The poker world is reeling tonight from the loss of one of its biggest stars. Doyle Brunson, considered the godfather of poker, died Sunday in Las Vegas. He was 89. His cause of death has yet to be announced.
“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson,” Brian Balsbaugh, his agent, tweeted on behalf of the Brunson family at 6:12 pm Sunday. “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.”
“Texas Dolly,” as he was nicknamed, won 10 World Series of Poker tournaments, including the Main Event in 1976 and 1977. That’s second to only Phil Hellmuth’s 16 WSOP wins.
Brunson’s 1978 book, “Super System” — which revealed strategies known only to professionals before its publishing — is widely regarded as the bible of poker.
“There will never be another Doyle Brunson,” tweeted six-time WSOP champ Daniel Negreanu — one of hundreds of modern-day poker stars inspired by Brunson to dedicate their lives to the game — on Sunday evening.
“Can’t believe this day has come,” five-time WSOP champ Scotty Nguyen added. “You will always be held high in our hearts, the man, the myth, the legend & THE GODFATHER of poker…”
First Bad Beat
Born in 1933 in Longworth, Texas, Brunson was a star athlete who played basketball for Hardin-Simmons University. A bad knee injury crushed his dream of making the NBA — but not his spirit. In the early 1950s, he discovered poker and was good enough for it to fund his education and medical expenses.
Brunson and his wife, Louise — whom he married in 1962 — resettled in Las Vegas in the 1970s. Here, Brunson became the world poker champion, earning millions beating some of the best players in the world for cash games. He was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 1988.
Brunson won his last WSOP bracelet in 2005. His last Main Event cash was in 2013.
“Rest in Peace to the Biggest Legend of Them All,” commented the World Series of Poker’s Twitter feed. “Thank you for being the consummate player and gentleman. No one will ever fill your seat.”
“’Legend’ feels inadequate,” three-time WSOP champ Phil Galfond added, crystalizing the feelings of many in the poker world. “We don’t have a word for what Doyle Brunson is to poker.”
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