

Mr. Brunson was inducted into the World Series of Poker Hall of Fame in 1988.

After regular progress, poker had its cultural second in 1998 with the discharge of the movie “Rounders,” wherein Matt Damon’s poker-playing character recites Brunson maxims whereas wielding a duplicate of “Super System.” That identical 12 months, poker grew to become a late-night and cable tv staple, and Mr. Brunson grew to become a well-known determine.

Competitive into his later years, Mr. Brunson gained a 2004 legends occasion on the World Poker Tour and $1.2 million. In 2005, he gained a maintain ’em occasion for his tenth World Series title.

Just a few days earlier, his son Todd, additionally knowledgeable participant, had captured an occasion, making them the primary father and son to every win at the World Series. Mr. Brunson reached the fourth day of the 2013 Poker Players Championship, though he confessed that the sport was taking its toll.

“Sometimes, when I’ve been enjoying for a few days, I get right into a place the place I’m uncomfortable,” he mentioned. “My leg, say, begins hurting a bit of bit. But I do not change place. I’ll sit there and let it damage, simply as a reminder to make myself play good.”

Mr. Brunson thought that his legacy can be “the truth that I’ve performed longer at the excessive ranges than anyone else ever did,” he mentioned in 2003. “I imply, I’ve been enjoying at the excessive ranges — the most important video games I might discover — ever since I used to be 23 years outdated.”

But he wouldn’t milk his age for sympathy.

“Would I prefer to win the World Series once more for the outdated guys?” he mentioned in 2002. “Nah, I’d prefer to win it for ol’ Doyle.”

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