May 15, 2023
Doyle Brunson, the Godfather of Poker and the man responsible for the early meteoric rise of the game's popularity in the latter half of the 20th century, passed away on Sunday at the age of 89.
You would think that it would be easy to put into words what Texas Dolly's impact on the world of poker meant to so many. And today, so many of the game's well-known personalities are offering their own perspectives. But articles are appearing everywhere - on major news outlets, sports sites, and more.
That speaks to some of his impact. Casual fans of the game may know of him from his later tournament play, or from cash-game TV shows like Poker After Dark. But for those who may not know, Doyle was instrumental in the early formation of the World Series of Poker. His book "Super/System", controversial at the time for revealing so much about the inner workings of professional poker, helped spawn a boom in the game from the 1980's onward.
He gained a well-earned reputation as a high-roller, playing in exclusive high-limit cash games throughout his career. He was born in Texas but settled in Las Vegas in 1970, and his status as a legend of the game grew from there. Everyone that has sat at a poker table knows (or knows of) the "Brunson", the hand that famously won Doyle two WSOP events in back-to-back years (10-2 offsuit, in both 1976 and 1977).
His laid-back personality also struck a chord with anyone that saw him or met him personally. If you were ever fortunate enough to sit at a poker table with Doyle, his disarming charm made you feel like a friend, even when he was taking all your chips.
Despite mobility issues later in his life, he still maintained his presence in the game, playing a healthy schedule and being a de-facto ambassador for poker in the United States.
All of it made him a living legend in the world of poker. Whether you're new to the game or have been playing for years, chances are the name Doyle Brunson is one you recognize. And even if you hadn't heard of him before today, just check out what so many of his peers and contemporaries are saying.
"Legend." - Daniel Negreanu
"The greatest poker player that ever lived." - James Woods
"Mr. Brunson, you made poker what it is baby!" - Scotty Nguyen
"We don't have a word for what Doyle Brunson is to poker." - Phil Galfond
"(Doyle) likely spent more days at the felt than any other person in history. - Liv Boeree
"So many lives are different because of Doyle Brunson." - Dutch Boyd
"Texas Dolly is playing a 10-deuce up in heaven right now." - Pat McAfee
One of the best quotes from Doyle sums it up better than anyone else could. He was the game of poker, and his impact on the game will never be forgotten.
"We don't stop playing because we get old. We get old if we stop playing."
From everyone here at World Tavern Poker: Thank you, Doyle. For everything you did for the game.
The Team at World Tavern Poker