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DOYLISM OF THE DAY: "Don't take life too seriously; nobody gets out alive."

by Doyle Brunson |  Published: Apr 13, '08

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DOYLISM OF THE DAY: "Don't take life too seriously; nobody gets out alive."

The poker historians have speculated, guessed, and surmised what became of the 1979 World Series winner, Hal Fowler. I've heard all kinds of stories: he was living in California…he moved to Hawaii…and, that he died shortly after his win. Nobody seemed to know. Finally, Des Wilson wrote a book called Ghosts At The Table. He went to great lengths to authenticate all the facts in his book and he spent months trying to find out what happened to the man that pulled the greatest upset in poker history when he won the WSOP. He took so many amphetamines and Valium that he could barely sit at the table and made some of the most unbelievable plays anyone had ever witnessed…miracle after miracle and he finally back doored a straight to beat Bobby Huff.

The strangest thing happened. Fowler never came back to defend his title. In fact, he never came back to Las Vegas. Des Wilson hired a private detective to trace Fowler's life and he came up with some amazing facts. Harold Fowler was born in Vermont and had left home at a very early age and his family never saw him or heard from him again. He went into the service and when he got out - nobody knows why - he insisted that no one could know where he was at any time. The detective traced Fowler to a retirement home in Tulare, California, where he spent his last ten years. He died in 2000 and had only two possessions when he died; a small gun and a video recording of the 1979 WSOP. He lived his last years on social security, was almost totally blind, and could barely walk. He told the people at the retirement center not to tell anyone about his death for at least two years. What a strange story. His achievements and his secrets were buried with him.

All I know is that I liked the man, even though I never knew him well. After he won the WSOP he told me he was going to go on tour and sell 10,000 copies of Super System. I bet him $5,000 that he wouldn't do it and after one year I got a cashier's check in the mail for $5,000 from Fowler. At least he was an honest guy who paid a debt he didn't have to because that was the last time anyone ever heard from him that I know of. - DB

Doyle "Tex Dolly" Brunson is a 10-time WSOP bracelet winner, best-selling author, and is known worldwide as the father of modern poker. His list of poker accomplishments and awards are endless.

 
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