Doyle Brunson – The Godfather of Poker

Doyle Brunson

Nationality: United States of America
Total Live Earnings: $6,176,737 (279th All-time)
HendonMob Ranking: 140th US All-time
Info courtesy of TheHendonMob
WSOP Bracelets


WPT Titles


WSOP Main Event Winner


Last update: 2024/05/30

Early Life

Doyle Brunson was born in Longworth, Texas, on August 10. 1933. In high school, he competed in athletics, winning a one-mile event with a time of 4:43. That brought him offers from many colleges, and he decided to attend Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.

He was scouted by the NBA team Minneapolis Lakers, but a knee injury stopped him from becoming a professional basketball player. Doyle said this leg injury ruined his dream of playing in the NBA.

He got his master’s degree in administrative education and plans to become a school principal.

He was already playing a lot of five-card draw poker due to his injury and was earning some money to cover the expenses. After graduating, he got a job as a salesman, and on the first day, he got invited to play seven-card stud and won more money than a month’s salary. Soon, he left the company and became a professional poker player.

Doyle started by playing illegal games with his friend Dwayne.
He was part of a group of Texas Rounders, and sometimes, he shared bankroll with other colleagues from the group. The games that he was playing were full of criminals and dangerous situations.

He even explained one of these dangerous situations in his autobiography, The Godfather of Poker. “Seven guys with ski masks and shotguns rushed in. Nobody had a chance to escape; the robbers herded us up against a wall and ordered us to drop our lower garments — all of them.”

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World Series of Poker

Doyle was a regular player at the World Series of Poker since its inception in 1970, playing in the Main Event almost every year.

He finished third in the Main Event in 1973 and won his first WSOP bracelet in 1976. The same year, he won his first Main Event title and earned $230,000.

Next year, he won two more bracelets and another WSOP Main event for $340,000. Interestingly, he won with T2o both times, and that was when the hand got named “Doyle Brunson” after him.

Doyle won six WSOP bracelets in the next four years and came second in the Main Event, losing to Stu Ungar in 1980. He kept reaching the final table at the main event, so in 1982, he placed 4th, and in 1983, 3rd. His last WSOP bracelet came in 2005 in a $5,000 NLHE 6-Max event for $367,800.

He is currently tied 2nd in the all-time WSOP bracelet ranking with Phil Ivey, Erik Seidel, and Johnny Chan with ten bracelets and $3,038,079 in winnings.

World Series of Poker bracelets

YearTournamentPrize (US$)
1976$5,000 Deuce to Seven Draw$80,250
1976$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship$230,000
1977$1,000 Seven-Card Stud Split$62,500
1977$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship$340,000
1978$5,000 Seven-Card Stud$68,000
1979$600 Mixed Doubles Seven Card Stud (with Starla Brodie)$4,500
1991$2,500 No Limit Hold’em$208,000
1998$1,500 Seven-Card Razz$93,000
2003$2,000 H.O.R.S.E.$84,080
2005$5,000 No Limit Shorthanded Texas Hold’em (6 players per table)$367,800

World Poker Tour

His first WPT cash came in 2003 when he came 4th in the $25,000 WPT Championship – No Limit Hold’em event for $159,987. And just one year later, he got the biggest payout of his career, winning $5,000+150 No Limit Hold’em Championship Final Day – WPT for $ 1,198,260.

Brunson was signed as WPT ambassador in 2022 and did a great job promoting the record-breaking WPT World Championship at the Wynn, where he, in a meet-up game, played against Phil Ivey, Steve Aoki, and Patrik Antonius.

European Poker Tour

Doyle didn’t play much in Europe, so his most significant EPT result is from EPT London £5,000 + 250 No Limit Hold’em – Main Event, where he came in 77th place for $14,066.

Television & Cash Games

In his career, Brunson has participated in a few poker TV shows like Poker After Dark, High Stakes Poker, and The Big Game.

Poker After Dark started in 2007. and Doyle was on the show almost all the seasons; he played with high-profile players like Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Erik Seidel, Antonio Esfandiari, and Johnny Chan.

He was also on the High Stakes Poker in its inception in 2011, where he played with Tom Dwan, Jamie Gold, and others.

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