The renowned author and poker player Doyle Brunson passed away on Sunday in Las Vegas. Age-wise, he was 89.
Brian Balsbaugh, Brunson’s agent, announced the information along with a statement from Brunson’s family.
“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson,” the statement reads. “He was a beloved Christian man, husband, father and grandfather. We’ll have more to say over the coming days as we honor his legacy. Please keep Doyle and our family in your prayers. May he rest in peace.”
Texas Dolly, sometimes known as Brunson, was a titan of the poker world who contributed to the game’s widespread acceptance. Between 1976 and 2005, he won 10 World Series of Poker bracelets, including consecutive victories in the $10,000 no-limit hold’em main event in 1976 and 1977.
In 1976, Brunson won $220,000 in the winner-take-all main event out of a field of 22 competitors. In 1977, he received $340,000. 8,663 international competitors were fighting for a $80.7 million prize fund in the main event by 2022. $10 million was awarded for winning.
Brunson’s ‘Super System’ changed the game
As a world-class player who rose to fame in the 1970s, Brunson had a significant impact on poker, which helped the game soar during the 2003 TV boom and beyond. He turned his early WSOP victories into author success in 1978 with the publication of the strategy book “Super System.” The 600+ page book was revolutionary since it was among the first to offer anybody who was ready to study it in-depth poker insights from a professional. In 2005, Brunson released a sequel titled “Super System 2”.
The information from “Super System” served as the cornerstone for the games of countless amateur and aspiring professional poker players. Since then, poker has developed into a game of complex analytics, with top professionals utilizing powerful computer solvers to improve their games. The knowledge in “Super System” may be out of date, but its significance in poker history will never fade.
A face of the TV boom
When Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP main event in 2003, poker went mainstream. The amateur, a Tennessee accountant, won the $2.5 million top prize after defeating seasoned pro Sammy Farha in a heads-up match. Athletes all around the world were motivated to play the sport after seeing his triumph on ESPN and to try to replicate it. Additionally, it prompted a rise in poker on TV, where Brunson rose to fame.
In high-stakes cash games and WSOP tournaments, Brunson frequently appeared on the broadcasts. His reputation for aggressive play and genial demeanor made him a popular among viewers. The story of Brunson’s ascent as a player became folklore.
Brunson’s beginning hand of 10-2, which became his trademark, helped him win each of his WSOP main event matches. With the holding, he won full houses each time. The hand encouraged players to attempt to win while holding it, often in vain. Upon hearing of Brunson’s passing, professional Scott Seiver recalled trying to use his recognizable hand to bluff him but failing.
One of the first times playing with him I bluffed $40,000 in a hopeless spot because I had T2o and wanted to show him I could beat him with it. As he raked the pot he just looked at me and smiled and said “do you know how many people have given me their $ trying to do that”
— Scott Seiver (@scott_seiver) May 15, 2023
“We don’t stop playing because we get old, we get old because we stop playing,” Brunson often repeated
Upon learning of Brunson’s passing, the poker community honored him with affection.
There will never be another Doyle Brunson
Doyle was @RadioAmanda favorite player by a mile
He will be missed by many, the Godfather of Poker#RIPDoyle pic.twitter.com/Y88BsrDhhP
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 15, 2023