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

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

His loss of life 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 particular person to win $1 million in event play, Mr. Brunson — nicknamed Texas Dolly — turned a star to a brand new era when poker turned a fixture on tv within the 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, received the World Series of Poker important occasion, the game’s most coveted prize, in 1976 and 1977. His complete event winnings exceeded $6 million.

Since the Nineteen Sixties, he had presided over a high-stakes personal money recreation 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 professional 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 received the World Series of Poker important occasion, he wrote that individuals considered him extra as an expert gambler than a poker participant. He acknowledged that he had made thousands and thousands and misplaced a lot of it early on betting on different sports activities, particularly golf.

But he turned well-known for profitable 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 turning into widespread in his residence state.

Doyle F. Brunson was born on Aug. 10, 1933, and grew up in Longworth, in north central Texas, the youngest of three kids 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 kids via school by taking part in 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 event in Austin. The night time earlier than the semifinal recreation (which his staff misplaced), schoolmates launched him to poker, which he had seen performed solely in films.

He additionally excelled at baseball and monitor. 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 taking part in poker there. Five instances he confronted a faculty disciplinary board for playing however averted suspension due to his success as an athlete.

After virtually main Hardin-Simmons to the NCAA basketball event, 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 schooling whereas taking part in poker for earnings. But shocked at how little faculty directors have been paid, he determined towards an educator’s profession and took a job promoting enterprise tools. While making a gross sales name on a pool corridor in Fort Worth, he found a poker recreation, joined it and in three hours equaled his month’s wage. He give up 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, through which 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 important occasion.

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

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 event 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 known 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 transferring to Las Vegas in 1973 for steadier playing alternatives, Mr. Brunson received the event’s important 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 evident: 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,” through which Matt Damon’s poker-playing character recites Brunson maxims whereas wielding a replica of “Super System.” That similar 12 months, poker turned a late-night and cable tv staple, and Mr. Brunson turned a well-known determine.

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

A couple of days earlier, his son Todd, additionally an expert 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 taking part in for a few days, I get right into a place the place I’m uncomfortable,” he stated. “My leg, say, begins hurting a little bit bit. But I do not change place. I’ll sit there and let it harm, simply as a reminder to make myself play good.”

Mr. Brunson thought that his legacy could be “the truth that I’ve performed longer at the excessive ranges than anyone else ever did,” he stated in 2003. “I imply, I’ve been taking part in at the excessive ranges — the most important video games I may discover — ever since I used to be 23 years previous.”

But he wouldn’t milk his age for sympathy.

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

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