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Poker World Mourns The Passing Of Doyle Brunson

The Poker Legend And 10-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Was 89 Years Old


Doyle Brunson, widely regarded as the most legendary card player in poker history with a career spanning nearly seven decades, has passed away. The poker hall of famer was 89 years old.

Brunson’s passing was confirmed by his son Todd, who was by his father’s side at a Las Vegas hospital.

“Yes, I’m sorry. It’s true. RIP Doyle.” Todd Brunson wrote on Twitter. “Thank you all for your concern, but I need to ask for everyone to respect my family’s privacy at this point.”

“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson,” the Brunson family added in a statement. “He was a beloved Christian man, husband, father, and grandfather. We’ll have more to say over the coming days as we honor his legacy. Please keep Doyle and our family in your prayers. May he rest in peace.”

Todd and Doyle Brunson Side By Side at WSOPBrunson, known as the Godfather of Poker, was born on Aug. 10, 1933 in Longworth, Texas. He was a standout athlete, excelling in both track and field, as well as basketball. In fact, he was being eyed by the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA before a devastating work injury ended his sports career.

He initially turned his attention to teaching, but realized he could make a lot more money, as well as his own hours, by playing 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.

He was there in 1970 at the start of the World Series of Poker and went on to win an incredible ten gold bracelets, which is tied for second all-time with Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey, behind Phil Hellmuth’s 16 wins. His run included back-to-back main event wins, in 1976 and 1977, in which he famously took down both events holding 10-2.

Brunson was also the author of Super/System, which was considered poker’s bible when he self-published it back in 1978.

Despite his age, Brunson remained active in the poker world up until his death. A few years ago he stated that he was planning to keep playing, “as long as I can get to the table.”

“It’s been a great life,” Brunson told Card Player back in 2018. “I was consumed with being an athlete when I was young and was going to make basketball my career. When I busted my leg, that was the end of that. I turned to poker as a way of being still able to compete, and it’s been great. You can’t find many things in which a guy that is 84 can still compete against guys in their 30s. It has meant a lot to me. My competitive nature drove to keep contending, and poker was the vehicle that allowed me to do that. I’m just thankful for it. I’ve had a lot of blessings in my life, survived a lot of hard times. But, I’m still here.”

Although he admitted that he no longer had the stamina for tournaments and didn’t want to leave his wife for long, he was still regularly competing in cash games, including PokerGO’s High Stakes Poker show. In the summer of 2022, he was signed as a brand ambassador for the World Poker Tour.

In recent years, there have been a handful of film and documentary projects announced about Brunson’s life. In March, he was in attendance at the official unveiling of the Horseshoe on the Las Vegas Strip, which is the new home of the WSOP.

Brunson is survived by his wife Louise, whom he married in 1962, as well as his children Todd and Pamela.

The Poker World Reacts

PokerGO photos taken by Enrique Malfavon.