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Doyle Brunson Says He Missed Out On $230M Deal To Sell Poker Site Before It Went To Zero

Hall Of Famer Says He Has 'Recurring Nightmares About It'


Poker legend Doyle Brunson is obviously doing pretty well for himself, but his bankroll could have been injected with an nine-figure boost had he pulled the trigger on a business deal more than a decade ago.

The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner said Tuesday on Twitter that he turned down a $230 million offer for his former poker site, which was founded in 2004. According to Brunson, he owned half of the online poker platform when the offer was made.

According to Brunson, the site went from an incredible valuation in the eyes of a potential buyer to being “worthless” all of sudden after the federal government went after the online poker industry. “This person who had a 50-percent ownership has recurring nightmares about it,” he said.

DoylesRoom exited the U.S. online poker market in the wake of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, but ended up returning about a year after the law was enacted. The site, like others, henceforth operated in a legal grey area.

Although some operators believed online poker still was legal despite UIGEA, which impacted payment processing, the law pumped the brakes on the poker boom of the 2000s. UIGEA was the result of years of failed efforts, as federal lawmakers finally snuck it through Congress in late 2006. The law became part of an unrelated bill at the last legislative minute.

During its heyday, DoylesRoom was sponsoring some of the game’s best and brightest players, including Steve Gross, Chris Moorman, Amit Makhija and David Sands.

Though the site didn’t exit American cyberspace immediately after Black Friday in April 2011, when UIGEA finally bared its fangs, Brunson ended up cutting ties with the company in the aftermath of the crackdown on PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and AbsolutePoker/UB. By October of that same year, DoylesRoom was sold to rival poker site Americas Cardroom.

Brunson’s regret towards not selling his poker site prior to UIGEA was echoed by fellow Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu. “I built up [my website Full Contact Poker] from nothing, all basically with my own money," Negreanu said on Card Player’s Poker Stories Podcast. "And within six months I had an offer to sell it for $170 million. Literally three days later, this thing called UIGEA happened, so they pulled the plug on the offer.”

Negreanu and Brunson weren’t the only legends of the green felt who missed out on financial windfalls thanks to the legal landscape regarding online gaming. Hall of Famer Phil Ivey was once making more than $900,000 a month for his work at Full Tilt Poker prior to Black Friday.