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DOYLISM OF THE DAY: “The biggest problem you will ever have watches you from the mirror every day.”

by Doyle Brunson |  Published: Jul 13, '09

The Main Event is still going on at the WSOP. The pros are getting fewer and fewer but that’s what makes a great tournament, anyone can get lucky and win.

I did my very best to at least go deep but just couldn’t hang on. I understand only too well that survival is the key for the first two days in a big field like the WSOP. But as day 1 wound down, I was sitting on a little under $30,000 and flopped a set against a player who had re-raised. To my surprise, my opponent didn’t just bet, he moved in on me. There was no straight or flush possible, so I had to call. Turns out he was drawing at a straight and made it and the board didn’t pair. Out the first day for the 3rd year in a row. How do you play “small ball” poker when that happens?

The good news is that the cash games at the Bellagio are really, really good. In fact, I haven’t seen games like the ones going on for years. There are millions of dollars on the two tables in Bobby’s Room every night. The high action games have even moved out into the main poker rooms because there are so many of them. I saw two 4-8 thousand mixed games, a 3-6k mixed game, a 2-4 mixed and a 2-4k blind pot limit Omaha going at the same time. There are lots of Europeans playing with the local players and huge amounts of money are being won and lost. A French business man seems to be the big winner but it’s hard to be accurate on winners and losers. I know myself that I’m small winner but have played 3 pots with a million dollars in the middle. I won one, lost one, and split a huge pot with Patrik Antonius when we dealt the turn + river 4 times. I had a set against 2 pair bigger than my set and a flush draw. But the biggest disappointment was when Gus Hansen hit runner-runner with all the cash in on the flop. Oh well, the games are good and will be there for another week or so.

If you like Chinese poker, the games have accelerated to 10K a point. That is the biggest Chinese games I’ve seen with half a million or more swings every night. I played a couple of time with not much of a result but I’ve played Chinese poker hundreds of hours, so I’m a very good player. The secret is how you play your bad hands; everyone plays the good hands properly.

I’m amazed at how well I’ve held up this past 6 weeks. I did lots of interviews, played several tournaments, did 4 seminars with Mike Caro, took care of everyday problems at home with Louise being out of the country and played a few cash games before I was knocked out of the WSOP. Then I caught the “flu” or whatever was going around at the tournament but just kept going because the cash games were so good. I even changed my sleeping hours where I could stay up all night. I’ve averaged playing 12-14 hours a day and have completely recovered from the illness. I feel strong and thank God I inherited the stamina from the Brunson genes.

Speaking of the genes, Pam Brunson, my daughter, outlasted Todd and I in the Main Event to win the “Last Brunson Standing” for the 3rd year in a row. I can’t remember the last tournament she didn’t outlast both of us (and Hoyt Corkins). Now Todd and I have to listen to her for another year. Just kidding Pam, nice going, I know you are getting better and better.

I saw the list of nominees for the Poker Hall of Fame. There are some great players, 10 were nominated, but my vote has to go to Mike Sexton or Barry Greenstein. Some of the others are too young and some don’t fit the criteria that are required for being elected. Phil Ivey is one that is a cinch to be inducted, but not this year because of his young age. Of course he is still alive in the Main Event and if he somehow wins, I’ll vote for him now.


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.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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