Doyle Brunson is an American professional poker player and is regarded as one of the grandfathers of poker. “Texas Dolly” has played professional for over a half century and is perhaps the most recognizable name in poker.
Doyle's beginnings start off in a small town in Texas called Longworth. The town consisted of just over a hundred people. He was one of three children and was an active athlete throughout his childhood and teen years. He was good enough to make the All-State Texas basketball ball team in the 1950s, and he also ran track. He decided to attend Hardin-Simmons University, a university close to his home town.
Brunson drew interested from a number of NBA teams and was well on his way to a professional basketball career. Unfortunately, an accident involving sheetrock during a summer job derailed his playing career and even today, Brunson will occasionally walk with a cane because of the injury.
Doyle's focus on basketball faded, and he worked to become a teacher. He obtained a bachelor's degree in education and then master's degree in administrative education shortly after.
Doyle enjoyed local games of five card draw and was immediately a winner. He paid for his time off and his hospital expenses after a few sessions of the game. After he graduated, he took a job as a salesman and played a game of seven-card stud. Doyle won more than a month's salary in just a few hours, and that was all it took for him to quit his job and become a professional poker player.
Doyle was a true "road gambler", he traveled around Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma playing in illegal games. Often these games were run by members of organized crime or other shady characters. Doyle was robbed several times at gunpoint and was assaulted at these underground games.
After playing on the road for several years, Doyle and other gamblers pooled their money together and made a trip to Las Vegas. Sin City had the better of them as the group lost a several hundred thousand dollars at the tables.
While others continued to travel and play in illegal games, Doyle decided to set up shop in Las Vegas. Already a profitable player in nearly every poker game, this seemed like an obvious choice. From there, his legend grew.
Doyle is a two-time World Series of Poker Main Event champion and has cashed in the event five other times. He has 10 WSOP bracelets and over $5.5 million in tournament winnings. He was one of the inaugural members of the Poker Hall of Fame. Brunson is also a noted author; he has published several books, including the best selling poker book of all time "Doyle Brunson's Super System" and many other titles.
Doyle has been married to Louise Brunson for 45 years, and they currently reside in Las Vegas. They had a daughter who died of heart related complications at age 18, and a son named Todd. Todd Brunson, like Doyle, is also a professional poker player.