We Say Farewell to Poker Legend Doyle Brunson

Doyle Brunson was The Godfather of Poker who has done much for the poker world. Join us as we say farewell and remember his many accomplishments.

We say farewell to Doyle Brunson, The Godfather of Poker and an exceptional player. At age 89, this iconic figure sadly passed away on May 14. 

His family released a statement, reading: 


It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our father, Doyle Brunson. 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.” 

Top Wins

Brunson was a regular at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) since 1970. Having played the game for years before starting his career in Las Vegas, it’s no surprise that this man became a legend all players strive to follow. He won 10 WSOP bracelets and more than $3 million over his career.

First WSOP Bracelet – 1976

While Brunson finished third in 1973’s Main Event, it wasn’t until 1976 that he won the Main Event and his first WSOP bracelet, bringing home $220,000 in prize money.

A Big Win in 1977

In 1977, Brunson won another World Championship title and bracelet, with prize money of $340,000. He won the title with a full house thanks to his starting hand of 10-2, which is now known as The Doyle Brunson.

No-Limit Hold’em in 1991

Doyle won his seventh bracelet in 1991, taking home a No-Limit Hold-em title with a prize pool of $208,000.

Beats Critics and Wins Almost $1.2 Million in 2004

Brunson won almost $1.2 million in 2004 at the Legends of Poker WPT event. While critics claimed he was too old, Doyle showed them that his title as The Godfather wasn’t for nothing.

Biggest WSOP Win in 2005

This legend’s largest WSOP win happened in 2005. He placed first in a short-handed No-Limit Hold’em Main Event, winning $367,800.

European Poker Tour 2011

Brunson’s only time scoring an EPT money finish was in 2011. He won £9,000 in this tournament and placed 77th in the £5,000 Main Event.

Top stories

Where did the nickname “Texas Dolly” come from?

It originated from a miscommunication. Jimmy Snyder, famously known for his show “The NFL Today,” used to write about gambling for the Las Vegas Sun. He was great friends with Doyle Brunson, who was from Texas, where gambling was frowned upon. Brunson asked Snyder not to use his real name in his articles, so Snyder referred to him as “Texas Doyle.” An Associated Press journalist overheard Snyder referencing him as “Texas Dolly” instead and misquoted the nickname in an article. It has stayed with him ever since.

T2 – the Doyle Brunson hand

Brunson dominated the ’76 WSOP Main Event with T2 cards. He held a commanding chip lead against his amateur opponent when the fateful flop came to A-J-T. Brunson bet all-in, and his rival called with two pairs. Disaster awaited, though, as a two arrived on the turn, giving Brunson two pairs. The ten on the river made him a full house for the win.


His luck with the same hand didn’t end there. A year later, he was again heads-up now with a professional player, Gary Berland. Brunson had T-2 and Berland 85. The flop was 8-5-T, Berland bet, Brunson called. The turn gave Brunson a two-pair, and he pushed all in. Berland called. A ten on the river sealed the deal for Brunson.

The $230 million mistake

Doyle Brunson missed out on a $230m offer for his online poker room and later lost it when the FBI raided it for violating US gambling laws. He had been warned of the risks of operating in a grey area but the offer was too good to refuse. He regretted his decision for years and ended his relationship with the Doyles Room after the incident.

Doyle Brunson and the Fort Worth times

Doyle Brunson often told tales from his early days as a poker player, recalling that the greatest challenge wasn’t in winning money, but in getting it out of town unscathed. 


Fort Worth, Texas was one of his haziest memories; an area well-known by locals for its dangerous illegal poker games. There were no guarantees that one would leave a table alive; a menacing threat of which Brunson could personally attest. 


“I had been a pro for a year when one night I was playing a game of pool in a hall, and the player next to me suddenly had his brains splattered all over the wall after someone walked in and shot him in the head,” Brunson recalled.

He beat cancer six times

Texas Dolly was diagnosed with cancer in 1962 when he was 29 years old. Doctors found a tumor in his neck and metastases. Five doctors declared the prognosis to be poor, and gave him only a few months to live. However, after surgery, there was no trace of cancer cells. Miraculously, Dolly has beaten various forms of cancer a total of six times since then, including squamous cell carcinoma in 2016. 

His Impact on Poker

Doyle Brunson isn’t just a poker legend; he also taught the industry much about the game. He wrote “Super System,” regarded as this game’s bible, along with a number of other books, and he made various television appearances over his career. 


Thanks to this revered figure, poker has continued to develop even further, and platforms like RakeRace.com can offer exclusive races and chases that players enjoy. We salute this legendary figure and thank him for all he’s done, knowing he’ll always be in our memories.

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