Poker Coverage: Poker Legislation Poker Tournaments U.S. Poker Markets

Poker Stories Podcast With Doyle Brunson

by Card Player News Team |  Published: Dec 19, 2018

Print-icon
 

Poker Stories is a long-form audio podcast series that features casual interviews with some of the game’s best players and personalities. Each episode highlights a well-known member of the poker world and dives deep into their favorite tales both on and off the felt.

Age: 85
Hometown: Longworth, Texas
Live Tournament Earnings: $5.8 Million

Top Five Tournament Scores

Date Tournament Place Winnings
Aug. 2004 WPT Legends of Poker 1st $1,198,260
Dec. 2005 WPT Five Diamond World Poker Classic 3rd $563,485
June 2005 WSOP $5K Six-Max Event 1st $367,800
May 1977 WSOP Main Event 1st $340,000
July 2006 WSOP $50K Poker Players Championship 8th $274,560

Doyle Brunson is widely regarded as the most legendary card player in poker history with a career that spans more than six decades. After a work accident ended his dream of playing in the NBA, the Longworth, Texas-native turned to poker. After years on the road with “Amarillo” Slim and “Sailor” Roberts, playing in dangerous, illegal games often set up by members of organized crime, Brunson finally settled down in Las Vegas.

In the years since, Brunson won an incredible ten World Series of Poker bracelets, which is tied for second all-time with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey, behind Phil Hellmuth’s 15 wins. His run included back-to-back main event wins, in 1976 and ‘77, in which he famously won both events with 10-2. Despite recently turning 85, the Poker Hall of Fame member insists that he’s operating at 95 percent, and is still a regular in the high-stakes games in Bobby’s Room at Bellagio, where he has held court since it opened in 1998.

Highlights from this interview include feeling your age, suffering through poker withdrawal, a trip to March Madness, the two royals he made against Bobby Baldwin, letting his wife get some sleep, the deadly nature of ace-to-five lowball, the mixed results of publishing Super/System, sucking out for the first seven-figure pot in Vegas history, losing out on a $230 million deal, Doyle’s top five players, million-dollar weight loss prop bets with Chip Reese and Lyle Berman, and who will play him in the movie of his life.

The Highlights

On putting in long sessions at the table…

“People say now, ‘Oh gosh, I played 36 hours.’ For me, 36 hours was just getting warmed up. Back when Chip [Reese] and I were playing all the time, we would routinely play two days, sometimes three, and as much as four. I don’t think anybody was taking drugs back in those days, maybe some of the guys during the cocaine craze of the ‘80s, but as far as I know, none of the high-limit players were taking drugs [to stay awake]. [There was a game in Jacksboro that run for five days.] I remember it like it was yesterday, just because it was so dramatic, you know. I’d been playing with Virgil for three or four years, and to see a guy reach for a pot and slump over dead, is you know… He beat me the pot that he died on. We were playing ace-to-five lowball. He had 7-4, and I had a 7-5. I moved in on him and he called. I said, ‘seven’ and spread my hand, and he said, ‘Oh, I don’t have no five in mine,’ spreading his 7-4. He reached for the pot, and just… died.”

On the career he almost had before poker…

“I was 19 years old when I was a junior in college, and I was just learning how to really play. I had a lot of talent. I was 6’3’’, a big guard. It doesn’t sound that big today, but that was very big for a guard back then. Plus, I had real long arms and could jump, so it was a problem to guard me. The way I learned was by watching better players and seeing their moves, and I would go practice to emulate them, until I learned to do it. I think I was ahead of my time, I really do. The Lakers came down to my university when I was a junior, which was pretty unusual, and they told my coach that they planned to draft me the next year with their first pick. I was looking forward to that. That was always my dream. I had never even thought of doing anything else besides playing basketball in the NBA.”

On why he’s optimistic that he reaches his goal of 102 years old…

“Chip and I had gone to Europe with our families, and as big eaters, we’d eaten all the gourmet foods over there, rich French cooking and all that stuff. So, we got back and had to lose all that weight. We went to the Pritikin Center in Miami to spend a couple weeks. We got down there and they examined us. Drew the blood, all that. The next day, they came to my room and said they needed to draw some more blood. The next day they called me back, and said, ‘The reason we did this is because your cholesterol is less than 100. We have people down here that eat nothing but raw vegetables and fruits trying to get their cholesterol down to where yours is. We were just interested in what you eat.’ I told them I eat everything, and they said, ‘As badly as you’ve treated it, your body must be programmed to live 125 years.’”

You can check out the entirety of the interview in the audio player at the top of the page or download it directly to your device to play on the go from iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app.

Catch up on past episodes featuring notables such as Daniel Negreanu, Justin Bonomo, Nick Schulman, Barry Greenstein, Michael Mizrachi, Bryn Kenney, Mike Sexton, Brian Rast, Scott Seiver, Freddy Deeb, Chris Moneymaker, Maria Ho and many more. If you like what you hear, be sure to subscribe to get the latest episodes automatically when they are released.